It’s obvious to most people that the Internet can be a friend or foe – depending on how wisely you use it. Reckless or immature people are known to create a record of embarrassing posts associated with their name, which in retrospect they often regret. Even the most responsible people have heated moments, which can result in a trail of online content that doesn’t flatter them. There’s also the possibility of unflattering things being said by ex-employees, a spurned lover, a business rival or a mere prankster.
When you learn there are things posted about you and/or your business that are unflattering, it’s very distressing. Some people respond to this by panicking or by going postal and engaging in exchange attacks. This is a mistake, because the wisest thing to do is to first keep calm. After your nerves have settled, plotting your reaction strategically is the next best step. Controlling what people say is almost impossible, but your response to their words is what really counts. Just about anything unflattering posted online can be effectively managed if you know how to take care of it.
Bad press about you is generally an issue that can be dealt with using strategic SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This means that negative information appears in high in the results using search engines. Results that are unflattering to you can be neutralized by using counter-posting against your enemies in a way that will bring the positive information about you to the fore. Here are a few online reputation management tips that every business owner should know about:
1. Have your own website for your business. Your business name inside the domain will help your traffic, helping you to occupy Google’s top 10 search results.
2. Add a sub-domain to your main site. You’ll dominate more results with your content.
3. Start a blog with your content and maintain it regularly. WordPress is one of several platforms that you can use to create your own site for free. And of course, you control the content.
4. Create a business profile at social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Linkedin. Profiles you create with your content will show up easily when your name is searched.
5. Share your photos. Post your picture, a graphic logo, a picture of your business, add photo captions. Voila! This gives you a profile of images that will be searchable and can overtake negative reputation results. It also makes you look more approachable and friendly.
While the first step to reputation management is prevention, online reputation management can fix problems created by you and others. Even if you can’t totally erase bad things being said about you online, it’s not so difficult to bury them in positive results that you can control.