Your reputation is the most important thing that you have, both professionally and personally. In the past, it was pretty easy to protect your reputation because very little could be done to hurt you anonymously. However, with the incredibly easy access to all things cyber, it is much easier for a person, if they are inclined to want to hurt your reputation, to do so with a minimum amount of effort.
People can say whatever they wish
In this day and age, it is very easy for a person to say whatever they want about you and your business. When you read what they have written, the first thing that you should determine is if any of their words have merit when it comes to your business, your brand, and your offerings. In other words, are they offering anything that has value for you and that you can turn around and use to your business’ benefit? If the answer is “yes,” great. You can take the negative feedback and turn it into something positive. The next thing that you need to determine is whether you choose to respond to that person and how you wish to respond. This will require some amount of thought on your part and if may even require some money, depending on exactly where the feedback was posted and whether you need to go that same website to post a response to that person. You need to weigh your options carefully so that your choosing to respond or not respond doesn’t damage your reputation further. You certainly wouldn’t want to cause that effect. If you feel that not responding would make you look bad in some way, of course, that will drive your decision. On the other hand, if you feel that dignifying the other person’s post with a response would make you look petty, that will also drive your decision.
The power of online feedback
Online feedback (whether it is positive or negative) often has a great deal of power behind it. As much as it is often the negative feedback that helps you to grow your business in a more profound way than the positive feedback, it can also be extremely damaging to your professional reputation and you must make sure that you protect your professional reputation and that of your business in the best way possible. The fact is that you and your business are not in a silo. You not only interact with many different people online frequently but you also have clients who will have access to that content that other people are posting about you and your business. That is part of what you must protect. There is a distinct possibility that some of your clients will not truly understand where that person online is coming from and will take the feedback in the worst possible way. So, how do you begin to protect your professional reputation? There are a couple of things that you can do to start protecting your reputation in the event that someone comes at you online. First of all, you need to ensure that you receive a lot more positive than negative feedback. Second, you need get a handle on what people find when they search for what you do and your business comes up in the search engine pages.
- Create full profiles on the popular social media channels: If you do this, you will increase your chances of ranking high on the search engine pages when other people perform online searches. Some of those social media channels are LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google Plus, Foursquare, YouTube, and any others that you can think of that are popular with a large number of people online. It is essential that you create a full profile. It is important to remember that when searching, a lot of people won’t delve too deeply so having a complete profile on those social media channels will work very well for you and for your business. Of course, it goes without saying that whatever you put on those profiles must be as perfect and as interesting as you can make the information.
- Create and leverage links to your new profiles when you are guest posting on other people’s websites: Links are extremely important for you when you want to generate top-quality, solid traffic. In the majority of cases, the place where you are guest posting won’t have any objection to your putting links in your post, as long as you follow their rules. The bottom line is that the more traffic you are able to generate, the better your chances will be of increasing the number of clients that you acquire. Don’t be afraid to ask if it is okay to include links. If you don’t ask, you will never know but if you do ask, you will probably be allowed to do it.
- Generate numerous online reviews: It is very important that you are not afraid to ask for reviews. The possibility that you may receive some negative ones should not stop you from asking for them. Chances are very good that the majority of reviews that you receive will be positive. You will deal with the negative ones (if there are any) in an appropriate, constructive manner and it will give other people the perception that you are a professional with a great deal of credibility.
Your reputation is precious and it is definitely something that should be coveted and shielded. However, if you respond appropriately to other people online if and when they decide to offer negative feedback, you will come out looking like you should and other people will respect you and understand that you stand up for what you believe in and for what you represent. Remember to stay in touch regularly on social media. If you allow people online to get to know you, they may be less likely to post negative feedback about you and your business.