Managing Your Online Reputation

We recently came across an article about Apple being in decline. We’ve been seeing a lot of stuff like that out there lately, and now we’re noticing that their stocks have fallen. Could these headlines have something to do with that? After the release of the iPhone 5, major newsmakers blasted the launch and implied that the disappointing features of the new iPhone implied that there was a lack of creativity and innovation at Apple. But could this really be true or does it become true because some people are saying that it is?

What’s happening with Apple happens to lots of businesses. Things that have been said around the Internet, whether they’re true or not, can negatively impact the reputation of a business. Even a giant like Apple is not immune!  Clearly, content matters whether it’s stuff you put out there yourself, or something someone else says about you. It becomes true. It becomes part of what defines your brand.

So, how is a business that doesn’t have a monstrous PR machine on their side supposed to manage their online reputation?

One way to start is by coming up with several ways to make sure that the stuff you put out into the universe is the first thing people see and not what others are saying about you. You can do this by having a content strategy. Here’s some stuff to think about.

Google yourself

Look up your name and see what comes up in a Google search. It’s important to be aware of exactly what’s out there. You may even find that there’s someone else operating a business with a similar name as yours. While you can’t do much about that, you can take steps to make sure that your content is the first thing everyone sees. And, you can set up Google Alert so that you’ll know when any new content with the name of your business in it hits the web. The first step to managing your reputation online is knowing what’s out there about you!

Be social

We know we keep saying this, but you need to be actively participating on social media. We prefer Google + for all the reasons we mention in this article, but we also think your time will be well spent maintaining a Facebook profile as well as one on LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest and YouTube. Of course, prioritize which ones are best for your audience and focus on those. Just make sure that if you create any of these accounts, fill out the profile thoroughly—complete with a picture!  When people find your profile, you want to reward their search with at least some information about you.

Speaking of being social…

If you’re the owner of a business, always be aware that nothing you do is private on the Internet. It may seem that way, but it’s not. So, constantly be aware of what you’re posting on both your personal and public social media accounts as well as comments you leave on other websites, etc. You should also be aware of stuff your friends are posting about you. If somebody does post something on Facebook that you’d rather not share with your potential customers, remove the tag that identifies you. And don’t be afraid to ask other people to take stuff down, either. A good rule of thumb is never assume that anything you put on the Internet is private or that nobody will ever find it.

Create your own content

One of the best ways to make sure there’s great content connected to your brand is to create it yourself!  Part of how you do this is through social media, but you can also have a Tumblr or Wordpress site where you put frequently updated content. Write a blog, share great news, or attach a terrific article you found with a comment about why you liked it so much. Whatever you do, make sure it adds value and isn’t too sales-y.

Be master of your domain

Be sure to purchase your domain name. It’ll cost you $12 - $15 a year to do it and it can help you control what people out there see about you. When people enter the name of your business into Google, there’s a better chance that the search will go directly to you since the way Google organizes search results partially weighs domain names. Just make sure that the name of your business is in the domain name.

These are just a few of many things to consider when thinking about managing your online reputation. It’s a game of search results and making sure there’s plenty of stuff out there about you to be excited about!

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