Years ago, Warren Buffet told us, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” While that concept still holds true to this day, the explosion of the internet, information, and awareness has changed things, and now I think we can all agree it’s more like five seconds. So, what is a business owner to do? How do you maintain a reputation in an online world when it is moving at warp speed? Here are just a few ideas to get you started.
Google is your friend
I’ll never forget the day I received a call from a client we were in a networking group with. They were frantic. At the recommendation of a friend, they had just run a Google search for their name. On the very first page was their mugshot from an arrest from a few years prior. Naturally they thought, this is bad, really bad, and it was. However, only because of their increased awareness were they able to discover the issue and ultimately have it resolved. That is why I always tell people to Google yourself. Google yourself, your company name, your employees, your contractors, or anyone else associated with your business, and do it regularly. You can even create a Google account and set up Google Alerts (www.google.com/alerts) to send reports right to your inbox.
Privacy is long gone
Countless online experts have warned that we should never post a picture online that we don’t want everyone to see. While I feel that people are finally starting to understand, I believe it is a point that cannot be stressed enough. When you are using social media or other online platforms, check your settings. Make sure they are set to private and that your information is only being shared with those in your close circles. Changing your settings will certainly help, but you can do more. Whenever you go to post something online, take an extra second and ask yourself an important question. Should I really post this?
Create and manage your own presence
No matter how hard we try, issues are bound to arise. Whether you share the same name as a convicted criminal, made a mistake years ago, or maybe you or your business is a victim of defamation (which is unfortunately increasing in popularity), there are a million things that can ruin our online reputation. There are many options to fight this, however, the best way is to create and manage your own reputation. Make sure you join social networks, fill out your profiles as completely as possible, create content, and participate online. After all, one of the easiest ways to get rid of a negative reputation is to push it into the abyss with a positive one.
Image by Pixabay user Deedster