More and more our first impressions are created or heavily influenced by what we see online. Online Reputation Management is becoming a critical part of influencing what people think of us. One of the first things that a new prospect or contact is likely to do is to check out your company, yourself and possibly some of your key employees on Google or other search engines. We all do it – it’s quick, easy and if nothing else – it feeds our natural curiosity.
The big question is – do you know what the Internet is going to say about you, your company and your senior people? If the wrong message is presented you may never again hear from that prospect and you will never know why. I recently came across an example of poor Online Reputation Management. I was preparing for a meeting with a solicitor who had contacted me regarding Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
As part of the preparation, I did a simple search for his name online. The results were damning. On searching his name, the first three entries in Google were from rate-your-solicitor.com and the comments were anything but positive. Anyone planning to engage this solicitor who saw the results would certainly have thought twice. What’s more, he had no idea of these results or the impact that they would have. With the growth of Social Media, it is no longer just about what we ourselves put on the internet – but facts, photos, comments, reviews, and criticisms could be entered by anyone, and can very quickly find their way to page one of the Google search results. So what can you do?
- Be aware of the importance of the Internet to your reputation and to that of your company
- See where you stand – spend a few minutes on Google and see what appears on the first page for your name, your company name, names of your senior managers or employees and related derivatives of these.
- Nurture your positive reputation online – you can do this through your website, PR or through proper management of the many Social Media channels available (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
- Monitor your personal and professional bands online – there are tools available for this, so it does not have to be a very time-consuming task.
- If there are negative results – take action. You can’t stop people from posting negative comments online, but there are many ways to make sure these are balanced and in most cases surpassed by the positives. You can maintain your online reputation.