The biggest problem with your reputation is people’s perception of you, or your company.
If trusted professionals in your industry don’t respect you. Perhaps they or the media are giving you negative publicity, for example, then other people will see it when they are searching for you online. If they believe what they read, then their perception of you is negative – and that’s a big problem.
Let’s say your company or its executives have been involved in a scandal, such as fraud, disputes, or personal or professional misconduct. Even if it happened years ago, it could still be online and damaging your reputation.
Negative national press sticks and it can appear high up in your search results for years. Viral social media posts or forum chatter can be very detrimental to your reputation too. And we’ve all heard about disgruntled ex-employees and customers who can, and do, set up third party sites dedicated to destroying your reputation, posting their own negative reviews and articles about your company and your people.
Even your competitors can start playing dirty – attacking you to lure your customers away. Then there are complaints sites, fake news or false information online, and reviews. The list goes on.
Sounds a bit grim doesn’t it… but you can fix the biggest problem with your reputation.
How to fix the biggest problem with your reputation
The first thing you should do is identify everything that is causing a problem – and get prioritising. This means determining what is having the biggest negative influence – by reach, how high it is in search results, and what exactly is being said and tackling that first.
One of the most important things to do as well, for your own sanity as much as anything, is to take your emotions out of the equation. We completely understand how upsetting it can be when negative content, images, reviews, posts and more appear online. When clients contact us, they are often very upset, so we listen to everything and then take an objective step back and examine what we can action to get the best results.
When something negative appears online you will take it personally, and that’s absolutely a normal human reaction. It is personal to you. But when it comes to doing something about it, you should take a step back from how it makes you feel and examine the cold hard facts.
What is being said, where and how, and what evidence do you have to show that it is false, malicious, defamatory and the harm its causing? If you don’t know, then look for where you can find it – as any supporting evidence will help your case.
We recommend talking to reputation management experts about what can be challenged or removed. Their experience and skills enable them to advise you on the most appropriate approach and also risk assess any counter measure that might be taken if removal is successful. For example, you could successfully take down a defamatory post or site, for another to pop up days later and you’re back to square one.
Once you’ve done this, they’ll be able to help you find and fix/remove or counter the negatives that are harming your company.
The next step is to get proactive – take control of your search results so that you help shape the online narrative about your company. Reputation experts do this every day and can help you to build a strong online reputation so that people’s perception of your company isn’t your biggest problem. The key is to take all the assets you own such as your website, blogs, profiles and do SEO on them, create more and publish regularly on your sites and social media – but have a proper strategy behind it rather than just throwing more out into the online world.
Igniyte is a leading online reputation management company, working with businesses, brands and individuals around the world to build, repair and maintain positive reputations.