Didn’t your parents ever tell you not to post things on the Internet that you didn’t want everyone to read? Of course they did! The problem is, you never listened to anything they said, did you?
Before the Internet was a growing business and marketing world, an online reputation meant absolutely nothing unless you were an avid online dater. Today, in the technologically advanced world that you live in, everything can be found online – from terrible high school band photos to your angry rant on Xanga that you posted about your cheating ex-boyfriend.
A tarnished online reputation can be disastrous for your business even if you are the business owner.
What Can Affect Your Business
As business owners, your online reputation may not seem as important as you would assume. For many employees, the fear of having a future employer Google your name and see you tagged in drunk photos from earlier years is always prevalent. As a business owner, you have no concern of being Googled – but you should.
If a client or customer were to type your name into a search engine, not only does your business come up but everything and everyone you have chosen to associate yourself with does as well. If you are tagged in posts, photos or videos, these items will also come up. If they are inappropriate or even embarrassing, not only can this drive traffic away but it makes you look immature.
Why would any investor want to get involved with someone who’s got pictures on the Internet of them looking like a drunken buffoon?
Not only as an entrepreneur, but as an adult, you should have the desire to remove these photos.
See What Others See
If you’re unsure of how your reputation appears to others, do what they would do. Take a few hours out of your workday to see what it is the consumer or future clients see.
Begin by typing your name into Google or Bing and see what pops up. This may take awhile, especially if you have a common name. Be sure to check everything that has your name or you associated with it, including social media pages that belong to you, your business, your clients and even just personal friends.
Some of the most embarrassing items that are found are either old and abandoned posts or sites you created in your earlier years, or posts that friends have put online without your knowing.
Another important thing to remember is to also search your own employees if your company has any besides yourself. While you may not frown upon their actions, be aware of what may upset other clients and future investors; those are generally the people you want to be happy.
Once you have completed the search process, now is the time to redeem yourself. If your employees have things online that you would like to be removed, ask them kindly. There is no reason to be upset; everyone makes mistakes and does embarrassing things.
Once your employees have been taken care of, now it is time to redeem yourself. Be sure to delete and remove things off of social media sites as well as any sites that you no longer use regularly. If you have an old Myspace page, now may be the time to say goodbye. If you have photos or items that you want to keep, making them private or for only you to see can be a great way to hide them from the public as well as your online following.
Another way small businesses can redeem themselves is to respond to any bad reviews that are online. Responding to bad reviews as well as good ones shows that your business cares about the satisfaction of their customers. Report any reviews that may seem suspicious or untrue and never post a fake review in attempt to boost your own reputation.
This not only makes your business look desperate but even the best phony review can be spotted.
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