by Debbie Allen, founder of The Things Women Want
Building an online reputation is an ongoing process. It starts before the concept of creating a business begins. This is because every online interaction, whether intended or not, leaves a footprint. This includes posts on forums, blogs, and even on social networking sites.
If anyone is fortunate enough to start out with a clean reputation, it is definitely important to take measures to maintain it. As business is conducted, it is only natural that some clients will not be as happy with the products or services as expected. In such cases, it is possible that these clients will complain, and in today’s world, those complaints are likely to show up on the Internet for the entire world to see.
From Individuals to Businesses.
Complaints can certainly be detrimental to the reputation of an individual or even to that of a business. And similarly, even negative comments posted about average everyday people can have damaging effects to the individuals’ reputations. For instance, ex-partners can make false allegations that make the person appear to be less than respectable.
In fact, there are many situations in which people post incriminating comments about themselves on social networks. Nowadays, potential employers as well as schools and even dating partners are apt to run online “background checks.” In doing so, they are liable to find old posts and photos on Facebook and other places.
Obviously, depending on the circumstances, internet reputation management can sometimes be very tricky. However, there are some basic tips that can be used to help keep a clean reputation clean. In fact, there are even some ways to “clean up” a reputation that is “dirty.” Unfortunately, it requires much more effort than simple soap and water!
Keeping An Online Reputation Clean.
One of the first steps in keeping a clean online reputation is using caution in what gets posted online. It should always be kept in mind that the Internet is virtually open to anyone and the content there can have a very, very long life.
It is advisable to do an online search for oneself or for one’s own business. This will result in the information that is available for others to see. In most cases at least some negative information will be discovered.
Dealing with a Dirty Reputation.
If possible, it is best to ask the site owner to remove any wrong or negative information that may be posted. However, in many instances the only option is to work to “bury” the negative content. This can be a long and quite daunting task for the average person. It is usually best to hire experts to handle the chore.
The reality is, it’s easier to keep a reputation clean than it is to clean one up. With that in mind, it is wise to treat an online reputation with care and respect. Before adding online comments, posts, or other information, it is always best to carefully consider whether the information will be as valid and worthwhile in a year, or two years, or even in five years, as it is at the moment. Content that can hold its value over time will definitely add positive worth to a reputation.
Debbie Allen, founder of The Things Women Want, is a professional writer and blogger that specializes in topics of interest to women and online marketing strategies.