I taught at the college level for five years. One warning I gave all my students was this: Be careful of what you post online because whatever you post will exist in cyberspace forever, even if you delete it.
When they heard that, my students simply stared at me. They looked stunned. They looked scared. They looked frantic. Then they looked as if they couldn’t wait to get out of class so they could start deleting drinking photos and other incriminating items from their social media accounts.
I was happy to see that these mostly first-year public university students took my warning seriously when I issued them years ago. They realized it could affect future education and employment opportunities.
Reputation management savvy
I like to think that today we are savvier. We know the impact social media has on reputation, ours and our company’s. We know that what we post on social media can help or hurt our individual or corporate reputation. And we take care to manage our reputation, to influence and shape how others see our company, our brand, and us.
Having a well-developed social media presence is critical in today’s hyper-connected world. Your customers, clients, and stakeholders live on social media, and so should you. Your presence on social media will help you actively engage in reputation management, broadcast (and narrowcast) your public relations messages, reinforce and build your brand, identify and attract new customers, and retain existing customers and clients.
What to do online
Here are some ways to make sure you are doing what you must to effectively manage your reputation online:
- Have an online presence. Nature abhors a vacuum. Make sure you have a website and social media accounts that projects the image you want.
- Have good content. A bare-bones business website is better than no website at all, of course. But a dynamic business website full of robust, informative, and authoritative content is even better. Creating good content that can help you rank highly in the search engine results will push bad content down lower on the SERPs.
- Have positive customer reviews. Reviews are one way customers learn about your business. More than 95% of shoppers check them before committing to a purchase.
- Have good sense. Respond to online comments promptly. Address and resolve any issue publicly on the channel your customer is using. Use common sense and kindness. Be proactive and polite. Always.
- Negative posts about customers or clients
- Irrelevant viral content
- Political or religious posts
- Content that isn’t properly proofread or edited
- Too much overtly promotional content
- Content inconsistent with branding
- Misleading posts
- Unattributed content