It can take years to build your reputation but only minutes to destroy it. It’s imperative that as a business owner you do what it takes to maintain your good reputation. Thankfully, there are easy ways to ensure that you keep your good reputation online if you focus on it.
* Sensationalism Rules Online – Being an online business owner and part of the online business community is kind of like being in a reality show in some ways. Sensationalism and gossip seems to be the rule. But, if you realize this going in, you can avoid problems by not gossiping and always staying above the fray. Be honest, be yourself, and always seek to be helpful.
* Perception Is Reality – Until someone proves differently online, the perception people have of you is reality. Dr. Phil says this is the truth for everyone, online or not. How people perceive you is what’s real, so try to ensure that it’s as close to reality as possible so that it will be easy to maintain.
* Be Proactive – You can tell your story online by blogging, being part of online groups, and by being the one to tell your story. Tell your story every chance you get. When you are proactive with your story and information, that will be what people find when they search for information.
* Manage Security Issues – Set privacy settings on private social media; keep your information close to your vest so that no one can ever break into your private sources of information. This is because it can be used against you in a bad way to make you look bad.
* Stay on Top of Branding – The information that you put out about your company as far as branding is important. It’s the information your audience believes about you. Your branding is how your audience feels when they hear about you, and exemplifies what your business stands for.
* Establish Expertise – To really manage your online reputation, set out to show that you’re the expert in your niche. Become the “go to” person for that niche in a way that overwhelms the competition and firms up your reputation as a leader.
* Maintain Your Integrity – Always be honest. Even if you make a mistake, stand up and admit it, and publically always seek to show your reliability and that you are who you say you are. That perception is important.
* Nothing Ever Disappears Online – Remember that nothing ever disappears online. You can bury it with good information, but it’s better to accept it if something is there out that you don’t really want out there. Once it’s there work to bury it, but also work to embrace it and turn it into a positive.
The important point about maintaining your reputation is to always be the one to tell your story, and keep that story at the forefront of your online persona. In addition, you should seek to be who you really are and not put on a façade. After all, the truth will always rise to the top and you wouldn’t want to seem as if you’re trying to trick people by not being the real you.