Being Cautious - The Preventive Approach to Online Reputation
We live in an amazingly connected world. Everyone can find virtually anything about anybody. And quickly. In less than an hour, you can learn a lot about your neighbors, your former classmates and your business competitors. Everyone is visible and you should absolutely assume that you are or were Googled by someone.
Here's where your online reputation comes into play. There's someone who probably found you online, and has seen your online activity, read your posts, watched your videos or listened to your podcasts. And they will make a judgment based on what they find. Of course, in an ideal world, you should only post relevant, positive content that people appreciate. But we are not living in an ideal world, and somewhere, someone may find a negative review about you or your business. And when this happens, it's tough to keep your reputation clean.
Being cautious about what you post, what you share, like or comment, can be a way to truly protect you online reputation. But how does being careful helps your online reputation? Let's delve into the specifics:
Clean Up Your Current Situation – Google yourself or your brand to see what your current online reputation is. What comes up in the first few pages? Also, check for photos, videos or other types of content that can be connected to you. Try to contact the publisher to delete anything that might be seen negatively.
Nothing Is Truly Private – this is the first thing you need to know about the online world. Anyone with an internet connection can find you in mere minutes. No matter where you are located, or where they are located, you both are a stone's throw away from each other. When you post something, it gets thrown in the huge public pot of freely available content. Anyone can copy, interpret (or better yet misinterpret) your posts. You can't control the actions of your friends, followers or enemies. Sure, there are multiple privacy settings, but they can only offer limited protection.
Securing Your Name – create separate online properties in your name on multiple social media platforms. Even if you don't intend to use them, make sure they are yours and nobody gets a hold of them and try to impersonate you. Lay the groundwork for success by being visible everywhere. Create accounts on Quora, Crunchbase, Slideshare and on other platforms to avoid any future issues.
Manage Online Reviews – always pay attention to what your customers or your competition has to say about you. Make sure you don't have unclaimed Google listings, abandoned profiles or bad reviews. What's more, you will need to have reviews, because a business without reviews is a bad sign – you're just one review away from a 1-star overall rating. Monitor your reviews daily and check what people are complaining about. Act immediately and provide answers. Keep in mind that most people are reasonable and would like to hear back from you.