When you're running any kind of business, maintaining a good reputation is essential.Your customers don't have to use your products or services. The internet's full of companies competing for their dollars. If you've got a solid reputation for your quality and dependability, you'll never have to worry about fighting for those dollars. Your excellent reputation will spread all over the Web.
But what happens if you have a bad online image? The effects can be utterly disastrous. People love to talk online and there are plenty of places where they can do that and it will be read. One stain in the way you are perceived online can have a serious effect on your business or your life just ask anybody from Bernie Madoff to reputation.com.
Here's something to consider, people go online to find all kinds of services. If they need their car repaired, have to buy a computer, or want a good slice of pizza, they're getting online to find the right service. If there's just one person badmouthing your company online, people are going to find it and unfortunately the Communications Decency Act allows Google to be a chalkboard putting whatever they want up on it without verification needed for being true or not.
Why Would Someone Damage Your Reputation?
You offer a good, solid service that helps people. Why on earth would anybody want to go online and damage your good name? There are lots of reasons. Maybe they're unhappy with your service. They could be unreasonable or have unrealistic expectations. They can get online and attack your company, dragging you reputation and your business through the mud.
Although we hate to think of this, there could be someone out to get you and you must always be on the defense. Some businesses have gone so far as to changing their name to try to hide their previous identities that were bashed over the internet. If someone has personal issues about you, they can take revenge online and wreak havoc. It might be someone you used to work with or, even worse, someone you fired. Every week we get countless numbers of inquiries for our help from good people just like yourself who had fired an employee and they thought it would be funny to destroy their previous employers reputation online.
Once a slander is posted online about your reputation it's there for the world to see it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. No matter where it's posted, it can appear in search engine results and unless you hire true experts to bury it deep in the search results your in big trouble.
Other Places online your Profile can be Damaged?
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter where people are talking about all kinds of things from last nights frat party photographs or tweets about the politicians outside of their legal duty, and guess what? These are not private discussions. These sites have millions of users who log on daily, so one damaging comment can really hurt and spread virally if you don't protect your online profile.
Review sites are being used more and more often to find services, and they can make or break a company's reputation. These are sites where customers can rate or rank services they used. If someone wasn't entirely happy, they can leave comments that others will see when they're shopping for that service.
Forums, blogs and bulletin boards are also places where people are talking. Any user can say anything on sites like these, and this can cause major harm to your reputation. If the site has lots of users than you can bet that the post will appear on the front page of search results and it won't be easy to get off.
What You Can Do To Protect Your Reputation Online?
The only way to get control over your reputation is to be proactive and to hire the right firm. You've got to take the first steps in protecting yourself from attacks. It takes a bit of work to keep your image spotless, but it's well worth investing in it. Here are some things you can do to keep your online image clean:
Only Deal In Quality. Make sure that the products and services you deliver are to the quality and expectations your customers expect to recieve. If you make sure that everything you sell is the best quality possible, this will go a long way in ensuring that you'll have a good reputation. It's much harder for your attackers to say something negative about you when there's nothing BAD at all to say.
Provide The Best Customer Service Possible. If you have a negative image and bad name for treating your customers poorly the world will soon know about it. If you take care of your customers this will keep even those who are disappointed or disgruntled from attacking you. Respond quickly and personally to all questions from customers and if there's a problem, get it fixed quickly. These days so few companies offer good customer service, and you'll have a great name in your industry for taking great care of your customers (we know first hand).
Encourage Good Customer Comments. One way to ward off a bad reputation is to be proactive in establishing a good name for you. Ask your customers to say something nice about your company on forum or review sites. When people are happy with the service you provide, they'll be glad to spread the word; they just need a little nudge in the right direction.
Monitor The Web. Keep an eye on what people are saying about you online. This can easily be done with Google Alerts (if you need help setting this up we will do it just for you). Check social media sites, review sites and forums that are in your topic to see if there's anything potentially damaging to you or your company. This is also a great way to get some feedback about how your company is doing. You should also enter your name into search engines occasionally to see what comes up.
Contact Negative Listings.
When you find people saying things that are damaging your business, there are a few things you can do about it. You can contact webmasters or flag content as inappropriate. Although in 99% of the cases this does not work there is always that 1% chance that you can get the webmaster to take it down but the secret sauce really lies in the Profile Defenders method of getting a negative listing removed.
Hiring a Reputation Management Company
The best option is to hire an experienced online reputation management company like Profile Defenders. This is a company that employs Internet experts to seek out negative listings and remove them for you in a timely manner with a guarantee stacked behind the work. Because we are pros at doing this sort of thing, we can get you better results than you would get doing it yourself.
One thing we guarantee or your money back is burying all of the slanderous comments that drag your name through the dirt.
The Internet gives everyone a voice. This can be great for a company, but it can also be disastrous. When someone wants to talk badly about you online, they've got an audience of millions of people worldwide. This is why you've got to take steps to protect yourself before it happens. Whether you decide to go with a company like reputation.com or experts like profile defenders just make sure to choose wisely when protecting your most important asset ' Your name.