by Matthew Soldenin
Though virtual, online reputation is a very real thing. For companies, it is often more real than their ‘brick n’ mortar’ reputation. Online reputation management has become something that corporations, high profile individuals and even people who are seeking jobs are gaining increasing interest in because of the potential damage that can be done to them by negative reputation events.
Safeguarding your online reputation usually starts with understanding the problem by running a Sentiment Analysis on your company to learn what is being said online about you – good and bad. Then either doing it in-house, or hiring a company that understands how to manage online reputation problems, be it reputation protection before something happens, or reputation defense after the fact. There is some very real skill and technique involved in doing this. First, of course, you have to make certain that you don’t knowingly put information about yourself online that you wouldn’t want people to find. For corporations, this means controlling the flow of information out of the company. For individuals, this means making certain that you pay very close attention to the images and words you put online that are associated with your name.
A clean reputation, once you achieve one, needs to be maintained diligently. This means that you constantly have to put out positive information about your brand name, or about you personally to make certain that there is already a buffer of good information to counter any bad information that people want to spread about you. Your online reputation has a serious impact on your real life, so don’t discount this as another buzzword. The Internet is so full of information and is so well organized and accessible that it’s imperative that you safeguard the information on it that pertains to you. If you want a clean reputation, you have to build it up, just as you would have to do for your real-life reputation. It’s like a muscle, it needs plenty of exercise.