5 Reasons Why You Should Be Concerned About Your Online Reputation

Building positive awareness about you and your company is a challenge in itself. However, with growing use of the Internet and social media, managing your online reputation has become a major factor in the development of public perception. To illustrate the need for online reputation management, here are five major reasons why you should make online content a priority for you and your business.

1. It impacts customer satisfaction.

When a customer has a bad experience with your company, he or she may use the Internet and social media to share their issues. To ensure your company is still viewed in a positive light, make sure you have a plan to respond publicly and in a timely manner to lessen repercussions caused by the public reading a negative post. If necessary, in your response, take responsibility for mistakes to show potential customers reading a negative review that you have compassion for the situation and are prepared to handle it appropriately. Make certain you explain the customer’s experience is not typical to bring relief to the situation, thereby preserving your business’ reputation.

2. It can create troubling preconceptions.

Social media makes it difficult for the public to differentiate between professional and personal lives. Regardless of how you present yourself at work, your actions outside your occupation are a part of how people perceive you and can alter their opinions about your professionalism and credibility. As such, it is vital to be selective in the content you post online and through various social media platforms. If you choose to post something personal, make sure your profiles are set to private to reduce the likelihood of a stranger obtaining your content for their own use. In the same respect, filter how your family and friends, especially those you work with, see your postings to make certain only the people you intend to read or view a post have access. Further, be aware of friends and family posting photos or posts that tag you. Regardless of your professional demeanor and proper lifestyle now, any photos that are questionable in nature from present day or the past can create a negative public opinion.

3. It can be claimed by others.

Every business should claim their citations to ensure accurate representation of their company online. A citation is a business listing on various websites that include contact information and photographs, among other details. It shows up on a search engine results page (SERP) when a person looks up your business. If you do not claim your online directory and review site listings, it is possible for someone else to obtain it as their own. You want to avoid a disgruntled employee or other harmful parties from claiming your business listings because it will give them a place to post damaging information about your company. Be proactive and claim your listings immediately. If you see your business has already been claimed on a particular website, contact the company to correct the issue, regardless of whether the information provided is damaging or not. You should always have ownership of all of your business listings.

4. It causes unnecessary expenditures.

Slanderous accusations and claims have multiplied since the launch of social media platforms. As a result, companies and individuals must safeguard themselves even further to deter misrepresentation online. If you have not done your due diligence to protect your online profiles, you may require legal assistance as negative issues add up. A lawyer can help you investigate your case, determine the appropriate amount of damage caused, obtain proof of evidence, negotiate terms, and carry out litigations, as necessary, to correct problems. However, even a straightforward case can cost you an estimated $10,000 in legal fees, and winning does not necessarily always rectify damages already caused from Internet users reading negative reviews and defamatory statements. You will likely lose valuable customers and opportunities in the process of clearing your company’s or your name.

5. It requires work to correct.

Website operators have legal immunity from content posted on their sites. This includes content a website administrator posts as well as the comments and reviews left by customers. Ultimately, the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which regulates Internet content, has not been updated to address modern day use of technology. This means any inaccurate information can be posted to a website without the site owner having to authenticate credentials and identify Internet users. Because of this, your company or you will have to take extra steps to correct any slanderous details published on a site by contacting the businesses directly. This includes major search engine operators, like Google. Search engines offer a “legal removal request” option for people or businesses claiming that specific content violates the law to correct an issue. However, this does not mean a search engine operator will determine a piece of content is inappropriate based on their program policies. It is possible for a search engine company to decline removal of an item, so do your due diligence to avoid negative postings all together.