I’m happy to report that the Internet remains one of the most powerful tools around for helping you build your brand, whether your goal is to promote yourself, your business or both.
I’m not so happy to report that there’s a downside. Unfortunately, the Internet is also a tool that your detractors can wield to tear down your reputation and sully your brand.
Dissatisfied customers, sneaky competitors and anyone else with a keyboard can post critical reviews and maybe even outright fabrications about you, and their words could show up when people start searching you out in the online world.
This is also true if you made some regrettable mistake that was significant enough to become media fodder. That may show up, too, much to your reputation’s detriment.
That’s the bad news. The good news is there are steps you can take to repair your online reputation, though admittedly this can sometimes be a long-term endeavor.
Let’s explore some of the possibilities:
- Secure media coverage. One way to fight bad publicity on the Internet is to counter it with good publicity. If the news media publish articles or broadcast interviews that put you in a good light, the negativity can be pushed down in the results people see when they Google your name. So pitch yourself to the media, offering to speak on your area of expertise. For example, if you’re a financial professional, you could talk about ways people can plan for a more stable retirement. If you’re a nutritionist, you could discuss dieting tips. Let the media know you are at the ready to provide useful information for their readers, viewers or listeners. Once you land media coverage, share it on your website and through social media. The more it’s shared, the better the odds that it will trump your negative publicity in search results.
- Speaking of social media. It’s extremely important to cultivate a social media profile on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other platforms. Why? Social media channels have a lot of clout with search engines because they constantly have new information to share, which is something that search engines love. When someone types your name into a search engine, your social media accounts are among the first things to appear, so if you’ve been neglecting them or haven’t even opened a social media account, now is the time to change. You are missing out on a golden opportunity to push those negative items down, down and farther down in search results. These social media channels are also valuable because you can craft and promote your own positive messages without the need to get past the media gatekeepers.
- Make a difference in the world. If you aren’t already, get involved in worthy causes in your community and don’t be bashful about publicizing your involvement. Maybe you can become active in a charity. Perhaps you can volunteer at an animal shelter or help tutor struggling students at a school. Your positive acts will enhance your efforts to repair your brand’s reputation, especially when shared with others through social media, on your website or in a press release sent to the media.
Sure, it’s a wild, wild West out there on the Internet, but as with so many things in life you’ll feel a lot better if you take control of the situation.
And, frankly, this is something you should do even if there isn’t anything negative about you floating around in cyberspace. Your good reputation is vital to your professional and personal success, so regularly promoting yourself in a positive way helps boost your brand to even greater heights.
P.S. If you need professional help with mending your online reputation and/or promoting your company or personal brand, give us a call at 727-443-7115 ext. 215.