Ways to Recover Your Online Reputation
Your online reputation IS your reputation. More and more people are using review sites, and not just for restaurants. In fact, “84% say online reviews influence purchasing,” Opinion Research Corporation, New York Times.
- Monitor Your Online Reputation.
It is important to constantly be on the look out for changes in your online reputation. One way to be proactive is to the free tool Google Alerts. Using a Google Account, just enter the name or phrase you want to track and a notification will be sent when ever a mention about that phrase is made online. This can be extremely useful for knowing if negative information has been published, and gives you time to respond immediately.
- Don’t Click On the Negative Post. If you come across a negative post on a review site that impacts your online reputation, don’t click. Its tempting, but don’t do it. If the the negative blog post or comment is opened, you are only making it more popular and giving it more credibility. The more a link is clicked on, the more it raises to the top of the search page. Instead, use Google Chrome’s Cognito to avoid having it counted as a click. Just click on the “Wrench” icon on the upper right of the browser and select “New cognito window” and start browsing without being detected, traced or counted as clicking anywhere.
- Don’t Comment. Also tempting, but don’t make follow-up comments online. You may feel its important or even necessary to respond to a posting but that often fans the flames and can make things worse. It also just makes the original post even more popular and powerful. Instead, if possible, contact the person offline–not on the site. Be polite and professional and attempt to resolve the issue via email or better yet on the telephone. Using this approach, its possible the poster could remove the comment.
- Try and Remove Negative Posts. Its rare, frankly, but it is possible to remove SOME posts if they violate copyrights, if its a dead link, or if it goes against the site’s terms and conditions. This should always be attempted but for certain review sites such as Yelp, its impossible. In fact, a Wall Street Journal article discussed the difficulty in removing posts.
- Do Add Positive Content to Recover Your Reputation. This is the main solution: just add more good things about you. How? That can be complicated and time consuming, but just create good things about you and your business. However, note that it is not possible to add false but flatting reviews to review sites such as Yelp. Again, this could seem tempting but most sites have extensive and complex algorithms that weed-out contrived reviews. Instead, create an extensive online reputation management strategy including frequent blog posts, site optimization, press releases, content generation, social media engagement, etc.