• IPOs and Online Reputation Management: Your Reputation Means Business

    Building your business can mean building your online brand.

    A good online reputation is crucial for business and getting clients, since negative information can mean people will think twice about contacting you or just move on to the next company.

    But how can online reputation management impact entrepreneurs trying to get funding, get sold or get an initial public offering?

    There have been cases where unscrupulous business people have purposely created a negative image campaign against another company to either:

    1. Spread bad press to negatively impact the stock offering, and thus purchase the company at a lower cost.
    2. Purposely create rumors or false information in order to stop the deal and make a competitor look better.

    These practices are abhorrent since they impact unsuspecting and innocent companies and the people behind them.

    Never the less, is happens and start ups and entrepreneurial ventures are particularly venerable to these vicious reputation tactics.

    Here are four tips for IPOs/start ups to combat negative reputations:

    1. Create Your Online Reputation.
      A great place to start is with the big sites that search engines see as trustworthy.  If you don’t have a Twitter account, create one immediately; if you already have one, review it.  Do the same for Facebook and LinkedIn.  There are many other sites that are important, including ones specific to your industry.  There are literally hundreds to choose from but it might be hard to weed through them all with out some additional help.  Its also important to find sites that Google thinks are important; adding information to certain sites could be a waste of time, however.
    2. Create a Blog to Boost Your Online Reputation.
      Writing a blog is a great way to defensively address your online reputation.  Select a topic that you are an expert in and generate content weekly or even daily, if possible.  The more specific and unique the subject, the better—and the better chance of will have of being picked up by another blog or web site, which is important.
    3. Add Good News Online Frequently
      What’s new?  Write about it and find appropriate outlets to post it online.  Be sure to add new developments, products, events, etc. to your blogs and other online presences.  There are ways to communicate your activities in a way that wont reveal too many details that would tip off competitors.  The important idea here is to get visible online in order to help stock holders see that you are viable.
    4. Monitor Your Online Reputation.
      There are many free tools, but Google Alerts might be among the best.  Just sign up for a Google account if you don’t already have one and go to http://www.google.com/alerts.  There you can enter the word or phrase you want to monitor.  Usually, enter your name or your business name.  You can also select how often you want alerts (select immediately) as well as a few other options.  This can give you a jump on negative information as it occurs and react immediately.

    If all else fails, you might need to work with an expert in the field.

    But having a positive online reputation could mean the difference between a project or deal going through or being left out and not really knowing why.



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