Controlling Your Online Reputation

by Joe Lavelle on July 29, 2009

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Information is traveling faster than it ever has before.  As a baby is being born on one side of the country, grandparents are able to get regular updates on mom’s progress, and then see videos and receive pictures as soon as the new bundle of joy enters the world.  How long did it take before people across the globe were made aware of Michael Jackson’s death last month?  It seems like the transmission of all breaking information is almost instantaneous.  Professionals also need to be aware of the effect that technology can have on their company’s reputation with clients and potential investors.  You make one customer angry and there are dozens of ways in which his frustration can reach a mass audience.

In a recent post on her blog Water Cooler Wisdom, Alexandra Levit shares five ways that a company can fix a tarnished online reputation.  She points to a recent You Tube video by an unhappy flyer of United Airlines who had guitars broken during his travels.  By the time the airline took the time to issue an apology, more than three million people had already watched the video and the damage was done.  Are you prepared to respond if your business faces negative publicity in cyberspace?  If you are aware of the potential pitfalls that the internet can have for an organization and have methods in place to control the message your company is sending, your employer will take notice of your initiative in this important area.

Some of the suggestions made by Alexandra Levit include building a positive reputation ahead of time so that all negative comments are put in perspective, set up specific locations for negative feedback on your company’s website to show you are genuinely interested in criticism and to have a central location to deal with problems, and produce plenty of positive new content for the search engines to find (such as articles, blog posts, and press releases).

As a professional, you already have been told not to underestimate the power of online communication.  You probably know how to market yourself through this medium, but do you have a plan in place when others make the news for you?   Controlling your online presence is just another way that you can provide another opportunity for career acceleration and success!

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