You Need To Defend Your Online Reputation – Here Is Why And How


The famed entrepreneur and philanthropist Warren Buffet once said that “ it takes 20 years to build a  reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that you’ll do things differently”. With the increasing speed that information is spread online, that 5 minutes is now only a few seconds.

So think about all the times you have gone on the internet and given or exchanged information and comment on social media and other platforms. One small mistake or error of judgment on your part (or by someone else) on the internet can now impact millions of people in minutes, and that can come back to haunt you and your family for years to come.

Your online reputation is almost akin to a part of the human body these days. It follows you wherever you go, it can become ill, and can cause you harm even whilst you sleep! For these reasons it is important to take steps to build and protect your online reputation on a regular basis. The good news is that with regular effort online reputation management can be simpler than you might think.


So What Is An Online Reputation?


Basically, “online reputation” is how an individual, organization or business is publicly perceived online by the public, and  “reputation management” relates to the influencing or controlling of an individual or group’s reputation”  Stuff happens, and you might just make the mistake of putting something online that is offensive or maybe even be considered borderline libelous to another person’s reputation like in the case of Jacobus v. Trump and cause a costly lawsuit to be brought.

But for those of us whose online reputation is more mundane, the consequences can be more than just about hurt feelings - it can actually affect our livelihood.

What if an employer Googles you and finds something that you wrote on Twitter offensive or damaging to the business’s online reputation? You could lose your job over it, and most of us cannot afford an expensive lawsuit to try and protect or First Amendment rights. Or if you have a small business and one of your employees goes postal at a customer who posts the rant online, it could cause you loss of reputation in your local marketplace. And bear in mind that of the 75 percent of U.S. adults, who Google themselves, nearly half say the results aren’t positive.

Even large companies zealously try to manage and guard their online reputation like the case a couple of years ago in New York, when a  Starbucks employee who screamed and ranted at a customer accusing her of theft of a 99c edible straw - the customer posted the video on Facebook, which led to the employee being fired and a public apology being given to the customer.


So What Can You Do To Defend Your Online Reputation?


Well first off, you need to know that as “any person in a position to review your reputation for the purposes of employment, volunteering or other public interface can find out a great deal about you and your past,”(per , you need to make sure that you always strive to present yourself in the most positive manner wherever you go online .

Now if you are daunted by the prospect of tacking the process of cleaning up your online reputation by yourself,  and feel that you need professional assistance, then consult , an online reputation management company that will quickly undertake the task of helping you create a positive online presence and will also suppress and manage negative search results that affect you. However, if you have the time, will and take the initiative to improve how to present your online image, then there are surefire ways to restore your online reputation.

1. Post positive online content, regularly and often – the more positive comments, blog posts, reviews and social media content that you create, the more of a type of online firewall you can create against negative online items. The sheer volume and weight of the positive items will rise to the top of searches against your name, and they will have the effect of helping to bury the negative items.

2. Create a blog – write and do videos about subjects that you know and are interested in and that best reflect your knowledge and expertise. Make sure that you use decent grammar and spelling – use an online spellcheck tool like Grammarly if need be!

3. Update your online profiles – use the profile section of social media sites to present yourself in the best possible light. Note: do be careful not to give out personal information that could be used to steal passwords, login details, and use privacy settings so you can control what others might see

4. Monitor your social media and online platforms regularly – check for negative or other damaging comments and deal with them politely. Trolls and flamers are always hoping for an angry reaction, so if you respond to rudeness or abuse in kind, you’ll only fuel the fire. If necessary, do not respond whilst your temper is raging – get off line and cool off before dealing with anything controversial.

5. Search your name on Google and Yahoo  - and use their Alerts systems that will email you and bring anything to your attention with your name in it. Tip: if your name is common, adjust your settings in the Alerts, so that you are distinguished from people with similar names, by including your name, town, business name and so on, or else you may get tons of alerts for others that might privacy settings.

What can you take away from this?  It is virtually impossible to keep track of everything that relates to you online (after all, some public domain websites publish old materials going back decades).

But you can stay ahead of potential online reputation fires by sensible monitoring of your name and profiles, social media sites, and by presenting your best face (we don’t mean oversharing the family pictures…) with as much positive content as you can muster. Always your best online foot forward.