Managing your online reputation

Posted by Faye on October 11, 2010 in Marketing & Social Media |

Are you surprised at what you look like online?

Have you Googled yourself lately? No, seriously. Have you ever Googled yourself? Type your name into the Google search bar and see what comes up. Are you surprised at the results?

A post online stays forever in time

If your offline reputation is important to you, then it’s equally important that you monitor your online reputation on a regular basis, especially if you’re in the job market. In the last few years  a proliferation of online social networking sites has provided ample opportunities for people to post comments, photos and videos everywhere. Do you comment on blogs? Write reviews? Post photos on Facebook, or upload videos to YouTube? Remember, what you put online stays out there forever.

A few months ago I created a birthday card for a co-worker. I knew he was on Facebook, so I decided to go to his page to see how much of his profile I could view. Imagine my surprise when I saw a couple dozen photos of him; each with some kind of drink in his hand. These were photos from his friends’ photo albums in which he was tagged.  Perfect for my birthday card! Two dozen photos in various drinking poses that I could save to my desktop with a click of the mouse? Don’t mind if I do! I will never forget the look on his face as he opened his card. (Of course I had several co-workers sign it first). In the time it took us to walk from his office to our desks, he had deleted all tags from his photos. We all had a good laugh, but there was a lesson here. Although these photos were perfectly harmless, a potential employer might not have seen it that way.

According to a Forbes.com article, 90% of recruiters use a search engine to check up on candidates they’re interviewing, and 46% had eliminated a candidate based on  information they found online. There’s a lot of good information on the web on how to manage your online reputation. I’ve provided a few links at the end of this post; and Mashable is always a great source. For me, it’s just common sense. Don’t put anything online that you wouldn’t want your mother to see or read.

What are people saying about your company?

Business owners are you paying attention? Do you know what people are saying about you online? How are you reacting to the negative comments? Do you know how to manage your online reputation?

It only takes one derogatory comment to go viral

Several months ago I interviewed for a marketing position at a national company headquartered here in Columbus, with franchises all over the country. I did my homework by researching them online.  I Googled them, visited their website, checked to see if they had a presence on LinkedIn and Twitter, read some not-so-nice reviews on Yelp, watched their TV spots on YouTube, and came across their Facebook page. It was obvious that nobody was monitoring the wall posts. About halfway down was a comment from an unhappy person: “(Company), you really should know what your employees are doing out in the field.” Next to her comment was a link that took me straight to her blog. She told a story about her experience riding her bike down the street, when the company’s service van drove by. As it passed her, one of the service techs in the van yelled, “Get on the sidewalk!”

Yikes. Then she continued, “I will never do business with your company, and I’m going to tell all my friends.” Oh yeah, and there were those share buttons right underneath, so anyone reading her damaging post could share them with the rest of the online community. To top it off, several people made comments about her story, and I’m sure they shared it with their networks.

During my interview I mentioned that wall post (which turned out to be news to them), as well as offered a suggestion on how I would handle it, but I never found out how they ultimately addressed the problem since I didn’t get the job.  I later went back to their Facebook page and saw that they had removed the post.

What would you do? Would you have removed the post? Or would you have sucked it up and addressed a customer service issue head-on?

Other online resources:

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  • Robb says:

    Great points. I have, for a long time, monitored my on line presents. I have done work for a few small businesses who, after being educated, realized they must keep track of what people are saying about them. They also were glad they could. The “new media” allows business to have a conversation with the market. It’s screaming “let’s talk”. So talk with your market and find out how you can serve them better.

  • Faye says:

    Robb, thanks for your comments. It amazes me how many companies (and people) don’t pay attention to their online presence. You are absolutely right, it opens the door to communicating one-on-one with customers.

  • Hi Faye — I found your posting interesting — it prompted me to jump over to Google, type my name to see what came up. Thank goodness nothing derogatory, whew, I can sleep tonight.

    Look forward to reading new posts!

  • Faye says:

    Hey Leslie, it’s always good to check your online presence on a regular basis – use other search engines like Bing and Yahoo in addition to Google. Thanks for reading my blog!

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