5 Steps to Take to Build an Online Reputation
While a first impression takes just seconds to form, a reputation is much harder to build. Whether you’re building an online reputation for yourself as a professional in your field or for your company as a leader of your industry, reputation management is an essential skill. When you discover your current reputation, you may have a difficult time changing your customers’ perception. Here are five steps to building your reputation online.
- Discover Your Current Reputation
It’s hard to fix something if you don’t know how it’s broken. Before you attempt to manage your online reputation, you need to discover what people think about you or your company. An online reputation is built on forums, social media channels and review sites. If you aren’t already keeping tabs on every single review of your company through these channels, it’s time to start now.
- Make a Plan
Once you’ve discovered how your audience thinks and feels about you, there’s inevitably some opinions you’d like to change. Whether you need minor adjustments or a major reversal, consider some action steps before you start taking action in your reputation management plan. Decide how you’ll handle negative feedback, who will determine whether the feedback is negative, what type of reputation you’d like and all the other essential decisions for unified communication and a single, clear reputation moving forward.
- Stay Professional
Next, be sure to always handle yourself professionally. Online comments can be plagued by crude, obscene and rude language. Never attempt to sink to that level or use inappropriate language, even in your own defense. Positive, professional communication is always the best answer to an inflammatory comment, no matter how much truth may be in the comment.
- Encourage Positive Feedback
As you sift through the sea of comments, questions and general feedback, your next step in reputation management is to focus on the positive feedback. Find it wherever it’s given and be sure praise is recognized and rewarded. Whether the reward is a response or another incentive, be sure you aren’t spending all your time responding to negative comments and ignoring positive ones.
- Check Your Work
Finally, continue to review and revise your reputation management plan. No plan is perfect, and your execution of it may be flawed from time to time. Whether you realize your reputation is shifting in a way you don’t approve of, or you’ve determined that your initial strategy isn’t solving some of the major issues with your reputation, it’s important to consistently review your action plan and make any necessary adjustments.