In the old days, when bad news came out about an individual or business, resources on how to deal with the problem or “get the word out” were limited. In most cases, the specific problem could be localized and dealt with on a word of mouth basis and/or by a gradual rectification of previous actions. However, today’s virtual world is much different, with even the most minute of circumstances finding themselves communicated in real time across the Internet. Regardless of whether you represent a large firm or are simply the victim of a rumor, social media websites, live television, search engines and other outlets can significantly harm your reputation and make it difficult for you to conduct business or even improve personal relationships. Here at Reputable.com, our aim is to provide readers with relevant content on different situations that are a direct result of reputation sabotage, useful tools to assist you in dealing with problems, and create an open line of communication with our readership.
What Is Reputation Management?
According to the official Wikipedia site, “Reputation management is the understanding or influencing of an individual’s or business’s reputation. It was originally coined as a public relations term, but advancement in computing, the internet and social media made it primarily an issue of search results. Although it is often associated with ethical grey areas, such as astroturfing review sites, censoring negative complaints or using SEO tactics to game the system and influence results, there are also ethical forms of reputation management, such as responding to customer complaints, asking sites to take down incorrect information and using online feedback to influence product development.”
Often, it is best to be open and responsive whenever possible; as this can be the best way to get your own message across while increasing exposure for your business. Personally, I have a friend who is in charge of a local restaurant and received a high profile negative review that was posted (and later re-posted) on several social media websites. Before she knew it, diner levels had dropped while even the most loyal regulars inquired about the reason behind the “poor service.” Rather than getting upset about the criticism, she took it to heart, offered an apology to the reviewer, met with staff, and implemented changes before the situation got out of hand. Unfortunately this resulted in one long-time waiter losing his job, but it turned out the experience wasn’t isolated to a single reviewer and that customers had been “putting up with the bad attitude for years.” By acknowledging a problem, the restaurant owner was able to quickly assuage the hurt feelings of returning diners and even attracted new business thanks to time-tested menu selections.
But what should be done in cases where social media and other methods are used to ruin an individual’s reputation? Believe it or not, this happens for reasons that many of us would not deem pertinent. For example, “x-person” offended someone else through written or verbal words, or another person may get the royal negative treatment for actions that may not have been initially thought of as harmful. When these circumstances arise, seeing your name at the top of search engines tagged along with negative feedback can go a long way to damaging one’s self esteem and can even ruin a career.
So from this point forward, our aim here will be to publish content on turning a negative into a positive – for both corporate and personal situations. Although some go as far as to hire expensive consulting services to mend fences, proper measures can often be taken with little or even no overhead.
Thanks for taking the time to read through our introductory article. We look forward to communicating more of our insight and knowledge here at Reputable.com.