Understanding how your online reputation affects you

Today’s online reputation has become so important that it could cause real personal and professional disasters. Unfortunately, it’s not that difficult for someone to tarnish your reputation, so when we are interested in maintaining our good name online, be sure to know what steps to follow or who to turn to when things go terribly wrong.

There are reputation managers that specialize in not only clearing your name because they are tech savvy, but also know exactly what to remove and what to replace it with because they are PR gurus. A reputation manager makes sure that your best face is put forward avoiding those old and irrelevant events or simply untrue ones are not tarnishing your good name. Today having a good online name is everything, it’s usually the first place an employer or client will look you up and it’s best to have everything in order.

Hence, when marketing yourself or a business Online Reputation Management (ORM) becomes a big deal and having the right strategy is essential. An effective strategy, will not only track your online profile, correcting any hiccup along the way, but will also give you new opportunities to shine and increase your brand awareness. So, let’s explore why it would be important for you to implement an ORM strategy:

 1. Be on the top of the list

Most people today research a brand before choosing to buy from it, so having a great online profile will only help you sell more. By being on the top of the list with en excellent reputation you can almost assure higher sales. Also, coming back from a negative testimony from a disgruntled client is quite hard and today it’s becoming more and more difficult to control this since we are in the era of citizen journalism, where we all have the power to report, write and be heard by millions, basically anyone willing to hear.

2. Sell the image you want to

Focus on building trust and credibility for your current and future clients. Word of mouth which at one point could spread in a small community can now cross borders, so be aware of having satisfied clients that will willingly go out and share just how good you are at what you do.  Many times investors or clients will base their decision to choose you solely on your online reputation.

3. Getting the best

Online reputation cannot only help you sell, but it can get you the people that can run your business the best. Finding talent is essential and getting the best also comes back to maintaining an excellent online profile. The top professionals in every field will surely want to be with you as long as you have a good reputation, because your name will also become their name.

Image courtesy of Garoa at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of Garoa at Flickr.com

Many companies offer the ORM service to assure that you maintain a clear name online. Most will offer some or all of the following services.

  • Analysis of your online reputation
    With software they analyze all of your online presence, which will allow them to design the perfect strategy for you and your company.
  • Other SEO or marketing services
    Many of these companies will not only offer you ORM, but will also specialize in all things related to online image so it’s very convenient if you’re looking for the whole package.
  • Social media writing
    They will know exactly what and when to say it to optimize your image online, by taking over your social media.
  • Web design and development
    Most people concerned with online reputation also need or want a website that will allow them to get more exposure. So most of these companies offer this service as well.
  • Infographic services
    Want to show information about your company in a comprehensive way, nowadays infographics is the way to go.
  • Platforms for handle it on your own
    Some companies will offer ready-made PC or online software that will allow you to control your own image. They will offer some support or advice from experts, but overall this is the perfect option for the DIY fans.
  • 24/7 news and social monitoring
    By having constant monitoring of the media or social networks they can immediately make any changes, or apply any strategies necessary to counteract the negative press.
  • Content removal
    Some content can be removed and the companies make sure it’s on the web as least as possible.
  • Positive content creation
    As a counteractive method, positive content creation will get your name out there in the right way.
  • Email alerts
    You can program email alerts to know exactly what’s happening with your online reputation and brand, as well as what’s being done to improve it.
  • Creation of optimized profiles
    If you’re not really sure the best way to set up your online profile, the experts can definitely give you a hand and create the best possible profile for you.

At the end of the day, your reputation online will only continue to gain relevance in your personal and professional life, so why not get ahead of the game and assure you have the best possible profile out there.

How to improve online reputation in hotels.

Consider the following analogy.  “Oxygen is to humans as reputation is to hotels.”  Without oxygen there would be no humans and without reputation a hotel cannot succeed.  Especially in today’s day an age where online travel agencies have become a force to be reckoned with when it comes to organizing a trip.  The stars a hotel is awarded in reviews have become just as important as the ones given by different associations.  It can be argued that people reviews are more important.  According to a recent survey conducted by TripAdvisor, 84% of those surveyed give high consideration to reviews about a place they are thinking about booking.  84 PERCENT.  That is a massive number.  One that begs online reputation not be ignored.  A hotel without a proper online reputation strategy is doomed.  Fortunately, hotels can do many things to make sure their online reputation is up with the best.

Online rep begins offline

Good and bad reviews come after experiencing a hotel.  It makes perfect sense.  You can’t talk about a hotel until you have gone and stayed in one.  Quality of service plays a huge role in either making or breaking a hotel’s reputation.  Therefore, it should be a hotel manager’s top priority to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to enhance the guest experience.  How can every staff member accomplish this?

  • Keep promises:  If a hotel’s webpage promises its guest something, they’d be served well to keep their word.  One of the most damaging things to a hotels reputation is that guests feel like they have been lied to.  If a hotel can’t carry out what it says on digital media then it better not state otherwise.
  • Exceed expectations:  Guests love it when hotel staff go the extra mile.  Something as simple as changing a person’s towels without him or her asking goes a long way.  Or how about offering a cold beverage because of the scorching heat by the pool?  That would also show guests that the staff is always on the lookout for their wellbeing and comfort.
  • Training:  Not everyone is born with the customer service gene.  A little training in how to deal with picky guests or how to improve customer relations will most definitely pay off in the long run.
  • Feedback:  Hoteliers must constantly relate to the staff what people who stay at the hotel are saying.  It gives them a good idea of what they are doing correctly and what needs to get better.

Claim! Claim! Claim!

Any respectable hotel has a profile on the most important online booking sites.  It’s a no brainer.  Booking sites are where potential guests are going to look for you.  Super Smart Tag gives a very good list of the best online booking sites to be on.  Verified profiles show people that you are legit and it’s the place where the guests who visited you are sure to post their reviews.  Online travel agencies usually send an e-mail to a person following their stay at a chosen hotel to share their opinion on the travel agency’s site.  

Online booking sites should not be your only presence on the web.  Social media accounts are just as important in helping your online reputation.  Social media give possible guests an initial taste of what a hotel has to offer. Hoteliers must make sure that the profiles highlight the best a hotel has to offer.  Profiles on different social media accounts can show galleries and videos about events a hotel organizes for its guests.  The images we tend to find on a hotel’s website are often prepared or might look phony.  Social media eliminates this and gives hotels the chance to post natural and spontaneous pictures of guests having a good time.

Review the reviews

Image courtesy of Gayla Baer-Taylor at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of Gayla Baer-Taylor at Flickr.com

Pop quiz.  What percentage of people recently surveyed considered looking at reviews as a decisive factor in booking a hotel?  Don’t remember? It’s in here somewhere.  84 percent. Very good.  That’s a big number to ignore.  Hotel reviews give people an excellent idea of what to expect.  Hoteliers need to go over those reviews and answer accordingly.  Positive and negative comments should be taken with gratitude.  

The bad ones tend to stick out the most.  There’s nothing in the hotel handbook that says you can’t offer a solution to a problem after the guest has left.  Looking into the matter and fixing it ensures that future guests have an excellent time and therefore rank a hotel high.  As for the original negative comment, it’s a good idea to get in touch with the person who was not satisfied in the first place.  Let them know steps have been made to correct the issue at hand and that the hotel is appreciative of the comment that was made.  It goes a long way in getting a second chance from that disgruntled guest and it shows potential guests that you are always aware of improving and making the guest experience as pleasant as possible.

What people say about a hotel can’t be ignored in an age where more and more people are going online to book one.  Hotels would be wise to do everything in their hands to make sure that the reviews are as positive as possible.  These three simple things can do a lot to get there.

How to keep your online profile out of the ditch

Today online profiles are equivalent to your reputation in high school. Bad news or dirty gossip spread like wildfire and getting rid of that horrible nickname or bad rep is pretty tough to do. Luckily, there are things you can do online to either avoid getting yourself in a bind altogether or get out of one if in need.

Preparing for a brave new world

The reality is that no one is safe from possible Internet bashing, outcries or criticism. Be it companies (big or small) or just everyday ordinary people can be subject to some kind of content that can negatively affect their online reputation. With today’s pocket social media world it is extremely easy to have a client tweet in real time about his or her not-so-good experience at your store, share a humiliating story about you, or accuse you of something you didn’t do. It’s become easy, so we have to become aware and see how we can protect ourselves from the get go.

First of all, it’s important to spread out your presence on social media, not just the obvious ones, but the ones related to your particular field of expertise. By having various channels of communication you can also set things straight a lot easier and reach a larger audience. Now, if you open it of course pay attention to it! If you have a profile on a social media, always check it regularly assuring that you know what’s being shared, tagged or posted about you. You can also increase web presence by creating positive content, blogging and posting as often as you can or consider necessary. This presence will help when search engines look you up.

Some companies have this one person that has become the face of the company. Be sure to protect that image above all. Since that person’s image will most likely be directly linked back to the company, you should be applying any and all reputation management strategies to both the company and this key player.

Image courtesy of Mark Hunter at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of Mark Hunter at Flickr.com

When getting your online reputation off the ground be sure to start off on the right foot. Be sure to not mix business and pleasure. If you are managing a personal branding profile or if there is an employee that needs certain visibility be sure to separate this personal life from his work life. Who wants to find pictures of you partying when trying to find your experience? This goes hand in hand with choosing your online name carefully. Similar names or other user names on other networks may cause confusion that can deteriorate your online profile.

One the damage is done

Initially, even the blow can be hard to handle, we have to realize that in this day and age it is impossible to completely erase. We have to learn to handle it and manage the situation in the best possible way. So, when the damage is done explore your options carefully, but initially always make contact. Make the connection with whatever was written or shared about you, because silence can be a slow death. When you reach out, keep in mind it may simply be a mistake that can be retracted or corrected. In fact about 95% of bloggers are willing to retract, delete or correct any information that was misleading or incorrect. When establishing contact with the blogger, client or whoever brought on the negativity be sure to be clear about your expectations, what you would like them to do to assure your online reputation is not affected. Do you want them to retract themselves, correct it or simply delete it within reasonable requests?

Your reaction will be as important as the actual event that affected your reputation. Be pro-active not re-active by staying one-step ahead. Make use of the available tools out there to protect your interests. Don’t wait to hear about it from a friend, get alerts or set up software that can analyze your online profile ever so often. Stay in the game by being informed on what’s being said about you. It goes without saying arguing online with clients or bloggers will not lead anywhere. Always treat negativity with genuine concern and make amends if necessary. At the end of the day if you are getting complaints, listen to your clients. They could be helping you grow and improve, if you’re willing to listen and grow.

Staying alert when the calm has set in

Remember you can never truly erase anything in today’s interconnected world, so always watch out for any ripple effects from past negative experiences. Also, if you hadn’t already put in place reputation management strategies, this is the moment to do so. If you’ve survived some negativity, make sure you’re prepared for future situations by taking the necessary measures.

3 Types of Reputation-Ruining Content that You Need to Know About

The rise of the Internet has changed the way that people and businesses interact, altering communication styles, marketing habits, and collaboration methods while promoting our ability to conduct quick, effective research.

Search engines like Google and Yahoo have also opened individuals and businesses up to a domain in which their success can be significantly impacted by the state of their online reputations. While many factors can result in a positive image the web, the following issues are the most likely to negatively affect your online reputation:

Poor Business Reviews

thumbs down disagreeUnfortunately, statistics show that a negative experience is more likely to be shared by a customer online or by word of mouth. According to one study, a poor experience with a business was 50 percent more likely to be discussed on social media than a positive experience, and 52 percent more likely to bring their story to a review site like Yelp. Additionally, a survey conducted by Zendesk in 2013 deduced that 90 percent of customers who read online reviews were swayed by their content, and factored them into their purchasing decisions.

A business owner who does not pay attention to the negative reviews that his or her company receives online may be significantly impacting sales numbers and the potential success of the company. However, the damage done by negative reviews does not need to be permanent.

The most useful action a company can take when it receives a bad review is to respond with a well-constructed, professional comment. Within the comment, business owners should offer the customer an apology and outline the way in which they will make sure their business avoids the problem in future transactions.

To demonstrate to people reading the review that they value customer satisfaction, companies should refrain from using accusatory language or placing blame on the person who left the review, no matter the circumstances.

Bad Press

When a company or individual becomes involved in a significant dispute of any kind, it may end up on the internet in the form of a news article, court document, post on a gossip website, or scandalous picture.

Among the most common types of bad press on the internet are legal disputes, scandals involving an individual’s personal life, and reports on customer complaint sites, which allow anonymous posters to post commentary – honest or otherwise – about a business’ services or products. In comparison with more general customer review sites like Ye;[, which requires posters to identify themselves for the sake of honesty, customer complaint sites do not offer potential customers a fair look at a company, yet still rank high on search engines.

Similarly, smear sites that are designed specifically to air personal grievances also allow commenters to remain anonymous while authoring posts. When a name is mentioned on these websites, Google’s algorithm ranks them as important due to factors such as a high click-through rate, the age of the website, and a steady growth rate in comparison with its years of operation.

Though personal requests for the removal of this information from such sites are rarely granted, individuals may want to consider enlisting the help of a reputation management service in order to explore their options.

No Web Presence

As damaging as scandalous content and negative reviews can be, having no content available on the internet at all can be a major disadvantage to both businesses and people. As a business, establishing a web presence increases both visibility and the reach of advertising initiatives, driving sales through the procurement of a larger customer base.

With the Internet now playing a dominant role in American consumerism, it is highly likely that competing businesses will establish a web presence, which puts companies without a website or online presence at a distinct disadvantage. Having a strong website and marketing platform on social media sites lends companies a degree of trust and credibility from potential customers. While a business with a website may not automatically be seen as reliable, but a company without a website is likely to be seen as undependable or risky.

As with businesses, individuals who choose not to participate in social media may find it difficult to secure job interviews. Recruiters frequently use search engines as a preliminary screening tool for potential job candidates, and a lack of presence online may tell potential employers that an individual does not place importance on being contemporary.

To begin establishing a presence online, businesses can create a basic website that provides the company’s name and logo, contact information, and a short description of the product or services that it provides. This kind of website should be used as a starting point, and can be expanded upon as time or budget permits.

Individuals would do well to establish themselves on professional sites like LinkedIn, providing the details of their work experience and any schooling or certifications along with a professional headshot. To make a greater professional impression, job seekers should consider authoring a blog which showcases the individual’s knowledge and capabilities with regard to his or her professional industry.

5 Online Reputation Management Tips for Legal Professionals

When searching for a product or service to accommodate even your smallest of needs, consumers often turn to the Internet in order to help them make an educated decision about where to take their business. In situations where consumers need assistance in a matter that will significantly impact their quality of life, they can also use the Internet as a resource to help them research the quality of the professionals who can provide them with services that will yield the most positive outcomes.

Few professions focus on services that impact a person’s quality of life more than that of the legal industry, where investing in the wrong professional could result in significant monetary losses or even jail time. A lawyer can help clients in many areas of their lives, and those who have the financial ability will choose a professional with the best reputation for winning cases in a particular field of law.

As a result, lawyers and other legal professionals could benefit significantly from the practice of online reputation management. In order to foster greater professional success, legal professionals should consider the following online reputation management tips:

Establish a presence on popular legal directory sites

Although many prospective clients will use search engines to find information about professionals in the field of law, online legal directories are still considered a viable resource for locating attorneys, and many allow individuals to search either by name or legal issue. The most popular online directories include well-established sites such as FindLaw, SuperLawyers, Avvo, and Lawyers.com.

Legal professionals can strengthen their online reputation by signing themselves up on these websites and filling out the profiles as thoroughly as possible. Additionally, it is important to include a picture of oneself on each site so that potential clients can put a face to a name. Adding a picture to these sites makes each profile look much more professional, and may make a potential client more inclined to enlist your services.

lawyer business suit and tie

Claim your name

Since lawyers’ names are often also their brand, it is important that they claim domains and social media handles with their names in them. Purchasing a .com domain with your first and last name in it will help prevent others from buying the domain to use against you and will also help you to remain on the first page of search engine results, since a URL that contains a search term ranks more highly on websites such as Google and Bing.

Additionally, legal professionals should consider claiming any available social media handles that contain their first and last name for similar reasons. Regardless of whether or not you plan to be active on a given social media platform, it is highly likely that someone else will eventually own the handle if you choose not to claim it. Claiming a handle can also help you avoid impersonation or sabotage from competitors or other individuals who may want to see your online reputation deteriorate.

Monitor your reviews

One of the most important practices in online reputation management is routinely monitoring the conversation that goes on about yourself and your business practices online. When attorneys fail to periodically perform a quick search of their names online, the posts and comments left on review sites about them go unanswered and their online reputation can decline sharply or portray an image that does not match their business’ practices.

Regardless of whether a comment is positive or negative, the best course of action is to respond in a way that showcases your ability to remain professional under any circumstances. While positive feedback should be acknowledged with a simple show of gratitude, negative feedback offers an opportunity to show anyone reading your reviews that you value client input, and that you will use any negative feedback to make your business more effective.

Consider running a law blog to strengthen your image

Strategic, original content is highly effective in making its way onto the first page of Google search results and is an excellent way to maintain some control over what shows up when a client or other legal professional searches for you on the Internet.

In order to command more space on the first page of Google search results, consider investing your time in a blog that discusses common legal issues or that provides information about your practice. Professionals in the legal industry have specific guidelines for what can and cannot be legally posted online for prospective clients, so discretion should be exercised when writing articles on legal topics.

Practice mindful social media habits

When legal professionals choose to incorporate social media platforms into their online reputation management strategies, it is important that they be mindful of what their posts may communicate about them and their businesses to potential customers or professional partners. Consider how a picture or comment will be perceived objectively before posting it, and stick to subjects that are informational or neutral in nature, avoiding controversial topics.

Another important aspect of curating a positive online image is to remain consistent across multiple social media platforms. You should aim to be consistent in the language, subject, and degree of professionalism for each website in order to have the greatest impact on your online audience.