Monitoring your, or your businesses’, online reputation is challenging, even with all of the tools available. Monitoring Yelp, Trip Adviser or any other review sites like Onlinereputationreviews.com where your customer would typically go to share their experience with your brand is not enough; you’ll find mention of your business on social media, in blogs and in forums as well. A recent Huffington Post article suggests using Google alerts to find newly-indexed mentions of your company. While there are a number of websites that offer free and paid tools for brand monitoring, few entrepreneurs have enough free time to constantly monitor what people are saying about their brand.
In addition to professionally replying to negative reviews, the easiest way to protect your online reputation, which is linked to your company’s reputation, is to never write an email or a social media comment, or post any images or videos, that you wouldn’t want to make public. A derogatory comment about your customers or competitors in an email made by you or one of your key employees could easily be shared by a disgruntled employee. People can take screenshots and share content that was meant as a joke, however, taken out of context, it will reflect poorly on your brand.
CEOs and public figures have had their online reputation tank because someone leaked comments that the person thought were private. Remember the Democratic National Committee’s CEO who resigned earlier this year when leaked emails exposed a scandal? While the leak was a result of a hack, it isn’t the only hack that negatively affected someone’s online standing. When Ashley Madison was hacked, numerous public figures saw their online reputation decline rapidly.
If you or your brand is well-known, someone may expose any scandalous information that they uncover in your online communications. They may make the information public to gain publicity for themselves or simply to hurt you or your company. While no one is perfect, exercise self control in your online communications and encourage executives in your company to do the same. It’s easier to avoid a reputation crisis than it is to fix one.