5 Less Obvious Online Reputation Management Issues

Avoid Potential Reputation Hazards

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There are a lot of elements to online reputation management. Really, depending on how far you want to take it, the elements are basically limitless. Any web property out there that gives people a voice caters to potential reputation smearing.

There have been entire books written about online reputation management, and countless articles, but I just wanted to take the time to point out five things to keep track of that you may not have considered (or maybe you have…if so, good thinking).

What do you watch when monitoring your online reputation? Tell WPN readers.

1. Google Sidewiki

There is a chance that people are talking about you right on your site, and you don’t have any clue. A while back Google launched SideWiki, a feature for the Google Toolbar (and also available as a bookmarklet for web browsers), which lets people comment on any page on the web. Anyone who is using Sidewiki can see the comments that have been posted or leave their own. Granted, not all comments left will necessarily show up (Google controls this), but you should do yourself a favor and check to see what kind of comments are being left on your site. If you have a lot of pages, it may be hard to get to them all, but you can focus on the ones that you feel are the most important (or bring in the most traffic).

2. Blog Comments

You may be on the look out for blog posts being written about your brand. People are going online more and more to research businesses before they buy. They’re looking for reviews and what people have to say about businesses and products.

It doesn’t stop at the blog post, however. Often times, some of the most passionate and/or nasty comments will come in the comments sections of these blog posts. If you need to defend your brand or product out there, don’t overlook what people are saying in the comments themselves.

That’s assuming that the comments are negative, but it can also pay to acknowledge the good comments. Engage with people and show that you care and appreciate the kind words. As Connie Bensen of Techrigy recently told WebProNews in an interview, "You’re never done building you brand." You should always be listening, work with those who are being negative (when possible), and thank the ones who are being positive.

3. Ex-Employees

Speaking of comments and blog posts, it is often ex-employees who have been let go who can leave the nastiest comments and posts. As Doug Caverly noted in a SmallBusinessNewz article, firings don’t often lead to warm, fuzzy feelings. Some people can just get plain malicious, and these people will do what they can to ruin you. You can set up alerts for ex-employees, and this will often help you encounter any negative words they are putting out there. This can be difficult to manage depending on the privacy settings of any social networks they may be sounding off on, but Google Alerts, Twitter search feeds, etc. can potentially catch a great deal of smack talk.

4. Watching What You Tweet

Twitterers say the darndest things. When you see all of the ridiculous stuff people are saying on Twitter, it’s easy to dismiss any discretion (particularly if you like to tie on a buzz and speak your mind as plenty in the industry clearly do). Just think before you tweet. Tweets are automatically set to public unless you change your settings. Once you say something, it’s out there for the world to see, and how close attention do you really pay to your list of followers? Anyone can follow you if you haven’t changed your settings.

Bad Tweeting

Sure, if you slip up and wish to take back something you said, you can always delete your tweet. However, Twitter is largely about real-time communication and what is happening right now. So once it’s been said, there is no telling how many people may have seen it.

Being yourself is one thing. There’s nothing wrong with speaking your mind (even if you do have a buzz). People often put their foot in their mouths in the offline world. The same goes for Twitter. That’s all I’m saying.

5. Photos Posted by Others

Luckily things like photo tagging on Facebook and other sites lets people upload photos of you with your name attached to them. If you’re not ashamed of anything you’ve ever done, than maybe you have nothing to worry about. I would guess that most people cannot say that, however. And it’s funny how cameras are often present at those times that lead to any shame. What may be funny to your college roommate (and perhaps even you still), may not be so appropriate for potential customers and business contacts.

Keep an eye on your Facebook photos (and anywhere else, where they may be popping up). Tell your friends to cut you some slack. Tell them it’s funny, but they may be losing you business. If they’re really your friend, they’ll understand.

Wrapping Up

Clearly, there are many more things to consider within the practice of managing one’s online reputation. A lot of it comes down to how comfortable you are with your professional persona – your brand’s image (in the eyes of the public). Can you think of some potential reputation hazards that may not occur to everybody? Please share in the comments.

Related Articles: 

> Picking Your Online Reputation Battles

> Baby Food Recall Shows Reputation Management Done Right

> Killing Bad Search Results with Reputation Management

> Fighting a Bad Online Reputation & Keeping a Good One

5 Less Obvious Online Reputation Management Issues
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  • http://www.lexalytics.com Christine Sierra

    Nice outline of 5 simple things that could be overlooked in reputation management. The importance of monitoring and analyzing sentiment about your business or products has changed significantly with the addition of consumer generated content.

    It will be interesting to see what other content channels will need to be monitored in the months/year ahead.


    Christine Sierra

    • Chris Crum

      Thanks Christine. It will indeed be interesting. The landscape is ever-changing.

  • http://arab-publishers.blogspot.com Bestpublisher

    Its so difficult to keep a low profile & influence people at the same time.
    because people need to know about you o trust you, don’t you think so?

  • http://queengems.ecrater.com/ sunny

    It’s helpful to build and protect the brand reputation.

  • Hodgins

    Nice blog. And good work enumerating those 5 things! I would just like to mention that CLEANmy.NAME provides effective SEO for positive ORM. They

  • StephanieGrey

    Thanks for the info. These are good things to keep in mind. There are also a number of companies out there that provide Reputation Management Services. I think the best by far is Zallas Technologies. They offer a service called Google Name Cleaner which can help remove any information you don

  • http://www.reputationmanagementdefenders.com Guest

    I personally do not like using the term “cleaning” when it comes to reputation management. It’s very misleading. Granted there are things that can be cleaned but in doing so you bring attention to yourself and often exacerbates the problem. What most companies in this niche want you to believe is that negative remarks can and will be removed from the Internet. That is simply not true for the most part.

    Most procedures used by reputation management companies today are geared towards pushing negative content from the 1st page of a Google search to the 4th or 5 page. And this is no easy task nowadays with Google’s new algorithm built around Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI). You simply cannot buy a domain in your name anymore and expect it to take over that “keyword phrase” with LSI. This no easy task because allot of Web 2.0 properties have be brought into the mix so that all negative content is driven off the 1st pages of a Google search.

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