You know the old saying – “the best defense is a good offense” – well, turns out that’s true when it comes to your online reputation as well.
Hopefully, this has never happened to you, but all it takes is one unfortunate situation with a customer or one disgruntled employee to wreak havoc on your business. See, today when someone wants to check you out, they ask their friends and then turn to Google – even when their friend says you’re the best.
So what happens when they type your name into a search engine and sure enough listing number one is your website, but somewhere down around listing four or five there’s a nasty review or a blog post dedicated to your suckiness.
Pretty much anyone, for any reason, can publish indexable information about your business and, while I’m not suggesting you hide your flaws, I am suggesting you not let them define your good work.
I’ve been suggesting this very tactic since about 2006 and it’s still just as valid. When someone goes and searches for your company why not work to make the first ten or twenty listings they find real estate that you control?
And the good news is that it’s not really that hard. Sure, you have to put in a little work, but the rewards and potential risk you avert are well worth it.
Here’s the deal – Google loves social networks. They love some over others, but claiming, linking to and promoting your company social media profiles is a great start to your reputation offense.
I have a number of websites that I use for my business and also have other branded assets such as a podcast and books, but still a search on Google for the term Duct Tape Marketing turns up my company Facebook page, Twitter page, LinkedIn page, Wikipedia page, Instagram page, YouTube channel, Google+ page and even a CrunchBase profile – all on the first two pages.
Even a search on my name turns up half a dozen properties that I control, including personal profiles on many of the networks mentioned above.
When someone asks me if they really need to be on all of these networks, or if they need to guest blog and create Tumblr pages and submit their podcast to Stitchter I say, maybe you don’t need to be in all of these places to survive, but your reputation may need you to build brand assets in all of these places in order to thrive.
Again, the point is not to mask shoddy work, it’s to make sure that one bad experience or unreasonable customer doesn’t control what the world gets to see.