It has become almost commonplace to see the careers of politicians and celebrities brought down thanks to something which spread across the internet. It is now a fact of life you do not have to be famous for something like this to happen. Many people are directly affected by their online reputation. This is especially true in business relationships.
Reputation is Everything
Anyone who works for themselves or runs a small business knows that reputation can be everything when it comes to getting ahead of the competition. This is especially true for service based companies, where they absolutely must offer better service as well as maintaining a good reputation in order to stay afloat. Customers are increasingly internet savvy and well informed about the stories regarding a company, its owners and its employees.
The internet is a medium for stories regarding a single location to circulate nationwide; even around the world. This has been demonstrated time and time again. As recently as August 2012, insurance giant Progressive found itself suffering a withering attack over negative Twitter comments. In this case, a controversial insurance claim sparked thousands of negative comments to the Progressive Twitter page.
Progressive's response for each and every comment was an automated response which said:
..."his is a tragic case and our sympathies go out to Mr. Fisher and his family for the pain they've had to endure"..
It further went on to say:
…”we fully investigated this claim and relevant background, and feel we properly handled the claim within our contractual obligations”…
Although Progressive later went on to address the issue and issued an expanded official statement, the damage had been done and their online reputation still has those negative tweets associated with it.
Large companies and corporations aren't the only potential victims of a bad online reputation. In both professional and personal relationships, people can see a difference if they take the time to understand and tweak their own online reputation. We now live in a world where it's easier than ever to connect with people. They can be old high school friend, college roommates or even friends of friends.
As our social networks expand, so does the potential for Relationship Cross Over. This refers to the ways one relationship can impact another. This most commonly happens when a photograph, story or posting in a personal friendship catches the eye of someone we work with. An embarrassing photo or online argument can easily – and negatively – affect someone's professional impression of you in an instant. Fortunately, an online reputation can be fixed by companies which help reduce, repair and put right any damage incurred.
Small business owners, service oriented professionals and anyone who makes a living dealing with the public has long understood the importance of a professional reputation. It can affect everything from the kind of employee and client you attract to how far you are able to advance in your chosen field.
While this reputation has traditionally been shaped through real work interactions and accomplishments, it is now formed increasingly on the basis of your online reputation before anything else. This is why so many people obtain professional services in order to ensure their own reputation is safe.
Is your reputation everything you hope it is (or will be) in the public domain?
Mike enjoys his work as a freelance writer. He has an interest in and researches reputation management and online privacy. He works for www.Reputation.com