Social Media for Baby Boomers: Easy Steps to Enhance Your Online Reputation (Part 4)
February 20, 2012
Part 4: Mitigating Negative Information
By Hope Wilson, CPSM
Fortunately, we found no negative information about my client on the Internet. But what if you do have something negative show up? If this happens to you, it’s important to take immediate action so that you minimize the impact it has on your reputation.
Another contact of mine encountered this problem when he decided to run for public office. An article was written about him in the local newspaper, and a copy of it was displayed online. Someone who disliked him wrote an angry response to the article; it was filled with twisted truths and even blatant lies about the candidate. Understandably, the candidate was a bit confused about how to mitigate this response.
The candidate thought he would also post a comment to the article, in which he clarified facts. Instead of this approach, I encouraged him to ask others who were knowledgeable about the situation to clarify facts on his behalf. Third party support—especially when it comes from multiple individuals—has more credibility than a direct response from the person being attacked. Furthermore, by refusing to respond to these attacks in a direct manner, he demonstrates that he’s above petty accusations.
Sometimes, negative information is not so easy to address. For example, if someone sues you, the legal documents may be published online as public record. In this situation, the key is to maximize the positive things that are published about you online. You can use personal websites, blogs, testimonial pages, social media profiles, and more—coupled with search engine optimization tools—to “push” negative information off the first few pages of Internet search results. So, when someone searches the Internet for information about you, only positive information shows up in the first few pages. (The negative information will still be there, but it will be on later pages, which people are less likely to read.)
There are companies that specialize in doing this, but many come with a hefty fee. Fortunately, you can take steps yourself to develop a positive online reputation. In the next several blogs, I’ll address key venues that you can use for accomplishing this.
Up Next: Using LinkedIn
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