Robert Greene, the author of the prominent best-selling book The 48 Laws of Power, writes about reputation as one of the cornerstones of social power: “Make your reputation unassailable. Always be alert to potential attacks and thwart them before they happen.” Greene further advocates for the Machiavellian approach of strengthening your own reputation and weakening those of others at the same time.
While some might take moral issue with purposefully manipulating online reputation for producing a falsely favorable impression, the truth of the matter is firms, restaurants, and even movies are impacted significantly as a result of their reputation. It’s no exaggeration to say that a movie or restaurant’s success hinges on how its reputation appears to the general public. As evidence of the impact of reputation, consider that some movie studios took to blaming popular movie review sites like Rotten Tomatoes for their lackluster summer sales.
At the end of the day, the message here is that reputation is important and something that you’ll want to make investments to ensure that it remains protected actively. Here are a few considerations you’ll want to make when you take to defending your reputation online.
Understand the Nature and Power of Social Media
When a video or a news story goes viral, it’s very hard to stem the tide or reframe the issue past its initial presentation – however inaccurate and biased it may be. If you look at a recent list of PR disasters like Pepsi’s distasteful and superficial commercial featuring Kylie Jenner or United Airlines’ debacle resulting from their forced ejection of David Dao, you’ll notice a pattern regarding how negative reputation unstoppably spreads. Understanding this phenomenon of how negative reputation takes off through social media is the first step to taking the necessary preventative measures in the future.
For now, let’s try to characterize the stages of how a company’s reputation might sour online concerning the exponential nature of social media in transmitting information. There is usually a period of time where the posted video goes relatively unnoticed, but the rate of discovery depends on the egregiousness of the content in the video. Consider the case where teens watched a disabled man drowning in the middle of a lake without helping him; they were subsequently brought up on charges within only just a few days of uploading the recording.
The first thing to understand about reputation on the Internet is the permanent nature of it – anything that’s posted online never goes away and is available for everyone to see. Individuals often have to deal with this issue when it comes to embarrassing videos of them caught doing stupid acts online, but the professional consequences that scandalous videos have for a business are an entirely different ball game.
Reputation for companies as we’ve touched on briefly above connects directly to that company’s profitability. Research indicates that while negative reputation lingers, the phenomenon of negative reputation initially spreading in the form of opinions changing is mediated through a user’s direct engagement methods: “However, the interactions between Twitter users such as mentions or retweets apparently change the sentiments of the users.”
It would be prudent to make a list of the prominent social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and so forth – that can potentially serve as conduits for unsavory stories or rumors surrounding your company to spread and monitor them.
Taking Preventative, Stopgap Measures
The first thing you should do once you become aware of possible and inevitable threats to your reputation that social media platforms can bring to your website is to seek out preventative measures to shut down those attacks before they become viral. To do that, you’ll want to hire a service that can stem social media complaints by identifying the problem immediately, reframing the event, and following through with a stealthy public relations campaign involving the use of undercover shills to influence public opinion.
ProfileDefenders is a comprehensive solution to solving the issue of reputation management through a multifaceted approach involving several initiatives to boost the positive perception of your business online as well as a number of innovative suppression tactics to help your business manage unfair reviews and really clean up negative publicity in general. While it is impossible to erase every last vestige of a distasteful review or documentation of your business, it is possible to significantly mitigate and minimize the impact of online reviews harmful to your reputation by making them less accessible from Google searches with the help of directed SEO tactics.