Not a while ago, we were closing in on a service arrangement with some rich person in the city of Kampala. We had gone through the procedures, reviewed the contract, engaged the lawyers who had given a green light for us to proceed. Somehow, my intuition (I would like to acknowledge it was the Holy Spirit) led me into running just one last check online, just to find out more about the person we were dealing with. Though he is popular among the who is who in the city, it was my first time to interact with him. I used what I had at my disposal, Google. I was shocked by what I discovered. Most (if not all) was negative. I wondered, could this person have so many enemies that have lined up a lot of negative publicity for him? How come it was not just strangers but friends, family raising complaints? Who is this person, I asked myself? Are we safe? I was totally appalled! Of course, I needed to share my info with the key decision makers who were equally as shocked as I was and decided then, that we needed to slow down.
As I write this, I realize, it may not be as much about their digital reputation than it is about their character. At the same time, you probably will agree with me when I say that many people fall, victims of digital misrepresentation, because they undermine the power of the digital era. Some people carelessly and aimlessly do things, publish posts, rant on social media or even physically in a way that jeopardizes their reputation. When it comes to the times we are living in, news travels faster across the digital spaces. Everyone is a news reporter with followers ready to spread what goes out.
Creating and managing a positive digital reputation is an ongoing process. It is equally as important for personal brands as it is to companies and organizations. For purposes of this post, I will stick to the personal/individual digital reputation. If your desire is to grow your influence today, then you can no longer disregard the importance of your digital reputation. Here are four tips that could be helpful…
Sharing is Caring…
- Live your brand – Ariho Kamara has written an entire book on this. Who is he? Find out here. Most important, find a copy of his book; Live your Brand in major bookstores and start there. You may also want to read this post about personal branding.
- Stay true to who you are. Kind of related to point number one but I feel I need to emphasize all the same. Being clear about your values and brand personality within every piece of content and communication you post online helps audiences to identify with, understand and build a connection with your brand. If you are inconsistent, contradictory or offensive, this could damage your reputation, as followers will question your brand and what it stands for, resulting in a lack of trust.
- For those whose personal brands are linked to a product or service you are offering, invest time to respond to questions, comments especially those related to something you posted. It’s not always possible to keep everyone happy. Often, unhappy clients take to social media to ‘out’ a brand and vent their frustrations. It’s how you deal with these people that shape how your potential customers/employers/business partners perceive you and affect repeat engagements. Make sure that you engage in social listening so that you can see what people are saying about your brand across relevant platforms. By responding to and engaging in conversations with all of those posting negative feedback, and helping to resolve their issues efficiently, you are ensuring damage limitation. Remember to also acknowledge positive feedback too, to create brand advocates and celebrate great reviews in a way that is visible to others.
- You may also want to do your own research on yourself via google search from time to time to know what people see when they search for you. Negative search results can jeopardize your brand’s reputation, so you if you can control how your brand is perceived on Google through a well-thought-out content marketing strategy, which is relevant to your clientele/true to your brand, you can help to shape public perception
I can guarantee that if you take only the first two points and put them into practice, you will be well on your way to building a positive digital reputation.