All day long, my friends have posted Facebook status updates like this, "Go to Google. Click on Images. Type 'completely wrong' and see what images appear." What shows up is a collection of photos of Mitt Romney.*
The inbound marketer in me wondered how this could happen. How could the phrase "completely wrong" be associated with so many images? Did someone take the time to upload photos with the tag, "completely wrong"? I started clicking on the images and quickly got to the cause of Mitt's problem. Apparently, his unpopular comment from last week was the source of quite a bit of criticism, and in a follow up interview, he was quoted as saying his previous remarks were "completely wrong."
Since all the major media outlets have picked up on the story of the "completely wrong" comment, what appears on Google Images when one types in the phrase is a page full of Romney photos. This problem is perpetuated as more news outlets (and bloggers) report on the story... and as more people search for the term. For more details on how this works, read this Slate article.
A Facebook friend commented on my personal page telling me that searching "completely failed presidency" also delivers some interesting results. Hey... we're equal opportunity reporters here!
Most of us will never get the media attention of a presidential candidate, and we will probably never have a mess of this proportion to clean up. But, say you are on the receiving end of negative comments on the internet... what do you do, and is there a way to minimize the impact of "not so cheery" things said about you on the internet?
Alina Diaz, of The Center for Sales Strategy, recently wrote about reputation management and the importance of publishing positive content about your organization. Some additional things that will help you manage your online reputation include:
- Setting up Google Alerts so you can monitor instances when your company name, the names of key employees, and products or services you offer are written about.
- Creating your own content, and keeping your website content fresh via business blogging.
- Asking customers to leave feedback or reviews on industry-specific review sites. And, if you find negative reviews, responding in a positive, customer-focused manner.
- Making sure your website and blog posts are optimized so people searching for positive information about you, or the services you provide, can find it easily.
- Monitoring your social media accounts, responding to comments (both positive and negative) about you or your organization. (Tip: on Twitter, you might use a tool such as HootSuite or TweetDeck and set up searches for key players and product-related phrases.)
- Cleaning up or removing negative content. This is easily done if you "own" the content. If you are bashed online by someone else, check it out. Is the feedback legitimate? If so, respond appropriately. If it is spiteful, work through proper channels to have the content removed, or tactfully respond so your perspective is also on record. (You need to be careful how you do this so you are sincere and don't come across as whiny.)
- Constantly monitoring your Google Images for inaccurate or deceptive images, and trying to have them removed as part of being proactive with your reputation management strategy.
Have you ever found yourself in this situation? How did you respond? What reputation management tools are you using?
Kim Peek is the Blog Boss at The Center for Sales Strategy.
*Please note, we are not taking sides, and this is not a political post. The subject of this post is "reputation management," in response to a flurry of activity on social media.