Have you ever been bored, or just plain curious, about what you can find about yourself on the Internet. So one day you finally decide to sit down at the computer and do a little search, see if anything interesting pops up. You may find awards and achievements, mentions in news articles, embarrassing videos, and social media websites, or anything else you may have ever been involved in. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I have Googled myself on multiple occasions. And, I know I am not the only person who has put my name into a Google search either.
I was talking to my dad one day about six months before my sister got married. I told him I was going to help myself with a wedding website she wanted to create through a premade web service. She made her website live before it was actually completed though and had written a really nice paragraph about me because I was made of honor. To my knowledge, my parents didn’t know or see the website yet. When I mentioned it he said that he had seen the website, but my sister didn’t know he had seen it yet. I found out that my dad actually Googles my sister and me sometimes; he likes to check up on us and see what our online reputation is. The wedding website showed up on the first page of Google when my name was typed in.
While people aren’t generally Googling a person specifically, unless it is somebody well-known, companies are Googled quite often and have to try and maintain a good online reputation. Unfortunately, only 40 percent of professionals feel that their companies are prepared to deal with a social media-based threat according to the “Data Points: Social Faux Pas” article in AdWeek. Adding to this, the majority of people who use social media are between the ages of 18 to 34; this age group is three times as likely to complain about a brand or product via social media than those between the ages of 47 to 64. Complaints of a brand or product on social media sites can be extremely damaging to a brand if the company is not prepared to deal with it. Some people believe that social media creates relationships, and while it does have the ability to do that, social media mainly just makes relationships visible for the world to see.
Some companies are trying to actively maintain their image by studying their brand’s social echo. PR Newswire coined this term in “Amplifying Your Social Echo” and defines it as a “reverberation of conversations around your brand that occur in the numerous social networks where people gather today.” Companies need to pay close attention to what is said on various social channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and blogs. It is also important to note what the social echo is from each platform because of the different type of audience profiles from each platform. It is also important to note the content quality of a website, as discussed in “Online Reputation Systems.” Understanding all of these concepts all help create and maintain a positive image for a company.
1. If you were in charge of a companies online reputation, how would you maintain a positive image online? If many people were talking negatively about your company, how would you handle that situation?
2. Have you ever posted a complaint to a company via social media? What happened?
3. Does the company you work for have a system for responding to negative social media?
4. Have you Googled yourself before and did you find anything surprising or interesting?