Your online reputation isn’t just about numbers or statistics or a big number like hits on your website. Your online reputation includes everything that people see when they visit your site, or send an email, or comment on social media, how you treat them, the tone of your voice, the content you choose to share, how you respond to their comments, how you reply to their email, the length of time you respond, etc.
Over 20 years ago, I was in a board meeting, and the CEO commented, “Your online reputation is how you see yourself.” He was right; he was right.
It’s as much your business as it is theirs, and it’s as much about what you think people think of you as what they think of you.
The next time you’re in a board meeting and somebody makes a mistake and everybody groans, think about it for a second. When you go to your car dealership, and you’re angry, the salesperson comes out and says, “Hey buddy, what’s wrong?”
Your reputation is on the line. They’re going to take you out in the parking lot, and you may not be able to get another car.
Be careful about how you speak to people, be careful about how you comment on other people’s stuff, be careful about how you treat people, be careful about your tone, think before you speak, act before you post, and watch what you post on social media.
You have to be careful how you write, how you phrase things, how you phrase your grammar, how you write your content, how you write your headers, and how you share your content.
Your online reputation is important, but can you control it?
You can’t control others’ thoughts and opinions, but you can control how you respond to others. You can control your tone, your wording, your organization, your organization’s tone, your
organization’s vocabulary, your organization’s colors, the grammar you use, the organization’s style, how you write your content, how you direct people to your content, and how you interact with others.
People will not give you a second chance if they feel they don’t like your tone, grammar, etc. Be professional in your tone, be professional in your tone, and be professional in your grammar and style.
If you have a varied portfolio of social media posts or blog posts and articles with different tones, you will have a different online reputation. The tone is important.
The spelling and grammar are important. There’s a difference between your tone and your language.
For example, in one of my articles, I shared a story about a woman that was angry that her bike chain broke while she was on the Jet Ski.
In that particular article, I didn’t spell very well, I made up some punctuation, I used a lot of exclamation points, I used a lot of u’s in the middle of sentences, I had terrible grammar, I didn’t know how to use a dash, I used a lot of words that were not proper English, and I didn’t use proper English at all.
It was a total train wreck of an article.
Here’s the problem: while over 600 words, I had what some would call a brash tone, which made it very harsh. It was like I was looking down on this woman for breaking her chain.
In the other article I wrote, I was more friendly, I was more personable, I had proper language, I used proper grammar, I was more polished in my language, I was more precise in my sentence structure, and I was more professional.
I noticed a difference in my tone. My tone was completely different.
The tone has a lot to do with perception, and the tone can make or break your reputation online.
I have a ton of writers on my team that critique my content, and they are looking for ways to improve it. They have their own style, tone, and ideas, but I have to be careful of how I word things, my style of grammar, tone, and everything.
So keep your content varied, keep your tone varied, keep your grammar varied, keep your style varied.
Beware of confusing your audience.
Be careful with the way you direct people to your content.
Do not confuse your audience by spelling words backward, or using improper grammar, or using mixed fonts, or using multiple fonts, or using colors, or using a different color scheme, or using a different font, or using different font size, or using different layouts, or using different post formats.
Use one style, one look, one style, one unique look, and keep it consistent. Don’t confuse your readers.
I’m not saying “you” every other word, but the word “I” is significant. People are not following your social media page because they think you are so awesome.
They follow it because they see their friends following it, and they want to be like their friends, so they follow it.
So if you tell your audience to follow you, you have to follow back, even if it’s just one or two people. That’s what it takes to get followers.
It takes a strong personality, and it takes a little bit of work, and it takes a little bit of personality to get your audience to follow you back.
You’re not famous. You’re not the person on the Forbes list.
Your fans will follow you if you are kind to them, if you are fun, and if you are funny, but that doesn’t mean that you have to tell them you are hilarious every single post. If you’re funny and they like you, they’ll follow you.
If you’re funnier and you’re funnier than the rest of the comedy page, they will follow you. If you’re funnier than the rest of the news page, they will follow you.
But if you don’t add a dash in the middle of your “I,” then it looks like you are bragging, or if you use a dollar sign in the middle of your “I,” then you’re bragging. That doesn’t look very friendly.
So learn to be professional and succinct, and then you can brag, and the people that love you will follow you.
Dealing with negative critics
When you get negative criticism, it is important to remember that most people will be pleased to give you constructive criticism. If you can be grateful for that feedback, that is an incredible tool.
It takes a lot of practice and time to learn to listen to the critiques and accept them graciously. It’s important to remember, the more, the better.