How to Scrub Your Online Reputation, Without Looking Like a Jerk

In the early days of your brand or business, there will be success and there will be failures. Part of establishing yourself as a marketable entity is going through the gauntlet of public opinion. It must be something instinctive in people; there seems to be a lot of people who delight in taking shots at brands and businesses just finding their feet. Maybe it’s a sense that these beginners haven’t earned their stripes yet, or that they should be tested in order to prove their mettle. Whatever the case, if you are getting to your feet as a market entity in the public eye, you’re going to have your haters. And all of the negative attention won’t (probably) be unwarranted.

After all, beginners make mistakes. With so many different business options, your enterprise could be anything at all. Every industry and business model has its potential problems, and those new to the field are the most likely to commit them. In doing so you’ll earn your detractors, the most noticeable of whom will make themselves highly visible on the internet, through bad reviews, bashing you on forums and comment sections, and in the media outlets that relate to your field.

So what are we to do about the bad press when it happens? There are basically three options: erase it on the sly, keep calm and carry on, and jump into the fray with guns blazing.

  • Erase on the Sly. Brand Reputation Management is a field increasingly preoccupied with erasing bad press and reviews from the internet. Of course, there is a certain level of exposure which can’t be undone. But for small or regional businesses/personalities, it’s easier to do. Various companies can accomplish this, and can also help you manage your social media and basic web marketing before things go wrong. Of course, if it’s obvious that you are putting up fake reviews and paying to erase the bad ones, you’ll look like a jerk. Professional brand management companies can perform certain actions with discretion, but this shouldn’t be considered a replacement from doing a good job in the first place.
  • Keep Calm and Carry On. While this will be difficult for some, sometimes the best thing to do in the face of negative press is to just keep doing your job and doing it the best you can. Eventually your good work will translate to the public, and you’ll be known more for your reliability and tenacity than for a temporary rash of negative opinion.
  • Jump Into the Fray With Guns Blazing. This last option is for those for whom the fight or flight question is an aggressive compulsion. Some people do this well, clearing up internet misunderstandings and putting trolls in their places like there’s no tomorrow. You’ve got to be quick on your feet and righteous in your intent to really do this well, but sometimes being fearsome in your vengeance and impressive in your performance can be enough to silence the haters.
About Marcus Anderson

AdPulp's resident rainmaker.