You may have heard that “any news is good news.” That proverb or phrase, in any of its incarnations, could be said to be the biggest myth in public relations: indeed, a bad reputation can kill your business. Having the reputation of being an unethical cad may work in certain circles, such as that of Hollywood starlets and “bad boys,” but in business, reputation is everything and ethics are at its core. That’s thanks to the internet.
As a BBC News article stated, “In the brave new world of the internet, where every comment, photo, and errant tweet can follow you indefinitely, things have a nasty habit of popping up again.” Unethical behavior has a nasty habit of popping up again and biting you in the backside.
What Not to Do
When it comes to managing ethics, there are some important things you should know to not do. Here are four of the biggest wrongs in the world of ethics and managing online reputation:
- Don’t lie to cover up a mistake. The truth will likely get out at some point, anyway.
- Don’t pretend to be ethical, while having a secret double-standard.
- Don’t assume that a good reputation will “speak for itself.”
- Don’t make up stories or post fake reviews.
What to Do
Instead of the above, what can you do, in regards to ethics and reputation management?
- Do practice transparency. If you make a mistake, admit it, and fix it. Righting your own wrongs displays your level of ethics.
- Do learn from mistakes of others, such as the VW emissions lie that cost them billions. Some experiences are best left to others!
- Do stand by your own people when mistakes are made. While, of course, some offenses are fireable, if you can salvage a situation and an employee you will demonstrate the kind of loyalty that people admire in the highly ethical.
- Do publish real information actively. It is not enough to be ethical, people also have to hear about it. “No reputation” is virtually equivalent to a bad one.
Word-of-mouth still drives business, but in the digital era, the internet is pivotal in reputation. The internet has brought consumers so many more choices, and with that choice comes access to real-time data about strengths and weaknesses in any business or industry. That does not necessarily mean you need a massive makeover, you just need to capitalize on existing strengths and continually work to improve in areas of weakness. You also need to ensure that ethics is not one of your weak areas!
Then it is just a matter of effective online reputation management.
Professional Online Reputation Management
Even if you work to be ethical and improve, the internet is full of trolls, libel, and slander.
With professional online reputation management services, you can prepare, monitor and mitigate.
- Prepare—By having an action plan ready to go in the event of an online incident.
- Monitor—Understand the threats that are out there, as simple as negative reviews and as complex as public opinion, and respond as such threats arise so that threats to reputation stay contained.
- Mitigate—Extinguishing a camp fire is easier than a forest fire, but both are possible. If you have been on top of the prepare and monitor steps, you may have to regularly mitigate some campfires. Occasionally, and particularly if you have not prepared, you could be in the face of a forest fire. Either way, reputation management services can help you mitigate threats.
You take care of maintaining your ethics and we can help you maintain your reputation!