If you have been the victim of an online smear campaign or had personal information leaked to the public, you may be wondering how to repair your online reputation. Fortunately, it is possible to repair a damaged online reputation – but the strategies may vary depending on whether you are looking to repair your personal reputation or business’s reputation.
For individuals, we recommend taking the following steps to repair your online reputation:
- Apologize for inappropriate behavior (if necessary),
- Actively monitor yourself on Google for mentions,
- Create constructive online content and bolster your social media profiles,
- Eliminate ongoing digital threats (ex. damaging content and fake profiles) to your reputation, and
- Contact a brand reputation or internet defamation attorney.
For businesses, effective strategies to repair a damaged online reputation include:
- Claim all major online business profiles and respond to reviews,
- Utilize search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to improve search engine result visibility,
- Encourage positive reviews from customers and clients,
- Create targeted and branded content that amplifies your business’s message, and
- Work with a brand reputation or internet defamation attorney.
At Minc Law, our experienced internet defamation attorneys help individuals and businesses protect, defend, and improve their online reputations. And if your reputation has been compromised, we offer Digital Risk Protection monitoring services to proactively mitigate threats against your digital assets and online brand.
In this article, we will explain how to repair a damaged online reputation and the costs involved.
Why It is Important to Repair Your Online Reputation
First and foremost, it is important to understand what online reputation is. Simply put, your online reputation is how others view you, your business, your products, or your services on digital platforms.
In today’s digital world, a positive online reputation is important for businesses and individuals alike. Having a positive internet reputation is one of the most powerful marketing tools available – whether you are looking to attract customers to your business or boost your personal brand. In fact, up to 25% of a company’s market value is derived from its reputation. Naturally, this includes one’s online reputation.
Why Should You Be Concerned About Repairing Your Online Reputation?
Your online reputation matters. Your digital reputation is crucial whether you run a business with online reviews or are looking for a new job. According to a Bright Local consumer review survey, 93% of customers research online reviews before purchasing products or services from a company.
Furthermore, only 48% of customers would consider engaging a business with fewer than four stars. And roughly 98% of employers admit to researching their job applicants’ online presence before hiring.
In a nutshell, the importance of online reviews cannot be stressed enough. In today’s digital age, a negative review can go viral in minutes and do significant damage to your online reputation – which can lead to a loss in business, jobs, and more.
What Exactly is a Damaged Online Reputation?
The term “damaged online reputation” can mean different things to different people. What one person or business views as damaging may be inconsequential to another. It is all about perspective.
However, there are more generalized ways of defining a damaged online reputation. By and large, one’s online reputation is damaged if others find unflattering, negative, or defamatory content when searching the internet for that individual or business. The negative content discovered could be anything from bad reviews to negative news articles to defamatory social media posts.
And these examples are just the tip of the iceberg.
What Can Happen Due to a Damaged Online Reputation?
The consequences of a bad online reputation range from inconvenient to life-altering (and everything in between). Some common consequences you may face if you are suffering from a damaged online reputation include:
- Loss of business revenge or sales,
- Competitors poaching loyal customers,
- Trouble hiring and retaining talented employees,
- Loss of one’s job or inability to maintain employment,
- Mental anguish and other physical side effects.
Loss of Business Revenue or Sales
If a business has a damaged online reputation, the number one consequence is loss of business revenue and sales. If your business has several negative online reviews online, you may be losing out on sales which can lead to a loss in revenue. Even as little as one negative review has the potential to harm your business.
Moreover, businesses can even be impacted by the online reputation of their CEO. The reputation of a CEO can influence everything from stock purchases to overall trust in an organization.
Competitors Stealing Your Loyal Customers
If your business receives too many negative reviews this could result in your loyal customer base turning to your competitors.
Business owners are well aware of the competitive nature of the industry, and if your business has a less-than-stellar corporate reputation, it can result in an increase in your competitors’ business!
Trouble Hiring & Retaining Employees
A bad online reputation may not only impact sales but can also damage your reputation as an employer.
According to a 2017 CareerBuilder press release, 71% of the workforce will not apply to businesses with negative press. And an inability to attract and retain high-quality employees can have drastic repercussions for a business like negative reviews, increased hiring costs, and loss of business.
Loss of Job or Inability to Secure Employment
Online reputations are not only significant for businesses, your personal reputation matters as well. If you suffer from a negative online reputation, you could potentially lose your job or find it challenging to land a new job.
Employers admit to researching job candidates online, so negative or inappropriate social media content or search results can cause you to get passed over for new employment opportunities. To guard against this, it is wise to review your search results and social media content for anything that could be misconstrued or perceived as inappropriate.
Mental Anguish & Stress
Finally, negative online reputations can wreak havoc on your mental state. It can be stressful and even traumatizing to deal with doxxing, sextortion, defamation, and other reputation-damaging online activity.
At Minc Law, we see the mental anguish experienced by individuals that is caused by harmful internet content on a daily basis. The stress associated with a negative online reputation can lead to high blood pressure, insomnia, and other physical side effects of mental distress.
Can You Recover From a Bad Reputation?
While negative online content can be stressful and overwhelming, it does not have to be a death sentence for your reputation. With a little patience and the right strategy, you can repair a damaged online reputation and get your life (or your business) back on track.
How to Start Repairing Your Damaged Online Reputation
Whether you are suffering from a lack of an online presence or struggling with a damaged reputation, there are ways you can start repairing it.
Because the strategies for repairing a damaged reputation differ depending on whether you are restoring your personal reputation or a business’s, we will take a look at the process from two different perspectives.
Steps Individuals Can Take to Repair a Damaged Online Reputation
Apologize (If Necessary)
If your reputation has been damaged by a mistake that you made personally, do not be afraid to apologize. We all make mistakes, and when we do, it is important to take responsibility for our actions. Do not fall prey to the idea that apologizing is a sign of weakness – sometimes owning up to our mistakes is the single best thing we can do.
Of course, this step does not apply if someone else’s actions are destroying your reputation through no fault of your own.
Monitor Yourself on Google
Take the time to search for your name on Google and Bing. Before you can fix a reputation, you need to know what is already out there. We recommend creating a Google Alert for your name so that you can keep up with what is being said about you online. This is often the first step toward fixing a damaged reputation – monitoring your existing online presence.
For more information on ways to monitor your online reputation, check out our article, ‘5 Things You Can Do Today to Monitor Your Online Reputation‘.
Create More Constructive Personal Content
If your online presence is lacking or you are trying to suppress something unflattering, your best option is to create content that represents the image you wish to convey.
For instance, a personal blog or Youtube channel can be used to share constructive, positive content that highlights your assets. You can also update your social media profiles and share content across your various digital channels to create a consistent image.
Eliminate Digital Threats to Your Reputation
Scan your social media for inappropriate photos, posts, or comments and remove them. You want to maintain a positive online presence so remove anything that could be considered improper or controversial. This is particularly important if you are looking for a new job.
For more information about protecting your online presence while job hunting, check out our article explaining ‘Job Hunting & Your Online Presence‘.
Contact a Brand Lawyer or an Internet Defamation Attorney
If you are having trouble removing unwanted or negative content online, contact an internet defamation attorney, like Minc Law, who can help you remove bad content from the internet. An internet defamation attorney can determine what options you have for removal and take action on your behalf.
Steps Businesses Can Take to Repair a Damaged Online Reputation
Claim Your Business’ Profiles and Respond to Reviews
First, claim any business profiles, like Google and Yelp, so that you can manage and reply to reviews. A business Google listing is often the first thing someone sees when they search for your business. You should treat your Google listing as a digital business card. Keep it updated and respond to reviews, even the bad ones.
However, if you are a medical or legal professional bound by ethical or confidentiality obligations, we generally recommend against responding to online reviews.
For further reading on the matter, we recommend checking out our comprehensive resource by paralegal Melanie Hughes explaining ‘How to Respond to Bad Reviews‘.
Utilize Search Engine Optimization Techniques & Strategies
Implement search engine optimization (SEO) or hire an online reputation management company to help you. SEO can help your business rank higher in search results for certain keywords and phrases related to your business.
For example, if you own a bakery and someone goes to Google.com and types in “bakeries” you would want your business to rank above all other bakeries in their search results (that way potential customers see you first). With a sound SEO strategy, you can ensure customers find you first, for the terms you want to be associated with your business.
Encourage Positive Reviews
One of the key steps a business can take to repair a damaged business reputation is to encourage past and current customers to leave positive reviews. Positive reviews can increase business and also bury any negative or unwanted reviews.
Make it easy for customers to leave an online review. To do this, send out an email thanking them for their business and include a link for them to leave a review. Or, you can hand out business cards that include a link to leave a review. Either way, you are encouraging customers to leave a review with nearly every interaction.
Create Targeted & Branded Content
In addition to listing your business on Google and Yelp, you should consider creating business profiles on different platforms like Facebook and Youtube. These platforms have billions of users around the world so establishing a presence on them increases your visibility and could potentially open your business up to new customers.
Maintaining active social media profiles, creating posts about your business, sharing articles that discuss your industry, and producing content, like videos, can help put your business in a favorable position (and encourage people to do business with you).
Contact a Brand Lawyer or Internet Defamation Attorney
If your business is having trouble removing negative or defamatory reviews or other unwanted online content, consult with a brand reputation or Internet defamation attorney, like Minc Law, to discuss your options. An internet defamation attorney can determine what options you have for removal and take action on your behalf.
To learn more ways an attorney can help you maintain your online reputation, read our article, Hire an Attorney as Your Online Reputation Expert.
How Long Can it Take to Repair Your Online Reputation?
According to Warren Buffet, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” Fortunately, it will not take you 20 years to restore your good name once your online reputation has been damaged.
The time it takes to repair your reputation will depend on which steps you take. For instance, it can take 6 to 12 months to see the results of SEO strategies. If you are trying to repair negative reviews, you see changes in a few weeks or months.
Overall, repairing a bad online reputation is not going to happen overnight. It will take time and dedication, but it is possible to see changes if you stick with it.
What is the First Thing You Do When You Want to Repair Your Online Reputation?
The first step in any online reputation repair strategy is to track and monitor what is being posted online and where it is being posted. This can be done with Google alerts or by manually searching for yourself or your business.
You can also track your online presence by hiring an online reputation management service or company, or subscribing to an online monitoring service. Once you identify what is being posted online you can take steps to start repairing any harmful content.
At Minc Law, we provide a digital risk protection service for individuals that want to actively monitor their online reputation for digital threats and eliminate them as they appear.
When to Invest in Online Reputation Management to Repair Your Online Reputation
Online reputation management (ORM) is a worthwhile investment for any business or individual – even if your online reputation is generally positive. In addition to helping you repair any damage to your reputation, it can be a great marketing tool.
But if you are facing a barrage of negative and damaging content, you should consider hiring a professional to fix your reputation.
Whether you are a business owner intent on bringing more customers in the door or want to strengthen your personal reputation ahead of a career change, ORM provides the tools you need to cultivate a positive reputation.
If you are unsure how to start repairing your online reputation, it is worth talking to an online reputation company that can help you put a plan in place to gain more positive reviews, remove unwanted content, or create brand-centric content.
Why Should You Try to Rebuild a Damaged Online Reputation?
There are many reasons why you should try to rebuild a damaged online reputation. Your online reputation affects many things, including how people perceive you or your business. And people’s perception of you can affect your personal life, career, and financial success.
Potential employers may look at your Facebook or other social media profiles before they hire you. Even potential dates may Google you before agreeing to go out.
For businesses, your online reputation can contribute directly to your success. Prospective customers will look at your business’s reviews before they make a purchasing decision. Potential employees will search your business online to see what kind of reputation you have as an employer. And if customers or job candidates find negative online content, they could decide not to work with you – hurting your bottom line.
How Much Will it Cost to Repair Your Damaged Online Reputation?
Hiring a professional to repair your damaged reputation is an investment. However, the cost of online reputation management services and repairing a negative online reputation will depend on the type of service you are paying for. Pricing models can range from a one-time flat fee to monthly, ongoing subscriptions.
At Minc Law, for example, we charge a flat fee of $2,500 to remove a damaging post from popular cheater websites, shaming websites, and scam sites. Subscription ORM services, on the other hand, can cost anywhere from $500 per month to $50,000 per month.
For more pricing information, check out our page explaining the Cost of Minc Law’s Services.
Services Online Reputation Management Provides
Whether you are starting a new business or looking for a new job, your online reputation is crucial. With ORM services like SEO, content creation, and review management you can take control of your online presence and actively create the image you wish to convey.
While there are numerous benefits of online reputation management, the primary goal of ORM services is to control what others see when they search for you (or your business) online.
For businesses, ORM tactics might include monitoring and responding to review and curating brand-centric social media content. For individuals, ORM might entail switching social media accounts to private so that future employers cannot see your personal content.
Either way, an effective ORM strategy can help you eliminate digital threats, remove unwanted content, and respond to bad reviews. With online reputation management, you can take full control of your online image and reputation.
What Does Online Reputation Management Include?
Online reputation management involves an array of marketing, public relations, SEO, and legal strategies designed to repair and strengthen your online image. While ORM services will differ based on your specific needs, services often include:
- Monitoring the internet for name and business mentions,
- Encouraging and responding to online reviews,
- Removal or suppression of damaging online content,
- Cultivation of a positive social media presence.
What Services For Online Reputation Management Should You Consider?
Online reputation management tools and strategies that you will need depend on you or your business’s specific needs and goals. For instance, if your business is receiving consistent negative reviews, your primary goal might be soliciting and promoting positive reviews to suppress the negative ones.
Alternatively, if you are dealing with defamatory content, you might need content removal services. If you have already unsuccessfully attempted to remove unwanted content from the internet, you might need content suppression services.
In a nutshell, the ORM services you need will vary based on the circumstances you are facing. One way to get clear on which services will work best for you is to consult with an online reputation company or law firm. They can help you determine which services are right for you.
What Can Services for Online Reputation Management Do to Protect Your Reputation?
Effective ORM services can help you identify and repair flaws or gaps in your digital footprint. And once you start implementing ORM strategies, you can even protect your online reputation against future threats – setting you up for long-term success.
By proactively monitoring your online reputation, you can avoid any potential long-term damage that could hurt your business or personal brand (saving you money in the long run).
Work With Us to Monitor & Repair Your Online Reputation
At Minc Law, we have extensive experience helping both individuals and businesses bolster and repair damaged online reputations. We also provide digital risk protection services for concerned parties who want to proactively monitor and identify digital threats against their reputations in real time.
“Fast. Legit. Can’t thank Melanie enough for this service. Feel like I have my life back again. Do not hesitate if you’re thinking of using them.”
Al, Aug 17, 2021
If you or your business is facing a damaged online reputation and you want to explore reputation repair strategies, reach out to us by filling out our contact form, speaking with a Chat representative, or calling 216-373-7706.