As you grow your online presence, it’s inevitable that along with all the clients, customers, followers, and fans who support your success and sing your praises from the rooftops… there are also a few people who, well, think you suck.
Or maybe not that bad, but they just want to complain about you. Or say something mean. Or be weird. And they will write about how they feel somewhere online.
For ladies like you and me, who grew up with “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”, it’s first of all shocking and saddening when you learn people do this in the first place.
But it can really hurt when you find out it’s about YOU.
Take if from me, from my nearly 10 years now of having an online presence. Nothing surprises me anymore. For every 100 people who are raving about my programs and what I stand for, there’s one idiot who is dissing me.
I know because:
1) My fans tell me everything. (And your best clients, customers, and friends will too.)
2) I take a few simple (yet critical) steps to be aware of what’s out there.
And nothing fazes me anymore. I have seen it all. And folks, these aren’t just critiques of my programs. I’m always open to improvement!
I’m talking about some crazy sh*t…
Like one passive-aggressive seminar attendee who—to my face—sweetly said she loved an event I hosted, and then wrote crap about it online.
But also weird creepy things, like one guy who made a sexual reference about me in his newsletter.
And—some of you may be able to relate to this—an ex-fiancé who posted a 3:00 a.m. tirade about me as a comment on my Forbes blog… and, just to make sure I knew who he was, used the handle, “Ex-beau-fiancé”. (Insert “koo-koo” sound here.)
The Internet has done something funny to people… Stuff they would never say to you in person, they somehow feel it’s okay to write online. Like it doesn’t count.
I just wanted you to know it happens to me too.
WHY they do this could be an entire article and include an interview with a psychologist. But that’s not what this article is about.
You just need to know this is going to happen, because here’s the deal:
Your being online means there are more people being aware of you and connected to you.
There is an undetermined yet undeniable percentage of the population who is crazy, mean, or crazy and mean.
So… your being online means there are more crazy, mean, or crazy and mean people being aware of you and connected to you.
And we can’t change that.
So let’s focus on what we CAN control, starting with our awareness. Though you can’t change the moronic behaviors that others choose to indulge in, you can take a few actions to make sure you are aware of your online reputation.
And, listen: The GOOD part is, this will also help you find the GOOD stuff! I’ve been brought to tears finding blog posts or videos where a woman is sharing how I’ve changed her life. And THAT reminds me, it’s all worth it. 🙂
So just be aware, and take it from there.
Here are a few steps to get you started…
1. Set Up Google Alerts
People use Google Alerts for many reasons: to keep up with a topic they’re interested in, follow a hot news story, monitor competitors, and… keep track of what’s being said about them online.
You can set up a FREE Google Alert in a matter of minutes, so that any time your name or your business’s name is mentioned anywhere on the Web, you will get an email alerting you. To set up a Google Alert, go to: www.Google.com/alerts
I suggest you get a daily alert on your name, your business name, and any of your popular programs, etc. (This is also a great way to see what your affiliates are doing … I’m doing this now with a major launch we’re about to do.) I prefer a daily digest of alerts instead of receiving them piecemeal.
2. Track Your Social Media Mentions
There are many online tools that allow you to keep track of how often you or your business is mentioned via social media. We’re talking about Tweets, Facebook shares, blog posts, comments on blog posts, and more.
Two free sites are www.SocialMention.com and www.SamePoint.com — these are search engines that let you scour a wide range of social media, like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook—even bookmarks, audios, and videos—to find out where and how you are mentioned. You can also do a filtered search for negative comments, which can be a little daunting, but is absolutely essential for doing damage control when necessary.
3. Go Google Yourself
Have you Googled yourself lately? I know you’re worried you may find stuff that, well, you may not want to. (Like that photo of you from that keg party in college? You hope that guy lost it a long time ago!)
I suggest you do this at least once a week. Search for your name, your company name, and your products and programs. See where your own sites are at, and see where you’re being mentioned elsewhere too.
Be sure to check all categories for your search: Web, news, images, videos, blogs, etc. (In Google, these are listed along the left side of the page after you enter your search.) You know where to go: www.google.com
If You’re Super Sensitive, Delegate This
Personally, I go through phases where my energy is more sensitive at some times than others. When I know I’m in that place, I make sure my team are the ones who do this for me. And if they find anything that requires legal action, or if it’s in our control to be deleted or taken down, they apprise me of the situation, and they handle it.
So that may be something you want to do for yourself. It’s all up to you. I know if I see half that stuff it will poison my day, and I don’t have the time or energy for it. I need to focus on being my best and helping the people who need me. That’s it.
What’s YOUR Experience? Other ideas? Please Share Below!
I think it’s time we start talking about this with each other. This article is just meant to be a start. Have you experienced this online in your business or personally? And if so, what have you done to be more aware? Or do you want to even be aware?© Copyright 2012 Ali Brown