5 Ways to Ruin Your Reputation Online (and How to Avoid Them)

June 28, 2021
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Society has an obsession with social media. That’s no secret. The mindless scroll is fast-paced and all-consuming. And now that social media has emerged as the leading digital marketing strategy, we expect more from brands and influencers these days, which is why a single social media post has the power to make or destroy your reputation. 

Social media has changed the game as a way to instantaneously communicate globally and has given brands a direct line of communication with consumers to build trust and connect in real-time. However, it’s an illusion that what you sell is more important than what you say. It’s simply not true. What you say is more important than what you sell. 

With the expectation that brands stand for something more these days, it can be tricky navigating the murky waters of reputation. As a brand, you know your consumers want honesty and transparency, but taking that approach isn’t as easy as it sounds. As well-intentioned as some content might be, there is a fine line between being truly genuine or coming across as doing something for a quick buck. Which is why some brands and influencers find themselves in hot water. 

It used to be that a brand could be brought into disrepair by unsatisfied customers or angry clients, but these days it’s more likely that you’ll make a blunder that’ll cost you big time in the consumer trust department. 

With that being said, read on to discover the five ways you can ruin your reputation online, and what steps you can take to ensure your reputation stays intact.

Don’t Drink and Tweet 

Repeat after me: Do not use social media after a few vinos! Not only are you prone to spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, but your moral compass may be slightly off-kilter. Every single thing you say, post or tweet, is public relations. It doesn’t matter how incredible your product is, or how great your social ads are performing, all of your hard work can become undone with an alcohol-fueled post. 

Beware the Tokenistic Trap 

There is an invisible line when it comes to being genuine versus coming across as tokenistic. There is a lot more pressure on brands to use their voice and power for causes that have large social impact, and with that comes the risk that you’ll align your brand to a cause that doesn’t truly reflect your brand’s values. Embrace authenticity and truly commit to the causes that set your heart on fire. You’ll have much more impact that way. 

Dodge the Delete Button 

Ignoring customer complaints is a massive no-no. Deleting comments and blocking genuine customer irks or complaints is not a smart PR move. You cannot control the narrative when it comes to customer feedback, but what you CAN control is how you manage this. Respond quickly, own up to your errors, and remain professional at all times. Remember, no response IS a response, and no one likes to be ignored, especially when they have a legitimate question or genuine complaint. 

Two-Faces Isn’t Cute 

One of the quickest ways to destroy your reputation is by manipulating your online community into thinking you’re an advocate for a certain lifestyle, but then contradicting that lifestyle in real life. Be authentically yourself, and you can’t go wrong. 

Avoid Trash-Talking 

The entire point of having a social media presence is to connect and build trust with your audience. So if you bad-mouth a past client or customer online, not only does that send the signal that you’re unprofessional, but it also screams disrespect. Avoid the trash-talk and save your reputation from taking a hit.

About the Author: With 15 years of experience in PR, Kat Orchard is an Aussie publicist by trade, and owns a creative communications agency, KK&O, and online business, Just Another Girl. After working with medium to large-sized businesses across a myriad of communications projects within her agency, Kat noticed a gap for those who have side hustles or are a small business that cannot yet afford the cost of an agency. And so Just Another Girl was born. Kat is also a loving mother to her three-year-old daughter, Poppy. 

About Just Another Girl: Lovingly referred to as JAG, Kat funnels her experience and knowledge, coupled with practical tips into her raw, and at times sarcastic, blog. She specializes in helping female business owners supercharge their words and electrify their PR by offering practical tips and tricks.

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