It's easy to lose your good name in real life through misconduct or bad behavior, but at least the fallout is generally contained within a relatively small geographical area. You can always move to a new town and start over. On the internet? Not so much. Your reach is much greater, so the potential for your reputation to be damaged is exponentially higher. Not to mention that what goes on the net stays on the net. Apart from directly putting people down or starting text fights, these are the five most likely things you may be doing that are ruining your online reputation.
If you are a business, you are probably sending too many messages to customers or potential customers, period. In addition, most of these messages are likely spammy, sales-pitch messages. If this sounds like you or your business, the best thing you can do to curb this harmful activity is to learn about permission marketing.
Posting inappropriate content
You can't delete your online activity. No matter how many times you hit the delete button, that post, picture, or comment is still there, stored forever and ever in the mystical land of the cache. If you don't know what that means, just believe me - it's all still there, and those who know how to find it can. The rule of thumb I like to use? If you wouldn't email it to your mom, don't post it anywhere online.
Not tracking yourself
Have you Googled yourself lately? You might be surprised how much comes up. Depending on how active you are online, there could be pages of results. If you are going to use online communications (and if you're not, you can go ahead and close up shop now), then you need to know what your reputation looks like online. Googling yourself is only one general way to see how your online presence is being seen by others. A much better method is to use a social media monitoring dashboard to track real-time engagement with your customers. A good dashboard will tell you what people are saying about you or your company when they say it, and give you the ability to respond right away to either thank them for positive feedback or engage them to try to fix whatever issue is giving them a negative opinion.
People's natural tendency is to be negative. It's easy to complain about things instead of being positive. You will be known by your perceived attitude, and that perception is shaped online by what you choose to put there. This does not mean that you can't post controversial things online, but the way you choose to discuss them will determine whether your readers interpret your musings as interesting or annoying. Be positive, be inquisitive, but don't be negative.
Talking only about yourself
You know that there is nothing more interesting in the world than you and what you have to say, but trust me when I say that your followers, friends, and subscribers have a different opinion of what is interesting. Social media is about engagement. Engagement is a conversation. Do you remember the last time you tried to have a conversation with someone who only talked about themselves? Those are the times when you suddenly remember that thing you had to do across town, and then politely excuse yourself. Your readers don't have to excuse themselves; they just stop reading and don't come back. If you are not capturing their attention, you are losing the game. Rest assured that your latest sale is not the most interesting thing in their list of choices of what to spend their time reading. If you get their attention first, however, they just might pay attention to your sales.