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Phoenix Forward

How to trash your online reputation

Trashing your online reputation.

“It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but you can lose it in a minute,” said the great American humorist Will Rogers in a moment of wisdom. The same is certainly true of your reputation online, whether it’s your personal or business identity, or your company’s image. Here, some examples of what not to do online:

Bad-mouth people.

Bad-mouth people.

“One of the worst things anyone can do online is bad-mouth people,” says Eugene Kaufman, MBA, area chair in the MBA program at the University of Phoenix Las Vegas Campus. Kaufman shares an anecdote about a former co-worker who made insulting remarks about a client on his public Facebook® page. The client saw the remarks, printed them out and took them to a deal negotiation the next day. The offending co-worker’s boss immediately fired him.

Misunderstand your market.

Misunderstand your market.

The Internet can be a great marketing tool, but it can hurt your reputation if you don’t understand its reach, says Scott Goldberg, who teaches marketing courses in the University of Phoenix MBA program. “I once worked for a food manufacturer that wanted to use a coupon-and-survey offer to gather marketing data,” he says. “The company only sold their products in select geographic markets, so we placed the offer on their company website. But someone shared the offer in a couponing chat room, which resulted in thousands of requests for the offer from people who were outside the market. We had to retract the offer, which was very embarrassing for the company.”

Get too personal.

Get too personal.

Potential employers — past, present and future — can see anything you share on your Facebook or Twitter® page, according to Cliff Lavin, a marketing expert and instructor in the University of Phoenix MBA program. “These days we see a lot of young people posting pictures on Facebook and Twitter of their wild college partying, and then that comes back to haunt them when they try to get a job after graduation,” he says.

Pretend that nobody is listening.

Pretend that nobody is listening.

Thinking about trashing an employer or company in an online forum? Think again. “Most large companies employ Internet listening services, which monitor everything being said online about them in real time,” Lavin explains. “Companies use these services to monitor their own employees’ behavior, too, so plan accordingly.”

 

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