Introduction - What is the Digital Reputation?
One of the hot topics for individual people, brands and companies is the digital reputation. As we move around different web sites and digital environments, we leave small traces of ourselves along the way. All these traces contribute to defining the image that other users perceive of ourselves. But it’s not only what we say that contributes to shaping our identity, it’s also what other users say about us. We also have to consider that virtual communication, compared to face-to-face communication, can be more easily subject to misunderstandings, and when our words or actions have been misunderstood, it’s harder to put things right.
Digital reputation can be described as "the result of the relative proximity of three factors to one another, as follows: who you ARE, who YOU SAY you are, who PEOPLE SAY you are”.
Who you are, covers your identity in the real life, or your products and services if you run a business, the way you operate.
Who you say you are corresponds to the image you wish to display to the public. In the case of a company, it is both the responsibility of the company itself and of its communication and PR agencies, whose number and popularity is increasing according to the growing importance of creating and defending the digital reputation.
Who people say you are corresponds to the way other people or the company’s stakeholders (consumers, clients, partners, employees, competition, and shareholders) describe you or your business. All the traces we leave on the web contribute to defining the image that other users perceive of ourselves. But it’s not only what we say that contributes to shaping our identity, it’s also what other users say about us. We also have to consider that virtual communication, compared to face-to-face communication, can be more easily subject to misunderstandings, and when our words or actions have been misunderstood, it’s harder to put things right.
Managing your reputation, or the reputation of your company, means dealing with all these dimensions.
Importance of a strong Digital Reputation
Having a strong digital reputation will help you stand out from the crowd when you apply for jobs, or trying to build a positive profile for your company. It's important to be proactive in cultivating your digital reputation to work for you, instead of against you.
Importance of a strong Digital Reputation for an individual
An online reputation research commissioned by Microsoft, and conducted by Cross-Tab between December 10 and 23, 2009, in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, shows that 70% of recruiters would reject candidates based on their online footprint. Some of the reasons mentioned for rejections were the detection of online content connecting the candidates to: alcohol & drugs, bad communication skills and discriminatory content.
- Concerns about the candidate’s lifestyle
- Inappropriate comments and text written by the candidate -Unsuitable photos, videos, and information
- Inappropriate comments or text written by friends and relatives
- Comments criticizing previous employers, co-workers, or clients
- Inappropriate comments or text written by colleagues or work acquaintances
- Membership in certain groups and networks
- Discovered that information the candidate shared was false -Poor communication skills displayed online
- Concern about the candidate’s financial background
The good news for applicants is that creating a strong, positive personal brand online can have a positive impact on their applications. In the United States, 86% of human resources professionals surveyed stated that a positive online reputation influences the candidate’s application to some extent; almost half stated that it does so to a great extent. At least two thirds of those surveyed in the U.K. and Germany stated that it influenced an application to some extent. Only 5% of French recruiters and HR professionals surveyed indicated that a positive online reputation affects a candidate’s application to a great extent.
Importance of a strong Digital Reputation for a company
Your company's reputation is its most important asset. If it's tarnished, you can lose customers, sales, employees and partners.
That's not exactly breaking news, of course, but it's worth repeating. So many businesses don't pay full attention to their online reputation—how good (or bad) they look in Google searches.
The key to protecting your brand, according to online reputation management experts, is to be proactive, optimize your content appropriately, monitor your search results regularly, be ready to spring into action if something negative shows up and, above all, be realistic about the outcome of your efforts.
The following online reputation management statistics reinforce the importance of controlling, and improving, your company's digital image:
- 65% of Internet users see online search as the most trusted source of information about people and companies.
- 79% of consumers place equal weight on both online reviews and personal recommendations
- 85% of consumers use the Internet for research before making a purchasing decision
- 63% of consumers need to hear something at least three times before they believe it
Your reputation as a digital professional is your greatest asset. Sadly, many do not realize that social networking profiles are public spaces and your digital footprints are for anyone to see. The truth is, your digital reputation is your real world reputation. Protect it, nurture it and avoid missteps which can potentially ruin it.
There’s far too much negativity in the world, and smart businesses and professionals want to keep themselves as far away from negative attitudes and mindsets as possible. This leads us to the paths for your own success in cultivating the right kind of reputation for yourself.