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Are You Killing Your Online Reputation Without Knowing It?

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by David Garland in David's Blog

Are You Killing Your Online Reputation Without Knowing It?Your rep. Often times one of the most intangible, yet important things in business.

We all know the cliche: Being known, liked and trusted is important. If you are known, liked and trusted, people will buy from you. If you are known, liked and trusted, people will refer you.

Your reputation is a combination of the latter two words: Like and trust.

If you think about it, I bet you can picture someone you like, but don’t trust. Maybe that sketchy friend who always flakes out on plans at the last second. And there might be someone you don’t like, but trust. Maybe it is your boring accountant always telling you not to spend any money (no offense accountants!).

Online, there are many ways to destroy trust (or not even build it in the first place). Some are REALLY obvious. An example of something obvious would be every Facebook status update trying to get someone to buy something. But, others are what I call the secret trust (and likeability) killers. Things not often talked about and rarely called out.

But just because these “tactics” are rarely talked about to you directly, doesn’t mean they don’t have an affect on your overall reputation and brand. Even if they occasionally “work”, you are pissing off 99.99% of people to get to the unfortunate few. And even then, you basically create a one-night stand as opposed to a long-term relationship based on trust.

If you are doing anything below (or know someone who is), it might be time for a little bit of a wakeup call.

Adding people to your newsletter/email list/Facebook group without their permission

Nothing is worse than opening your email and realizing you have been subscribed to the “Happy Bunnies Fun Email List” without your permission. Adding people to your email list without permission is about as classy as cut-off jean shorts at a black tie wedding. Same thing applies to the relatively new Facebook groups feature.

It doesn’t matter if you *think* the person might enjoy the newsletter. It doesn’t matter if you think you will change their life with your e-zine. While you might not be called out overtly by everyone you add, trust me – people won’t like it and it will be a major blow to your reputation.

Solution: Focus more efforts creating something so awesome that people actually want to subscribe to it via email.

Going For The Quick Sale

This happened to me on LinkedIn. Someone added me as a connection. I accepted. Three minutes later, she sent me a HUGE survey asking me all kinds of private information about my household income, who my current insurance agent was (and if I was happy), and would I like to buy insurance from her.

This isn’t just a LinkedIn issue. It is across multiple sites. Not only is this incredibly lazy, it is also incredibly rude. It is like walking up to someone at an event, shaking his hand, and then whipping your coat open to sell him watches.

Solution: Focus on building a relationship before the sale, not a quick sale or data mining, and you will keep your reputation intact.

Multi-User Facebook Messages Of Death

If you want to get de-friended and de-trusted (errr, made up word) in a hurry, a great way to do this is add 10-15 people to a message (not a fan page update) and then blast out something like:

“Come support the cause! We are having a cocktail hour to save all the fluffy bunnies in the world. It is at 3 AM next Wednesday night!!!!! Can you make it?????”

And then people start replying (to everyone):

“Hey Marie. Sorry. I can’t make it that night. I have a colonoscopy and my butt will be tired.”


“When is it again?”


The madness continues. And it sucks.

Solution: For one thing, don’t do it. Put it as a status update. Email people individually or perhaps create an opt-in list of people interested in your events.

Wrapping It Up

This isn’t about the best way to use Facebook or LinkedIn or “the Internet.” It is about not being lazy and spammy. You are better than that.

What other “tactics” drive you nuts online?

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