Here is a question for you… before you meet with a potential client or a potential new employee, do you check them out online first? The common answer is definitely: YES!
In today’s world, we manage two parallel lives: the offline life and the online life. You are being represented in both spheres and the way you are seen has a great effect on your online reputation management, and consequently, on our business success.
In public relations, they say: “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” But is this true?
Nowadays, it’s acceptable to check up on people and businesses online before even asking friends for their recommendation on the person or business.
Everyone can be found online today, as the online sphere shows everything that relates to a wanted person on social media, search results, photos they are tagged in, reviews, and more.
This ocean of available information that usually tell us about the person’s private and business life, help us to form opinions about the person or business before we even meet them!
Therefore, the meaning of this is that positive online information about us equals a ‘hot reputation’ and negative online information about us equals a ‘complicated reputation.’ And yes, it can be considered as ‘Bad Publicity’ that may harm our business!
However, there is a way to control your online reputation and here, you are about to learn how to create the desired reputation for yourself through online reputation management!
Online Reputation is a First Impression
As entrepreneurs, business owners, managers, career oriented people and the like, we constantly engage with people and network with them. Our business networking activity can bring us new customers, new deals, and inside knowledge that can expose us to some really valuable industry information.
Considering the fact that almost everyone checks us out online to decide whether they should work with us, our odds to succeed will increase as our positive reputation increases. Our online representation is the first impression we leave on others.
Your name and reputation along with your business that is linked to your name are usually built out of two sources:
1. What you say and do
2. What others say about you
This means that if someone wrote a bad comment about you or you find some details are embarrassing or inaccurate, you may lose some points.
On the other hand, professional and positive information will increase yours and your business’s success rates and thus, reputation. Your online reputation management is essential for a more credible and legitimate appearance.
For the sake of success, you need to take control of your own online representation!
You can do it yourself by being proactive or use the services of companies to manage you and your business’s online reputation, such as Reputation.
The Two fundamentals of Online Reputation Management: Monitor & Manage
So how do you maintain a hot online reputation? You regularly monitor and manage your reputation.
Monitoring your online reputation
Everyday, you may accumulate more and more online information about you and your business that is either initiated by you or others.
Make sure to regularly monitor what has been said about you online. That will enable you to know how you are being presented online and what kind of impression you currently leave on others. This is worth in gold to you!
Monitor yourself online every two weeks in the following ways:
Google yourself - Google your name, your business’s name and any related keywords.
Have a close look on the first and second results pages, as most people usually don’t search further. Click on the related links and make sure all the information about you is good and correct.
Use online alert systems - use online monitoring systems such as Google alerts, set the system by inserting your name and related keywords and you will get notified anytime they appear on the web. That’s how you will know what is said about you online.
Social media checks - make sure to read others comments on your social media profiles and discussions. If there is a need, answer positively and wisely. Check your Linkedin profile including groups that you took part in, Facebook, Twitter, Google + and the like.
Managing your Online Reputation
You should and can design your online reputation. Affect what is written about you by being active in a smart strategic way and share positive information that relates to you.
Generally speaking, the information published online is hard to be removed; however, it can be pushed further away into secondary search pages as Google prefers to show newer, fresh, more valid content first.
These next few tips will guide you to create new and positive content about yourself and your business, and so, will represent you in the way you want to be seen.
This can be done in the following ways:
Blogs – write and publish great new blog posts on your own blog or on other blogs.
Social media - get more active on social media and make sure to post public discussions that search engines can locate and show.
Forums – get involved in relevant industry forums which are well known and that search engines may like.
Public Relation - Notify the mainstream media (online edition preferred) about news that is related to you, a deal you just closed, a new manager you just hired and also, charitable work your business may have been involved in. Mainstream media sites usually rank high on search engines and will provide more insights about your good work.
Remember, if you don’t say anything about yourself, or your business, that doesn’t mean your reputation is safe and creditable online. You have to craft it meaningfully. So, you better take control over your online reputation before someone else does! You owe it to your business and you owe it to yourself.
I am eager to hear about your online reputation management experiences. Below, please share how you keep your online reputation credible and if you have had any interesting incidents.