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. Q & A Sites - Share your knowledge and provide smart answers on your field of expertise in Q&A sites such as Quora, Yahoo answers and others within your industry. Articles – publish articles in various places – it can be on your site, colleague’s blog, article sites such as Go Articles, Ezine and more. 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. For effective results, build a strategy and decide what it is you want to emphasise about yourself and your business, and how much time you’d like to spend online in order to create this reputation. Your online reputation management is equal to the time spent on crafting your identity and worthiness. 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. Subscribe to BusinessBanter.com Join 6,000+ fellow business people and marketers Get the latest articles straight to your inbox Learn from experienced business people Sign up today for FREE and be the first to get notified of new stories, podcasts and learning modules. We'll never spam you. Powered By PopUp Domination TwitterLinkedInFacebookGooglePocket Pingback: Social Media Strategy: Find Customers, Make Sales Using Social Media() Pingback: Content Marketing Strategy: Fire Up a Powerful Content Marketing Plan() Pingback: Money Management: What my Father In-law Taught Me about Money Matters() Pingback: 27 Simple Social Media Reputation Management Tips for Business() Lirone Glikman Hi Sunil and thank you for commenting! I’m happy you found it useful. Lirone http://twitter.com/HeriotCatering Tony Arens Good article Lirone. It’s all about reputation. As they say “you’re as good as your last job”. I tend to wonder if this is also true with online reputation building. As more and more people are using the internet to search and research, we have also recently jumped on the ‘band wagon’ to make ourselves more credible. It’s new to us, but this article very well explains all! Lirone Glikman Hi Toni thank you for sharing your thoughts! I truly believe that our online reputation becomes more and more important as time goes by and people rely on the Internet and its many platforms more. I am happy you found my article useful. If you want to share, I would like to know what is your business about. Best, Lirone. http://twitter.com/HeriotCatering Tony Arens We are caterers servicing the corporate, private and wedding market. We’ve been going for long but recently tapped into social media and the like Lirone Glikman There is no escape from establishing an online presence to grow your business more… Keep following us I’m sure you will find more interesting info that we share with great pleasure and passion to help other business people. Chi Chi Excellent post, Lirone! Very good and useful read. I need to work on my involvement with forums and public relations. Keep up the terrific work! Lirone Glikman Chi Chi it’s an honor to get a comment from The Champion Networker! Thank you for your support and I’m happy you liked the post. The good thing about online presence maintenance is the fact that there are many ways and platforms online to do so. It enables us to present our professionalism and personality a little different at each platform ( LinkedIn is more professional, on FB we can show our personality more and so on). All together it contributes to the way we are perceived by our audience online. http://twitter.com/SoniaPCo Sònia Pérez Great post! I fully agree that a strong personal brand on-line makes you a more attractive professional to contact. The time we dedicate to build our profiles in social media and make relevant contributions in influencing sites is a good investment to our networking strategy! Lirone Glikman Sònia I cloudlet agree more. In the ‘information era’ nothing is hidden and everything has power to influence on our lives this way or another. Thank you! http://twitter.com/kelsomarketing Kelso Marketing Really really good post Lirone. I am still trying to get all of my social media ducks in a row – it’s tricky! Am helping lots of customers with theirs and realising that mine is not quite where it should be. One thing i have just done is to add a personal twitter account so that I can tweet socially separately. Lirone Glikman Thank you for your kind words! I think it’s right to have two accounts – one personal and one professional. That way you can post professional info on one and express yourself more feely on the other. However.. there is no guarantee that personal info would not float, so always be minded of what you write or upload online… No one wants “Surprises” Thanks! Lisa Webb This is an inspirational post for people who are technophobes. I have trouble signing up on services online simply for this reason – reputation – more so, maintaining this reputation or up keeping appearances from what’s being shared. Great post to get someone started and keeping up! Thanks Lirone Lirone Glikman Hi Lisa, You raised an interesting point of view! Thank you and I am delighted to know that it inspired you. http://www.businessbanter.com/ Shameer Shah Simply awesome post Lirone! It’s amazing to read your post at several different times before receiving an enquiry today from a rather large Car dealership that has got some bad online rep recently and want to rectify it. Perfect timing! I will certainly be applying and sharing my own knowledge along with details mentioned here with them! Well done once again. Lirone Glikman Thanks so much Shameer! What a great offer and timing.. I get all kinds of comments about this article and one thing a few people told me is that many business people / businesses still aren’t aware ofthe impact their online reputation has on their success. I hope this article will benefit to this topic’s awareness. Thank you once again. http://www.businessbanter.com/ Shameer Shah Exactly, and for those who have done nothing to get online are pretty much reputation less at least in the digital sphere Lirone Glikman In this case, there is even an advantage for “late adopters” as these people can plan their online presence strategically in a way that would benefit their own personal brand or their businesses. Mr Rees Thanks for sharing Lirone, some great ideas and tips here. The bit about ‘In public relations, they say: “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” But is this true?’ – I guess publicity comes in many forms, some bad and some good, but depending on who’s seeing it can make all the difference. Bad publicity can be controversial but can provide plenty of focus towards that issue and thus, towards that person. All in all, I think it’s better to build a reputation on good publicity of course! Great post. Lirone Glikman Dear Mr. Rees, thank you for your lovely comment and sharing your thoughts. You raised an interesting point of view. Much appreciated! John Ives This is a fantastic article with a lot of food for thought. And you are right, most people do their research online, whether for products, services, clients and employees, it initially becomes the research ground. Your online reputation is paramount in this day and age! Lirone Glikman Thank you so much for reading and commenting John! As you said, since the internet is a research ground I think that each and every one of us should be minded about the way he or she appears online. It’s another skill the “information era” requires from us. Thanks a lot!