In this day and age, our online reputation may be even more important than the reputation we hold with friends, families, and customers. While it can be hard to accept that the information put online about us or our companies can influence the opinions of people who have never met us, the fact is that our online reputations shape the way we are seen in the world.
Because your online reputation has so much control over your future success, you need to be doing all you can to manage that perception. Here are 5 steps you can take to manage your online reputation:
- Do your research.
As with just about everything else, you need to understand what you’re working with before you can understand how to control it. To find out how much damage control you may need to do online, start by Googling yourself or your company.
Consider the first few items that appear. What do they say about your vision, character, and values? Are they in line with what you want people to think about you? If the answer is yes, you’re off to a good start. Your online reputation only needs to be managed.
If there are negative opinions or articles posted about you, you’re going to need to get a bit more serious with your online reputation management strategy.
- Create a blog.
Regardless of the information previously posted about you and your company, creating a blog is a great way to take control of the information that is posted. With each blog post that you create, you are adding another page of informative information to your website, which helps to strengthen your online reputation in the direction you want.
If you already have a blog, continue posting informative articles skewed towards the image you want to portray. If you want to be thought of as an expert in your field, post your articles as if you already are. You may also want to consider posting more frequently.
- Be selective of the information that you post.
There is a common misperception that anything posted on a personal or private account will not be found on the web. In reality, anything you choose to put online will stay online – even if you delete it.
When you choose to upload anything online, even if it is your personal social media accounts, consider the professional image that you want to portray. Photos of friends or family can be a great asset to share, but if there is any chance of a negative perception of the post, it’s best to leave it offline.
- Build up your social media.
Posting to social media is quick and easy. For the most part, it doesn’t require too much thought. When you can post a few different thoughts, links, or opinions every day, social media allows you to quickly take control of your online image.
Create a social media plan for at least the basic accounts, including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. If you’re thinking of a professional sense, these accounts will probably be separate from your personal pages. Howell Marketing Strategies said, “Remember, before you post anything think about the information you’re sharing and how it applies to a positive online reputation.”
- Pay attention to your reviews.
Whether you’re an author, business owner, chef, or public speaker, chances are there are reviews of your work online. What used to be reserved for the service industry has made its way to just about every area there is.
If you have a review page, always check in on what customers and clients are saying about you. Thank those who take the time to give you a great review and ask those who were unhappy if there is something you can do to change their opinion. Showing that you are active and care about how customers and clients perceive you will show when potential customers review your site.
With so much riding on your online reputation, you can’t afford to not take control. These five steps can help you see better benefits online, more customers for your business, and create a better perception of you and your company.