Getting Started with Online Reputation Management
It's essential for you to take charge of cultivating a positive reputation for your online brand and for yourself. It can make the difference between getting the kind of professional opportunities you deserve and missing out, based on how you look next to your competitors online.
When you're getting started managing your reputation online be sure to consider the following guidelines:
Set reasonable boundaries for what kinds of information you will share anywhere online. Some people choose to avoid talking about their kids, in order to spare them potential privacy issues and embarrassment. Others share everything as part of an online scrapbook approach. Decide ahead of time what you want to share about so that you can remain consistent and protect your privacy.
Understand that transparency is for brands, not people. People often talk about being transparent and authentic online as though those terms are interchangeable. Transparency, however, is something only brands have to consider. Being transparent refers more to when an oil company has a leak and needs to report what's happened and what's being done about it to the public without holding back vital information. Individuals, on the other hand, don't have to worry about that. No one expects transparency from them. However, an individual can benefit from being as authentic as possible online — meaning that you're the same person online as you are when you're, say, at the grocery store. It's an integrity issue.
Decide that prevention is the best cure. Paying attention to what you're presenting to the world via a Google search (for starters) is key to preventing online reputation management trouble. Create opportunities to share valuable, good news about you and your brand, if applicable.
Assess whether you need to fly solo or assemble an online monitoring team for your everyday strategy. A lot of this depends on the size of your organization and your budget. It's always better to be "loaded for bear" than struggling and missing important information, especially if an online reputation crisis should start escalating.
Be prepared. It's a great motto! One of the best things you can do to strengthen your online reputation management strategy is to brainstorm for nightmare scenarios with a senior level team, if possible. Come up with worst-case scenarios and what the best remedies and plans of action online would be for that event. Just having something like this is like having extra money in the bank for a rainy day.
Focus your energies by setting clear goals. If you never set a clear goal you never know whether you've reached it! Setting "being popular" online is a nebulous term because it can mean different things at different times in different contexts. Sounds a little different, doesn't it?
Take a look at your Facebook privacy settings, as applicable. No matter what privacy settings you set on photos you share on Facebook, somebody can always figure out a way to share them. Remember that the lines have blurred. Employers tend to look you up on Facebook and other social networks to see what you're like or what you did over the weekend. Assume that Facebook is never the place to post pictures you wouldn't want your Grandma or employer to see online and you'll be in the best shape possible.
Use a professional e-mail address. Lots of people use addresses like "snookibunnies2cute" without considering that they might be giving the wrong impression. Use a professional e-mail address for all your business-related correspondence. You only get one chance to make a good first impression.