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What’s your Online Profile Like?

When did you last Google yourself? While it may seem narcissistic, it’s can actually be a smart idea. Why? Because that’s exactly what the majority of people do before or after they meet you for the very first time.

If your online profile is managed well, it can be a huge factor in establishing and defining your personal brand, promoting your personal agenda, promoting your corporate agenda or simply help you stand out from the crowd in competitive industries.

At this point in time, the good news for you is that you have full control over what information is presented by Google, Bing or even Yahoo. Today, Executives, Business owners, High Profile Individuals and new career starters are becoming aware of this and taking control of their Online Reputation.

Whether this is done to combat negative press or geared towards gaining a competitive advantage: for new business development, personal brand building, executives in transition or promoting your expertise and as a result your service offering Online reputation management can be crucial to enabling your goals.

Nevertheless, whether you are a seasoned professional to your own personal brand or new to the concept of Online Reputation Management we will summarise what you need to know about evaluating and establishing your online reputation and begin taking the right steps to manage this process.

Step One: Get yourself prepared

Before a reputation can be assessed and managed, one has to understand the information that is out there. Both good and bad. Begin to document and look for the following:

  • Which negative results show up consistently?
  • Where do they show up on Google (page and position)?
  • Is there a particular time of year when articles rise?
  • Where are the positive articles on Google?
  • Which websites host the negative and positive articles?

Turning this into a simple spreadsheet is a vital first step. This way there is a simple place to track movement as we move from establishing your online reputation benchmark, your online reputation as well as at a later date optimizing it and managing it.

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 Step Two: Establish Your Online Reputation Management Benchmark

Once your baseline reporting structure has been set up, you will need to start by figuring out what your digital profile looks like and understand the state of your current online reputation.

Using a clean browser (private browsing in FireFox and Incognito in Chrome), search your full name and it’s variations in both Google, Bing and Yahoo.

 

null For example:
  • “Full Name”
  • “Full Name Company Name”
  • “Full Name Location”
  • “Full Name Location Company Name”
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Here our objective is to figure out what your digital profile and online reputation looks like. In order to do this follow this process:

  • Step 1: Take a screenshot of the first ten page of results for Google, Bing and Yahoo.
  • Step 2: Do an image search using the same keywords. Take a screenshot of two pages of results.
  • Step 3: Create an inventory of your owned media assets. This includes your company website and blog, press releases, advertorials, and the like; as well as digital platforms that you manage for yourself, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, a personal blog, profiles on the NY Times or Wall Street Journal, etc.
  • Step 4: Create an inventory of your online media assets. This is anything that’s not directly managed by you or your company. For example, these may be article quotes, bylined articles, photos in articles, and the like. You can do this by conducting the search described in step 1 above, and sifting through the initial 100 results. Additionally go to www.goolge.com then select the “News” and review the next 20 pages of content noting down any thing of relevance. Then select the “News” and further refine your search by selecting “All News” and selecting “Blogs”. This is an effective way to monitor all blogs and news relate to your specific search terms.
  • Step 5: There are many social media sites out there, however this search will focus on the “big four”, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and linkedin. However using the same model you can expand this to include any social media sites that publish content publicly.This search string with return results from all three sites – while it is possible to review each of these separately, viewing them all-together can identify the more relevant references overall first.“your search term” site:facebook.com OR site:twitter.com OR site:youtube.com OR site:linkedin.com 
nullThe output of these steps will provide you with a thorough overview and assessment of the current state of your online reputation and digital profile and will act as the basis of measuring your progress moving forward. In the aggregate, it will serve as your Online Reputation Benchmark.

Step Three: Establishing your Online Reputation

The steps described provided you with an understanding of the current state of your digital profile and online reputation at this point in time, and by now should have also helped you identify both opportunities and problems.

Depending on the strength of your current Online Reputation, the following steps will vary in importance, but they are all relevant for a Business owner, Executive, a career starter or even any other high profile person (e.g., politicians, celebrities, specialist practice owner).

  • Step 1: Build a wall between your online professional life and your online personal life. What does this mean exactly? Well any personal profiles of you that members of the public have access to you should aim to make it private. For example, privatize Facebook and Instagram, so personal information doesn’t show up in the search engines. (Twitter is a unique platform, which is addressed later.
  • Step 2: Get serious about LinkedIn. Optimizing your LinkedIn account addresses two issues related to reputation management. One, A well-managed account will quickly bubble to the top of search engine results, and two, It will force you to digitally document your resume and every conceivable job-related asset that you want to promote (volunteering, awards, certifications, etc.), which can be re-purposed across other online networks and platforms.
  • Step 3: If you don’t have them already, create Twitter and Google+ accounts; if you do have them, make sure they reflect your personal online reputation and brand accurately. Even if you don’t want to actively Tweet, make sure to set up an account and follow ~100 accounts (people and companies) relevant to your industry, and re-Tweet occasionally. If you already have a personal Twitter account and use it primarily for personal interests, create a professional account with a unique, corporate-centric profile. Google+ is imperative for search engine optimization and representation.

Now that you know how to evaluate and establish your online reputation, check out our free online reputation management checklist to help you make sure you've taken the necessary steps to establish and evaluate you online reputation.

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John Davis

Written by John Davis