As much as we all love the internet and how important it has become, there is no doubting the fact that it has also opened up way too many doors. People can find out more about you now than ever before…it’s actually kind of creepy. And although social media is a great way for you to stay connected with your friends and family, it’s also provides an easy way for others to see what you are up to. Others can now see what you are reading online, what music you are listening to and even where you are. It’s the world wide web and we are all now connected somehow.
Although you can not fully control this, even though there are some privacy settings here and there, you can still work to manage your reputation and personal branding online. This is extremely important when looking for a new job or applying to schools, but does not just end there. You must continuously monitor your online personal brand because you have no idea when it could come back to bite you in the butt. It could be when you are getting ready for a big promotion, going in for funding or a loan, or even when you meet a guy or girl that you are somewhat interested in. Who knows when what the internet says about you will come back to haunt you.
Luckily there are some things you can do to help manage this all and I am here to give you 4 quick but useful tips!
#1 – Watch what you say online.
Saying something stupid online is like saying something stupid in person, except it is stored for all of history. All things you type and share online can and will be used against you and your personal brand, so make sure you type wisely. What you tweet, share or post can affect your life whether you want to believe it or not. For this reason, make sure everything you write and share online does not misrepresent who you are and more importantly, cannot come back to haunt you in the future.
Kenneth Cole found this out the hard way when he decided to make a “humorous” tweet about the protests in Cairo, Egypt. He is not the only one to have made this mistake, so make sure you do not fall into this list!
“Check yourself before you wreck yourself” [Click to Tweet]
#2 - Boost your social media rankings.
As much as we all love social media, it has become one of the biggest issues in terms of online reputation. If you do an internet search for your name, your social media profiles will more than likely be some of the top results. This is something you can definitely take advantage of…especially if you are being careful about what you post and tweet. Having your social media profiles rank high for keywords related to you is a great way to boost your personal brand and allows you to push the right content to people’s eyes.
In order to make sure your social media profiles are ranked for keywords such as your name, occupation and interests, it is important to fill out the profiles correctly. Doing this will allow for you to optimize each profile for SEO purposes…therefore helping it rank higher.
#3 – Google yourself.
While you search for your social media profiles online, you may come across many other results related to you. There could be tons of articles, blog posts or tweets about you from around the web…some good and some bad. In order to see what kind of content about you is out there, you should Google yourself every now and then. Keep track of what is being said about you and find effective ways to get any negative content pushed towards the back.
#4 – Blog on a personalized domain.
The first ever blog post I wrote for this site had to do with why I think you should be blogging, but there are so many benefits. For this particular post, the main benefit is that you can use this blog to push back other search engine results. If you have your own personal blog, with a personalized url, chances are that it will most likely rank in the top 5 for your name. Using this, as well as your optimized social media profiles, you can control what the top 5 to 10 search results may be for your name.
You cannot control what others are saying about you online, but you have complete control over what you are saying. Choose your words wisely and build out your profiles and sites to best represent you. If done correctly, searchers will find these social and blog sites at the top of the results, allowing you to somewhat manage what they read about you. Of course nobody can have 100% control of what happens online but it is better to have some control than none at all.
Your turn: Have you been managing your online reputation lately? What kind of results did you see? I have shared 4 quick tips for helping with the management process but there are many other things you could do…are there any others that you would recommend?