In order to decide where you’re going, you must know where you are at present. This is true with your online reputation. Before you can monitor and take control of your online reputation you must do an assessment so you know what’s already out there on the internet about you. Once you assess your online reputation, you can then initiate strategies so you’re notified when you name or the name of your business is mentioned, and identify what you need to do to protect your online reputation.
What do prospects see when they search for you? What type of information have you unwittingly put out about yourself that could damage your online reputation?
Today, we live in a very politically divided society. Depending upon your audience, something that seems very small could offend the wrong people causing your business to lose untold amounts of revenue.
Another area that people often overlook is the potential damage that photos can bring. Remember that none of us live in a vacuum, and what may appear to be ‘normal’ in your world may be highly offensive to others. A recent story highlights the importance of exercising caution when posting photos online. Some persons may say that the matter has been blown out of proportion, but public opinion matters.
How do you begin to Assess Your Online Reputation
Use Multiple Search Engines
Do not limit yourself to searching on just one search engine such as Google. Remember that people use other search engines such as Yahoo!, Ask.com, Bing and more. Start with your name and the name of your business, then move on to keywords that you want to rank for. Make no mistake about it, when people hear of you or meet you they are doing a search on you, so it’s important to know what they are finding when they visit the search engines.
Use Social Media for Searching
More and more people are using various social media platforms like a search engine. For example on Twitter you can use the Advanced Search feature to find out what’s trending, connect with friends and Influencers, discover topics of interest, and much more. Try searching for keywords, your name, the companies name, the product name and more on each social media network. It’s a great way to monitor the buzz about you and your company.
Social media is very important today when it comes to your online reputation. Not only do you want to monitor what others say about you, but you need to be cognizant of what you’re saying and doing on social media. Too many people have hurt themselves by what they put on social media, forgetting that this can be viewed by thousands of people and more.
Set up a Google Alert
Google Alert lets you select various keywords, company name, personal name, and more. The results are sent to your inbox from news, blogs and social media when any of the terms you selected is used. It’s a great way to monitor when something is being said about your company as well as keep up-to-date in your niche. You can be sure to comment on blogs that are about your niche, as well as comment on discussions in which your product, service, or business was discussed.
Go A Couple Pages In
Most people who search for your information won’t go past the first couple of pages, but you should go in 10 pages and beyond just to be sure about the results. Search for your company name, your name, your product, the brand, your handles and user names as well to find out what’s being said about you or what you’ve said about you. You could find that there is information on the internet that you placed there without thinking.
Rather than simply worrying about your online reputation, it’s important to take action because consumers will do their research before spending money with you. During your searches if you find things that you’d rather not be out in the open, there are things you can do to either remove or bury the results. Of course, it’s important to remember that although you may remove something, pictures, for example; someone else may already have downloaded them.
An important reminder is to disable personalized search results as you are doing your research. This means that if you are searching on Google, you should be logged out of gmail so that you will see what others see.
And now I invite you to get your copy of my very own ‘Small Business Guide to Online Reputation Management” a 55-page document comprised of four Modules that take you through establishing your personal brand – the foundation of building your online reputation – to how to implement the strategies to take control of your reputation.