What is Online Reputation Management?
Welcome to the Online Reputation Management Guide!
In this tutorial you will learn why your online reputation is important, how to check your reputation, improve your online presence and some general tips and advice.
If you have a damaged or bad reputation and need help fixing it, please read our How to Repair a Bad Online Reputation Guide.
Picture for a moment, you finally get an appointment with the giant client (or an interview for the perfect job). You’ve prepped and done your homework; you are ready to knock it out of the park until they begin to question you about some of the not so flattering things they found online.
When the meeting ends, it is clear you lost your shot…
It is sad but happens far too often. However, it does not have to be that way.
In the digital era, employers, clients, friends and even potential dates are savvy. There is no question that you will be “Googled” the only question is what will they find?
“But I don’t share private stuff on social media…”
That doesn’t matter because someone else might have shared it or worse you did something that caused news sources to report it.
Even if you don’t use the internet you are not safe from having a negative reputation.
In this section, we will talk about why it’s important to build your online reputation, and how you can do it the way YOU want people to see you.
What is an Online Reputation?
An online reputation is a combination of any mentions of you or your business on the internet. This can be from sources like social media accounts, review sites like Yelp, police report or mugshot sites, mainstream media sites and random websites.
Do you remember those photos you posted back in college, you know the ones of you doing that epic keg stand?
How about that embarrassing ticket you received when you were a bit younger?
What about that customer that was just annoying, so you gave them terrible service?
Well, the internet remembers.
Which means when someone is doing a little digging on you, they may come find out a bit more than you wanted to share.
What if I Don’t Have An Online Reputation?
That’s better than if you had a negative one! The problem is if you don’t have a reputation online it can set off red flags for potential employers. Even worse if your business doesn’t exist online that can worry consumers.
Establishing an existence online can help in two ways. First it allows you to show off what you would most want people knowing about you. Second if something negative does happen you already have established a base of positive things that can outweigh the bad.
It may sound like an enormous undertaking but building a solid base is pretty easy, even if you’re not very tech savvy. It will take a little time, but it’s worth it!
What Types of Information Could Be Available About Me?
The possibilities are endless, they revolve around you and what you’ve done in your life up until this point. A few examples are:
Fraternity Websites/Social Media
News Media Outlets
Image and Video Sharing Sites
For businesses the biggest risks are directories like Yelp and Google My Business (formerly Google Maps); “Scam” sites like Ripoff Report and Pissed Consumer; media outlets; and angry customers building nasty review sites. Sites like this have a tendency to rank highly in the search engines for business names that can make the issue even worse.
For individuals the biggest risks are social media sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter; arrest record/mugshot sites; dating or cheater websites; and image or video sharing sites. The bad news is sometimes the internet can get names or people mixed up so you could end up on one of these sites even if you didn’t do anything wrong.
What Can I Do to Protect Myself?
The best thing you can do is to stay ahead of any issues by crafting your online presence to show the best information about you before you have issues.
As you progress through the guide, you will learn how to do an assessment of your online presence. Then how to build your reputation and improve the rankings the sites that you want others to see. Lastly how to monitor what people are saying about you on an ongoing basis.
The most important thing to keep in mind is you won’t know if someone is researching you online and if you do happen to find out it will usually be too late to do anything about it. Your online reputation may not seem important at the moment, but it will be at some point in your life, which is why it’s important to stay ahead of any issues.