How to Guard Your Online Reputation

How to Guard Your Online Reputation

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  1. Before you get on your keyboard to rant about who’s who in politics, entertainment, or the community …think your next client or employer.  What you type may help or hinder your finances.  People tend to judge you by your opinions as well as actions.

    According to Working World magazine, up to 80 percent of employers use Google to look up employment prospects.  Those looking for a business may use Yelp and read consumer reviews carefully.  Can we control everything that’s posted?  No but there are steps one can take.

    The first thought for any business may be to use the services of an online reputation management (ORM) company but be wary of those that come off as extortionists.  While there are some ORMs that do good work and act with morals, others are simply a waste of money.  If an individual, or a company, has made disparaging remarks that could leave a permanent stain on your reputation, it’s best to settle the matter privately.  It may be wise to hire legal counsel if the matter cannot be resolved alone.

    For the individual, an ORM may not be necessary if some simple directives are followed –

    Think before posting – Even using a pseudonym, it’s best to use caution when posting about current events and controversial matters.  While a person may have a mellow disposition on the job, an online persona that lets out their frustration against a demographic may be seen as someone who can explode when under pressure.

    Often deleting posts will not solve the matter when people can easily take screenshots.  If a post is popular, it may go through a random RSS feed where the extract (usually the first 50-100 words) can be seen by anyone.  If an update or text retraction was posted, it may not make it to the feed.  People usually run with the excitement and never look back – unless it’s equally juicy!

    Keep social networks private – What happens in Vegas, the club, or during a drunken night with friends shouldn’t be public anyway.  Even if you have nothing to lose, others may not have that advantage.  Those with racy lifestyles (and proud of it) shouldn’t make their business  visible if it may hinder their chances of landing a job or may contradicts their public image.  

    Furthermore, you should spend some time with your social media’s settings feature to learn how to use filter and privacy settings.  This way, you can control who sees certain content.  It may help to use the major social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram) with a different email address that is associated with work and contains work-related content only.  If you haven’t created a LinkedIn profile, this may help you have a nice-sized network and share interesting posts related to your business or industry

    Finally, it may help to do occasional self-searches just to see what the average person can see.  If there is a problem, you can reach out to the webmaster of the site and ask to have content removed.  One thing that helps without spending a lot of money is to ask colleagues or clients to leave a good review on their blog or social media page.  By reciprocating, this is one way to build positive online relations.


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