online-reputation-questionWhy Online Reputation Management is Essential to Your Business?

Wether you have an online or offline business you should be aware that pretty much everything you ever post online is there for anyone to see, forever. If that statement strikes fear in your heart, as it does most people, then it’s time to start managing your reputation now. While you can’t get rid of everything you have online about yourself or your business, you can get control of your image, manage it and improve it.

Be aware that even innocent comments made on someone else’s Facebook page can show up on search engines. Like a controversial page? Like a divisive picture? Everyone will know, regardless of your privacy settings if they happen to search for the right keywords. Once you realize that your online presence is actually your first impression today, you’ll realize the urgency of managing your online reputation now.

To start managing your online reputation start with the following task.

  • Separate Personal from Professional — It’s easier to manage your online reputation if you keep business and personal separate. It can be awkward and difficult to change after doing something one way for so long, but it is important that you do it. Simply create the separate social networks, and then invite the right people to join explaining to them what you are doing. Most people will totally get it and even follow what you are doing.
  • Clean up your Mistakes — When possible, ask for erroneous or inappropriate information to be removed. Did someone snap a photo of you drinking a giant margarita at a private family function, post it on Facebook and tag you and everyone you know? If you do not want the picture out there, you have a right to ask that it be removed. Even Google has procedures to remove old information from Usenet groups.
  • Monitor Online Activity — Set up a Google Alert on your name in its various forms, as well as certain keywords that you would like to command. Check this activity at least weekly so that you can know what the buzz is about you, your products and / or services. By setting up the alerts, you will be able to circumvent, remove, or cover up information that you’d rather not be seen on public.
  • Think Twice before Posting — Starting today, give every word, video, picture, or comment you post a second thought before posting. It’s time to realize that the days of imagined privacy on the Internet are over. Therefore, it’s important not to say anything on the online, that you would not say to your family dinner, or in a business meeting. If you’d be embarrassed if certain people knew, don’t say it, share it, or comment on it.
  • Build your Brand — You can cover up a lot of information you’d rather not be public by creating new content that builds your brand. Try writing a new blog post for 30 days and a new article for article marketing sites for 30 days that focus on the keywords that you want to show up when people search for you. By building your brand in this manner the other less relevant, though titillating, information will be covered.
  • Use Privacy Settings — Every social media group has privacy settings of some kind. It is important to learn how to use them, and be aware of their limitations. Just because your Facebook page is set up that certain things you say are only shown to friends, does not mean it won’t show up on a search result if you made a comment on a page that does not have such settings.

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