All press is good press, right? Not really. When you’re talking about your online reputation, what the Internet says about you can make or break getting accepted into college or being hired for a job. It can also affect how people think about you – your parents, in laws or elementary school teachers will all form opinions based on your Internet presence. Here are some tips to help you protect your online reputation:
1. Sign Up For Social Media Websites
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus all rank highly in searches. If you’re trying to crowd out a bad review about your business, having various social media profiles that will turn up in search results will help the bad information to be pushed further back, reducing the chance of anybody finding it.
2. Don’t Post Negative Things About Yourself
Far too often, social media users are their own worst enemy. Take your social media accounts seriously and assume that your future teachers and bosses will be looking at your feeds. Even if you use the Internet mainly for play, be wary of what you post. Also, don’t trust privacy settings. They change often and what you think is private can soon become public.
3. Remove Reputation-Damaging Information
If someone posts something that’s not true about you, reach out to them to request that they change it. Often, bloggers are concerned that their own reputation will be ruined if people find out they’re not relaying honest information. It’s not enough to simply mention somewhere that a previous article had misinformation – the information itself should be removed, changed, or corrected.
4. Start A Blog
By regularly posting to your blog and using keywords that are highly searched for, you can crowd out the negative information. Even better is if your blog is on a website that has your name as the domain name.
5. Don’t Go Too Crazy With Protecting Your Reputation
Sure, you don’t want to have a picture of you mooning your senior class on your Facebook, but a photo of you enjoying a martini at a wedding is completely fine. If it’s not embarrassing or illegal, it’s probably not as taboo as you think. Employers want to see that you have a personality, too.
6. Don’t Assume All Hope Is Lost
Even the biggest names in Hollywood had awful reputations at one point that they managed to turn around. How’d they do it? A lot of celebrities rebuilt their reputation with social media, of all things. Just like the Internet can tarnish a rep, it can also help you build a whole new one. Websites like Reputation.com are dedicated to helping people protect and regain their good reputation online.
7. Put Your Best Foot Forward
You may think that your Instagram profile doesn’t need to have a well thought out tagline, but it does. You may assume that spelling and grammar and Facebook doesn’t matter, but it does. First of all, you can’t convey what you want to if your English is poor. Secondly, any quality employer is going to want their future employee to be a solid writer and speaker.
Information Is There To Stay
Once something’s been posted online, it’s nearly impossible to get rid of it. Often, the best you can do is make sure there’s enough good information about you online that it weighs out or covers up the bad information. As always, though, the best defense is prevention.
A Final Note
Think of your name as your own, personal brand. Protect and market that brand as you would your own company. There are plenty of ways to show your personality without ruining your reputation! Make sure that the Internet is full of positive, interesting and kind things about you, even if your online past isn’t so fresh and clean.
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