Protect Your Reputation with These 5 Simple Online Reputation Management Tips

Positive CustomerThere are many different ways of reputation repair online. The best way to protect your reputation is to be what I call, pre-active – act BEFORE problems arise. Here are five online reputation management tips that can help you be there with good information about yourself BEFORE some negative folks try to tear you down.

Tip 1: Create Positive Profiles Everywhere

Create positive profiles in your own name, your brand name, and your company name in as many social networks, bookmarking sites, etc. as you can: Twitter, Facebook and Facebook Pages, LinkedIn, Google+, Yahoo and YouTube in particular. You may want to also consider creating profiles at MySpace, Naymz, and any new, smaller, or rising social networks. By getting this done first, you build your reputation and your company reputation on these sites before anyone else creates negative impressions around your name or company.

Tip 2: Create Email Addresses

Make sure you have an email addresses in your name, and variations of your name, your company name, etc. at Gmail, at least. Since this is such a widely used email service, you don’t want to end up with someone creating a Gmail account in your name and sending information that looks like it came from you, when it really didn’t (I have more than 20 email names that my mail program checks every few minutes). Also a good idea – create email accounts at widely popular free services like Hotmail and Yahoo and others. The idea is to take all email possibilities around your name and your company name before anyone else does – whether you use them or not. At least, you have them, no one else can get them to “spoof” you.

Tips 3: Register Your Personal Domains

Build your reputation, your company reputation, and your internet reputation by starting a blog – or several – because it’s so easy. (You could almost call it, “Reputation Management Blog.”) This lets you constantly post material to the InfoNet (my new name for the internet) for people to see. With a long history of positive pages and posts from you, if someone puts up something negative, it is less likely to register well in the search engines. Even if you’re not planning to have your own blog, register your name as a domain so that someone else can’t claim it. You can use a domain registry like GoDaddy.com (the one I use) or Namecheap.com to claim your domain. Make sure you set your domains to automatically renew each year… usually, with most domain registrars like those I mentioned, you can save money by registering for multiple years, but make sure it automatically renews so you don’t inadvertently lose your valuable domain – as a friend of mine did several years ago.

However, since it is so easy and beneficial to have your own blog, you can either set up a free one at WordPress.com or Blogger.com. But better, since you have at least one domain name, grab a simple hosting account at HostGator where they have one click setup for WordPress blogs – you’re reading a blog that was set up with one click at HostGator. Then just keep adding content… it’s REALLY EASY. (A comment about content: you will hear the adage, “Content is King” about the internet. That’s true, and to this, I add, “Quality is Queen.” In other words, don’t post junk. Good online reputation management tells us that people are looking for high quality content, not junk, and if you only offer junk no one will read you, you will not be building a positive reputation, and your search rankings will not be as good.) Whether you only post a single page with some public information about yourself, or build a complete blog site with LOTS of information, it’s worth claiming blogs in your name at these major sites (or better yet, your own blog that YOU OWN). Look around. See where other people are browsing who are looking for what you have to say, and get yourself there. If there are other places or sites in your market where people are active. Then set up profiles under your name or your business name there as well… get known for positive information.

Tip 4: Privacy Settings are Paramount

As part of your reputation management system, in any profiles or accounts that have privacy settings, ALWAYS check them carefully to make sure you are only allowing appropriate information to be seen publicly. For instance, set your Facebook profile privacy to hide your personal details from anyone other than people you have added as friends. Another suggestion – if you operate from a home office, seriously consider “private registration” of any domain names you own. Then, if people look up the Whois.com listing for your web site, they will not find your home address. If, on the other hand, your office is not your home, then private registration would hide your business address… and you don’t want that.

Tip 5: Actively Engage and Publish

If you have set up profiles and accounts in many places online, that doesn’t mean you have to be actively participating in all of them. Without bunches of helpers, that would be impossible. But you will want to be seen where others are likely to see you – which you want.

Find out where your market is “hanging out”… where they look information. That is where you want to get involved – as heavily and as often as you can. Show up there regularly, answer questions often, post valuable content, all with links back to your own sites and pages. In other words, be visible… be very very visible with your positive image and information.

As soon as you start your business, start protecting your online reputation. Be, “pre-active” and offset any potential negative information early, and limit the damage it may do. That, combined with actively working with those who make negative comments to see if you can resolve their issues and turn them positive, will leave you pretty much in control of your reputation… at least some of the information that appears on the web. Make it more difficult for people to hijack your name by keeping up a steady flow of positive content. This give you the head start you need to counteract those who may want to do damage to your image and reputation.




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