Online Reputation Management for Individuals

Online reputation management. I bet you think that this is a process reserved for companies, big brands, and famous individuals. I’m also sure that you think it’s irrelevant to you. After all, you’re just a regular individual. Why bother? It’s a cumbersome task.

You’re wrong.

Online reputation management for is important for everyone and when I say everyone, that certainly includes you and me! Companies, hiring managers, employers, love interests, co-workers, prospective business partners and other people who want to know more about you will most likely search you online. And I’m sure that you’ll do the same thing. Better safe than sorry, right?

There’s a proof that online reputation management is important not only for big brands and companies but also for regular individuals.

In the research conducted by Harris Poll, on behalf of CareerBuilder, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring and 54% of them rejected a candidate based on what they found in the candidate’s social media profiles. Additionally, 57% of them are less likely to hire a candidate they can’t find online.

85% of US recruiters say that an employee’s online reputation affects their hiring decision to some extent and nearly half of them said that a strong online reputation greatly influences their decisions.

Oh, wait, you’re telling me that you’re not a job seeker? Well, according to Denver Post, 45% of people said they found something online that made them not to do business with someone, but on the contrary, 56% of them found something online that made them do business with someone.

Have you realized now? The chances of you landing your dream job or you doing business with someone or even you taking the man/woman of your dreams (yes, it’s not only your professional life that depends on your online reputation but your private life as well) is greatly affected by your online reputation.

But what is online reputation for individuals? Simple. It is what people will find on Google when they type your name into the search box and hit enter.

Building and Managing Your Individual Online Reputation

As your online reputation is vital to your success, you need to know how to build and manage it. Let’s see some tips regarding this.

Google Yourself

Your online reputation is what people will find on Google, so it’s only natural that the first step in building a good online reputation is to Google yourself. Once you know what appears in search results about you, you’d be able to start taking action.

If you see some unpleasant or negative stuff listed in the first and second pages of Google, then you need to start doing the best practices in online reputation management to push them into the deeper pages of search results where most people won’t usually delve into.

If you can hide embarrassing or unwanted search results in the 3rd page and beyond, then you can say that you’re already 99% safe because 93% of searchers never go past the first search results page.

To bury unwanted search results, you want to fill the first and second pages with relevant, good, and important information about you. You can do that by creating social media accounts and creating a website using your name as its domain name. We will talk about them in the following sections

Create Individual or Personal Social Media Profiles

Search engines tend to rank social media pages higher in search results, so it’s important to have accounts in them. If you already have accounts, then you’ve probably noticed that the top results when you google yourself are your profiles on Facebook, Google+, Twitter or any other social networks you already have an account.

The problem here, however, is that you’ve probably posted some unprofessional, unpleasant, or embarrassing updates or photos in your social media accounts. So, the first thing you should do is to adjust your privacy settings to hide your raw and unfiltered self from the general public while keeping it visible to your close friends and family.

Perhaps the best way to deal with embarrassing social media posts is to separate the personal from the professional. Your personal Facebook, Twitter, or other social media accounts are best kept private. Create a separate professional profile that will showcase your skills and experiences and highlight your achievements, a profile that only posts updates and photos relevant to your field. Aside from Facebook and Twitter, create accounts on LinkedIn, Google+ and other sites such as Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, or other social media sites relevant to your career or profession. LinkedIn and Google+ are the more business-oriented social media sites, so I recommend focusing most on these two for business and professional needs.

Keep all information on all of your social media accounts similar to help people differentiate your official and fake accounts.

Be careful about what you “like”, “heart”, retweet, share or post on social media sites. They can have a negative impact on your online reputation. About 34% of employers rejected a candidate because they found inappropriate behavior, discriminatory comments and other unpleasant activities in the candidate’s social media accounts.

Create a Website with Your Name as Domain Name

Registering your name as a domain name is an excellent way of preventing others from controlling your name online. It also helps drive unwanted search results away from the first page of Google. Plus, having a website regularly updated with content relevant to your career or profession helps build trust and authority.

Use your website to link to your official social media accounts and vice versa. This will improve your website and social media accounts’ SEO for your name, ensuring that only pleasant results appear in the first pages of Google. It also solidifies your online presence.

Start a blog on your website. Create content relevant to your field on a regular basis. Well-written blog posts showcase your knowledge and expertise in your field. It builds authority and establishes you as a thought leader, which is a massive boost to your online reputation.

Conclusion

If you haven’t checked what appears in search when you google yourself, then you better start checking it right now. You never know what kind of information is available about you in Google search results, especially if you haven’t thought about building an online presence yet. And if I were you, I’d start deleting or hiding my embarrassing posts and I’ll also start carefully choosing the words I write and the information I share and “like” in social media to improve or fix my online reputation.