Take it seriously
Treat your online profile as a professional asset and determine if it positions you the way you want it to. Google yourself often and see what the world sees when they look for you.
Commit to a professional online persona
You will be judged by what you post and what others do, too. Select a professional voice and spell-check your postings. Don’t post or say anything online that you wouldn’t want your grandmother or boss to see.
Sign up for free, no-obligation alerts on a site that manages online reputations. Enter your name or other keywords and be alerted when potentially damaging materials are posted about you. At Reputation Changer, the technology crawls the “deep Web” going beyond what search engines look at to see what dangers may exist.
Take proactive control
Commit to ensuring that the entire first page of Google’s search results for your name or your company bring up websites or pages that you control.
- Even a site like Yelp or Wikipedia portrays you in a particular way, so make sure you control the message.
- Set your Facebook privacy settings so that nobody can tag you in a picture without your approval. Review the privacy settings of all the social media sites you use.
- Create online assets using your exact personal and/or company name as the title (such as .com or .net). Use social media profiles and free blogs. Update and post to these pages consistently. The volume of activity required depends on how prominent you are. The more prominent you are, the more active you must be.
Prepare for the worst and react fast
Proactively build up some messages that you can release if a negative news story breaks. If you believe that people may post negative or embarrassing things about you, try to head it off, but expect that you cannot. Once it is out there you can only react to it. If you need to apologize, do that, but don’t debate online because it drags out the conversation. Shift the conversation to the things that you want people to focus on.
By the numbers
70 percent of U.S. companies say that they have disqualified candidates based on what they find online about them. By 2014, 53 percent of all retail sales (online and offline) will be influenced by the more than 1.6 trillion searches conducted per year.
— These tips were compiled by Michael Zammuto, president of Reputation Changer, a company that helps people manage their online personas.