Did you know you’re naked? People can check out your Online Reputation (your O.R.) by reviewing your Social Media profiles in Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other places on the Web. They’ll also check your Web site, your blog and they’ll “Google” your name to see what information shows up. I call this process “downloading” your net worth (a la “InterNET”). Doing the “down lo” on you means that I quickly “know” or have a perception of your character by the digital footprints you’re tracking around the Web. Based on these digital footprints, I’m going to decide whether or not I can trust you. You do it yourself, don’t you? You at least Google the name of the person before you decide to commit in some way, whether it be to collaborate or recommend or hire the person you “Googled.”
Your Online Reputation must be a multi-faceted POSITIVE picture of YOU
Like a diamond, your online reputation is multi-faceted. Each facet contributes to your overall sparkle. Be sure every connection to you on the Web is something you could show your mother and make sure she’d be proud of what she saw.
Here’s what happens when I do the “Down Lo” on you
- I check my “gut” (my inner sense or intuition) about you before I make that final decision to connect with you and possibly do business with you or refer business to you.
- If I discovered you in Twitter, I soak in your brand that you’ve, hopefully, extended onto your Twitter profile: I look at your avatar to see if it’s a professional or amatuer photo; I read your bio to see if it has keywords that speak to me and what I want and like; I read your tweets to see if you talk about things that have value and to see if you balance the “fluff” with the demonstrations of expertise and supportiveness. (But I do like “fluff” because I can connect with you when you tell me things like “Having breakfast with my mom on her birthday. Today she’s 70 years old. I hope I’m as wise as she is when I’m her age.”
- Then I click on your one link that’s allowed in your Twitter profile and if I land on an out-of-date website or a blog that has no posts or very little information, that tells me you don’t really know that people are judging you by this or worse, you might not care about what people see. That’s a big mistake. People are judging you by your Twitter link so be sure it’s something worthy of a visit, whether it be your blog (filled with helpful posts) or LinkedIn profile or up-to-date and updated website.
- If I’m trying to decide whether or not to employ you, I’ll check your LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have one, then that’s a red flag for me because you’re missing out on a big opportunity to show off your “living” resume, recommendations, education and expertise. When properly maintained, your LinkedIn profile is alive with your work, your endorsements, your productivity, your education, your expert answers to posted questions and many other things that show what a team player you are and how knowledgeable you are. Your LI profile should be continually updated. In LinkedIn you are two degrees of seperation away from a top industry guru, CEO, founder, celebrity, or other BIG mover and shaker. That’s who shows up in LinkedIn. Make your LinkedIn profile sparkle!
- Of course, I’ll Google you, too. Hopefully, after typing your name into Google’s search box, I’ll see press releases, good reviews, good testimonials, articles you’ve written, Tweets, Facebook Fan page posts, your LinkedIn link and so on. I’m not the only one doing the down lo on you so be sure you get a Google Alert set up so you always know what someone has clicked on when they’ve found a link to you in Google.
- By the way, I’m probably not checking past page 2 of your Google listings and many people only check what’s above the “fold” on their computer screen. It’s important to keep that first page of listings totally positive and impressive because IF something negative gets posted online about you, people will know it’s probably an exception to the rule about you.
What can you do to control your Online Reputation?
- Get a Gmail account at Google so you can have access to all of Google’s free tools including “Google Alerts” so you can track whenever your name or company name is googled. You’ll receive an email report as often as you like. Use Google Alerts to keep track of other important information, too, by setting up keywords that pertain to those important subjects.
- Multi-media releases: they used to be called “press releases” but we’re so far removed from the old newspaper days that you have to call it something else. Since they can contain video and links to online resources, today’s “multi-media releases” can be quite informative for the media you send them to and quite powerful in enlarging your Online Reputation.
- Hire a professional SEO expert who specializes in Online Reputation management to help you manage your online reputation. You should have enough positive links about you so that if anything negative gets linked to you, people can clearly see the good outweighs the bad or perhaps that one negative thing was simply a fluke. With enough positive listings, anything bad gets pushed down below the fold or onto the next page–unless it’s someone out to get you and in that case, I can recommend a good Intellectual Property attorney who’s in my LinkedIn network.
What steps are you taking to grow and protect your Online Reputation? Please share your advice by leaving a comment. Be sure to follow me in Twitter and/or drop by my Facebook Fan Page and do invite me to your LinkedIn network, please. Thanks!