5 Stars are Worth Alot
The Importance of Reputation Management
Did you know that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations? Unfortunately, 2 star ratings, negative Google results, revenge porn, hate sites and inadequate online privacy laws, can damage your online reputation and profitability. Consumers today have an unprecedented amount of power so taking the time and resource to control your online reputation is worth every effort. There are plenty of online reputation management outfits you can hire for heavy duty clean-up, or you can take a few simple steps yourself. With these strategies in place, you can begin to control that potential customers will find only the online content you want them to find, and build up a reservoir of authentic 4 and 5-star reviews from happy customers that breed trust and generate more business.
Step 1: Google Yourself
Face reality and see what your reputation looks like to anyone checking you out. The goal here is to have positive feedback on the first page of Google. Do a Google search of your name and also a search of your name in Google Images. Make sure you use the name that people are going to be searching for you with. Also, search for any variations of your name or common misspellings. In the same vein, make sure you are consistent with your name on your resume, listings, social media profiles, website, etc.
Step 2: Social Media
If you find you need to rank higher on Google after your search, start with joining some social media networks and choose them wisely. LinkedIn is king and ranks higher than all other profiles including other social networks and website builders. Search engines tend to rank social media profiles like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ high, and for good reason: They require some sort of authentication to create, so search engines view them as more credible. In short, if you’re trying to show up more positive in Google, creating professional social media profiles is essential. For existing accounts, do an audit and delete old posts/photos that may be inappropriate. This includes blocking followers who post references to sex, drugs, bigotry, sexism, etc. as well as polarizing topics like religion or politics that may not seem bad, but could damage your reputation if seen by the wrong person.
Step 3: Fill Out Profiles
Take the time to fully fill out profiles, as the true power of social media networks is ineffective unless you do. You want Google to find your profile, so give it as much powerful, relevant content as you can. Be sure to add links to your other social profiles as well.
Step 4: Assume Nothing is Private
All the experts say you should never post any pictures or content about yourself that you don’t want the world to see. More and more HR departments are required to use social media as a candidate screening tool, both to look for red flags as well as reinforcing the candidate as a good cultural fit. Create two Facebook profiles, one for potential clients that emphasizes your professional accomplishments and advertises your business, and another for your intimate circles, with the most private settings you can find. Create content that drives down negativity in search results, and post to each social media network at least once a month. Monitor the web for unflattering photos or mentions. If they come up, do your best to bury them with positive content.
You spend a lot of time building your reputation—you work hard, treat others well, follow through on duties and show up on time. Now it’s time to apply that same discipline to your online presence.