Do you know what comes up when people search online for your name or the name of your professional practice?
Online reputations are becoming an increasing concern, a trend that has particular relevance to service oriented industries, where reputation is essentially what you are selling.
The good news is that you can, to a certain degree, manage your online reputation:
- Monitor results for your name and the name of your professional practice – you can either make it a habit to manually search for your name and the name of your professional practice on a regular basis or you can create Google Alerts so that any new online references, to either, will be immediately sent to you by email.
- Protect your privacy – If you are employing any social media sites for personal purposes, use the privacy settings accordingly. Ask the same of any friends or family that have made personal references to you or posted photos of you on their pages.
- Establish rules for online engagement – Social media policies can help to ensure that partners and employees all share a code of conduct that helps them to stay out of trouble, when engaging with the world wide web.
- Don’t forget the easy steps – If you have a blog, make sure that you moderate comments. If you don’t want controversy around your name, don’t provoke it by creating controversy for others.
- Actively build your online reputation – There is always the possibility that something unflattering will be posted online. You won’t be able to remove it. You might be able to comment but that might stir things up further. Here’s what you can do. You can proactively build your online reputation such that there are so many significant and authentic search results for your name and the name of your professional practice, that they dominate search results and effectively drown out those results over which you have no control.
As online discussions continue to swell with the popularity of forums, review sites and social media, so too does the possibility of a constant stream of new results for your name and the name of your professional practice. Some of these results may be flattering (let’s hope!). However, don’t wait for the times when you might not be so lucky, instead take the necessary steps to maintain an active role in managing your online reputation.