Online reputation expert Lori Randall Stradtman wrote in her book Online Reputation Management for Dummies the following joke: “Where do you hide a dead body? On the third page of Google results.”
This joke is the essence of how online reputation works these days and how important it is for young people, who’ve been online their entire lives and matured on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking services, to clean up their profiles.
Online reputation represents one of the most valuable personal assets and it’s critical to both personal and professional success. However, having a good online reputation does not come automatically. It takes years to transform it into a coherent and real image of the person you think you are, but if you don’t manage it, it can crumble within minutes.
If you are looking for a job, chances are that your future employer is googling your name, but what he discovers is entirely up to you. If you understand the need to check out your online reputation but you are not sure how, here is how to do it:
- Google Alerts is your best friend
What you have to do immediately is do a Google search and don’t forget to check Google Images –you cannot be too sure what pictures represent your name on Google. Set up a Google alert on your name to keep track of new content and don’t forget that you can have notifications mailed to you once a day or once a week.
If you have a common name, you can create a search query with the minus sign operator for terms that do not apply to you.
- Automatic Alert for readers’ comments
If you have a blog or if you write for a certain online newspaper or magazine, you must keep up with the article you wrote and stay engaged in the discussion. What you need to do in this situation is to respond to the first comment and subscribe to all future comments because if they say something about you, you probably want to know and defend yourself if the comments are negative.
- Daily check: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+
Doing a daily check on social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn should not be that hard, but in case you are the type of person who creates profiles and lets them be, it’s better to configure your notifications so that you are alerted to any interaction with your personal identity.
As far as LinkedIn is concerned, you should check the sidebar notifications, which offer you more insights into your online reputation. If you decide to become a LinkedIn premium user with a paid subscription, you can find out more details about profile views.
If you want to check your online reputation, you can count on Topsy. This free service allows you to view all public social and web data on your personal brand and has a ‘Sentiment Score’ which uses Twitter Firehose data to offer you an overall personal sentiment –a number from 0 to 100.
- Social Mention
This is another free online reputation monitoring tool which helps you learn about brand mentions, your brand’s strength, sentiment and reach. However, if you choose Social Mention, it’s better to use the Advanced Search function [right-side of the search bar] for more accuracy. Don’t forget to set up daily alerts or an RSS feed.
As soon as you know what is being said about your personal brand online, you can respond appropriately and strengthen it. If you want to know how other people feel about your online brand, don’t hesitate to make monitoring easier and use these tools.
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