Tips to help you manage your online reputation

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Monitor your Buzz — Using either Google Alerts, or a professional service, monitor your name, your business name, various keywords and variations on each so that you can catch both the good and bad said about you. Promote the good, and answer to, if needed, the bad.

Think Twice — Before you post something whether a picture, a quote, a comment, or an entire blog post think twice about it if it’s controversial. Stories abound of people who made an innocent comment on Twitter then became the top trending topic over night, and not in a good way. If you wouldn’t say it or share it openly, perhaps you might not want to say it or share it, at all.

Use Privacy Settings — Most social media networks have privacy settings that you can use to control some aspects of what gets out to the world. But it is important to know that if you say it, share it, or comment on it anyplace on the net — whether a discussion board, social media, or a blog post — it can be seen by the public if the right search has been conducted. You are never anonymous on the Internet.

Build your Brand — Keep building your brand through positive blog posts, articles, press releases, comments, and proactive sharing that matches the image you are trying to project for your business. The more positive content you have out there on the web, the more likely anything that is negative will be buried.

Monitor Photo Tags — Be aware that on Facebook, other people can tag you in photos without your permission if you do not set up your privacy settings correctly. This can be especially problematic when a well meaning friend uses the tagging function as a way to get you to look at the picture which might be completely off-brand and even in bad taste. It might just be a simple picture of you off work drinking the super bowl of margaritas on Cinco de Mayo that causes the issue. While in some cases, you may not care who sees the picture, in other situations, you may not want it public. What you want people to see depends on what image you’re trying to promote.

Be Active — It is so easy to automate a lot of social media today, that we could technically ignore social media for weeks without anyone being the wiser about our absence. We’re sharing blog posts, Tweets, and new articles automatically, but are we active enough in our online presence to share other people’s good news?

Ask for Reviews — Not only should you ask clients and customers for reviews, you should promote those good reviews in all channels. By promoting the good reviews that you get, you’ll put a lot of good news into the search results for anyone searching for you.

Mind your SEO — Search Engine Optimization is more important than ever. As the old ways of getting search engine attention go by the wayside, new ways come to the forefront. Ensure that you keep abreast of changes so that you can keep your search engine optimization working for you.

Google Yourself — First remove the personalization from the search in order to get the right results. Learn how to phrase your searches properly so that you can find out what people really see when they search for you, your business, products and / or services.

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