Beginner's Guide to Online Reputation Management
Negative or embarrassing information posted on the Internet can seriously damage a person's future employment opportunities, cause stress in personal relationships or damage the reputation of a business or employer. Even the passage of time cannot always erase unfortunate information that exists online. Negative information released online about a person or business may be available for decades after it was originally posted online.
Employers now often research their top candidates to check out their reputation online. In such an extremely competitive job market, with hordes of applicants waiting the wings, employers can easily afford to dismiss a candidate if they find something damaging in their online reputation.
Even if we remember to be careful about what we put on the Net, it is impossible to control what others might post on the Net. Reputation management also involves keeping track of and managing what others may post on the Internet about an individual or business entity. In addition, may public records and legal documents that may contain potentially negative or harmful information are posted automatically online.
Companies have to worry about their online reputation management just as much as individuals. Businesses of all sizes have to be dedicated to keeping up a positive Internet image. This not only means monitoring what is being said about and by the business, but also what is being posted online by and about the company's employees and management, including how they express their personal beliefs and opinions online.
The actions of a company's leadership or employees are often regarded as being directly connected to the overall image of the business itself. If a CEO or a ranking manager is viewed by the public or media in a detrimental light, this puts a shadow over the entire company. If employees or former employees are posting negative comments about the company online, this could damage their public image or cause problems with business partners.
The first step to take in online reputation management is to be aware that everything said about and by an individual or a business on the Internet is public fodder and always act with this in mind when posting information online. However, there are also ways in which information posted online by others or available in the press or public records can be managed as well.
Online reputation management can partially be handled with increased awareness and responsibility of the Internet user. This includes always keeping in mind that whatever is put on the Net could be discovered and used later in a negative way. Ensuring that privacy settings are kept updated and are used correctly is one important tool in maintaining a good online reputation. However, an individual or business may need to take a step further to protect themselves. This is where an online reputation management (ORM) expert may be brought in to establish and maintain a positive Internet image.
ORM experts use the same search engine optimization (SEO) skills that websites use to increase their rankings in search engines. Instead of trying to promote a specific website to the top of the search engines and news rankings, however, they have somewhat different goals. An ORM professional works to push positive website links and information about a person or company to the top of the rankings while pushing down or 'burying' negative links and information.
This is done by creating and promoting new, positive content to top of the search engine rankings and sinking any negative results as low as possible. ORM may also include working on the total removal of negative content from search results, including legal action if necessary. Another vital aspect of ORM is the continued, positive flow of affirmative information about the person or company on social networking sites.
Proactive online reputation management can mean the difference between winning a great job or losing out on a great opportunity. Maintaining a strong reputation online could make the difference between the success or failure of a small business or even a large company. Whether it is an individual just seeking to keep their privacy intact or the CEO of a corporation wanting to protect the integrity of their brand, online reputation management should be considered a top priority.