These days, Googling the name of a potential employee or new acquaintance is practically second nature; we’ve all done it. But when was the last time you performed a Google search on your own name? If you’re like many people, you maybe did it once but then haven’t given it a second thought since. This is one of those situations, however, where what you don’t know can hurt you.
The reality is that people are looking you up online and making decisions based on what they find. If the search results—which essentially form your online reputation—accurately reflect you and your personal brand, you’re in good shape. But if those results are negative or nonexistent, this can have a detrimental impact on your professional life.
What is personal reputation management?
Put simply, personal reputation management is taking control of what people find when they search for you online. Personal reputation management aims to suppress or remove permanently any negative or irrelevant search results while simultaneously boosting and increasing the number of positive, relevant results.
Are You an Entrepreneur, CEO, Executive or
Key Decision Maker at Your Company?
If so, you have an increased responsibility to protect your online reputation. Like it or not, your executive presence reflects on your business and its values. And unlike people at lower levels in your organization, you are being closely watched—even by the press. Shareholders, stakeholders, partners, and employees are relying on you and your decisions, and the consequences of negative online results can be significant.
Smart executives collaborate with branding experts such as Blue Ocean Global Technology to help manage their digital presence. By enlisting such specialists to help safeguard your online reputation, you’re free to focus on what you do best – running your business. Learn more about how we’ve been able to help executives create, revive, and improve their online reputations.
Why Online Personal Reputation Matters?
Online personal reputation is a key factor that either lifts your company to the sky or brings it down to rock bottom, and the reasons for that are:
- Anything that happens on the internet can go viral, if you do one mistake online it can reach a big number of people quickly
- People search for any business online before they decide to purchase its products or ask for its services
- When stuck at a decision, people always look for what others might have chosen, that’s why they look for reviews on the internet
- Social media presence is proof for internet users of the validity and quality of any business
No Distinction Between “Personal” And “Professional”
When someone is researching you online, anything associated with your name has the potential of appearing in search results, from articles you authored in industry publications to the personal blog you wrote in college. With many of us active on social media, the lines between our personal and professional lives can easily become blurry; even if your privacy settings are set to “friends only,” your friends’ settings might not be similarly restricted. Keep in mind that both your business life and your personal life are likely to be represented in the search results associated with your name.
What are the benefits of personal reputation management?
Personal reputation is more than just an online image that’s visible to users. Your personal reputation affects your company in many ways such as the following:
- Builds trust: people are not only able to trust your company because of its good reputation, but they’ll want to recommend it to others as well.
- Prevents unwanted attention: businesses that have a bad reputation draws more customers away as the customers won’t try the brand or even want to know more about the company.
- Increases profit: people will be attracted to companies that have 5-star ratings more than those with 2 or 3-star reviews.
- Attracts better employees: talented employees want to work for higher-value companies, therefore they’re more likely to work for companies with a better reputation
- Better treatment: people give a second chance to companies that have a good reputation
Why is Online Reputation Management for individuals important?
There are a number of reasons why personal online reputation management is necessary today. If you’re like most of us, you may Google the name of a potential boss, a prospective employee, or even a potential date—it’s human nature to be curious about the unknown, including people who are new to us. And whether you’re looking for a new job, are in a high-level, public-facing leadership position within a company, or simply want to see how others may view you, your personal reputation matters.
Positive, Irrelevant, Or Negative? Understanding Search Results
Managing your online reputation is a multi-step process. Your first step is to audit your online reputation. When you search your name on the internet, what comes up first? Is it your LinkedIn profile, your business website’s bio page, or your personal Facebook page? Or do you see search results for someone who shares your name? Understanding where you currently stand and what people are likely to find when they enter your name in a search engine is key to managing your online reputation because it will help determine what you need to do next.
Positive, relevant results:
Congratulations! You’ve made a good start in effectively cultivating your online reputation. But remember that an audit is just a snapshot in time; regularly reviewing your online reputation is important so that you can identify and resolve any issues as they arise (or threaten to)—especially if you’re a CEO, marketing executive, or finance executive or otherwise hold a leadership position at your company.
If you have a common name, chances are high that the top search results you see are for someone who shares your name—which can cause confusion for anyone trying to learn more about you online. One way our brand executives at Blue Ocean would suggest handling this situation is by using your middle name or middle initial as part of your name. This way, the information that truly pertains to you is easier for people to identify. We can offer other ways of differentiating yourself online; a Blue Ocean branding expert can help you identify which strategies are best for your specific situation.
Negative search results linked to your name can be severe, such as a legal case involving someone with the same name, a Facebook post tagging you in an unflattering photo, or a biased review targeting you. Removing these results may be possible depending on where they appear and which site(s) they are on. To quickly and efficiently address these issues, collaborate with a reputation management firm like Blue Ocean.
Our brand executives will assist you in developing a comprehensive strategy to enhance and maintain your online reputation. Depending on your situation, we may suggest requesting content removal, creating additional content to rank higher, or both to enhance the search results associated with your name. For additional information, please contact us.
Content that appears anywhere that you have full control over what is posted is considered owned media—you fully control what it is, what it says, and how it portrays you and your brand. Examples include your website and your blog.
In other areas, you might have limited control over the media linked to your personal brand. Social media sites are a great example of this—although you don’t have full control over LinkedIn or Facebook, you are able to manage your own profile on the platform.
Earned media is the result of someone else either talking about you or promoting your content. In many cases, this can be a good thing, such as when as news site quotes you as an expert, an industry site publishes a bylined article you authored, or a review site highlights the stellar service you and your team provided.
However, earned media can also be negative. Poor reviews, scathing exposés, and nasty comments about you in online forums are examples of the kind of earned media you want to avoid.
Want control over your message and its audience on a platform you don’t own? You can have it, but you’ll have to pay for it—thus the label paid media. Advertising is the only way to control your message in places that do not belong to you or your company. Unlike reviews and articles that others write about you, Google search ads, display ads, social media ads, and print ads allow you to connect with people directly and tell them exactly what you want them to know about you.
A Blue Ocean branding expert can tailor a strategy to create or restore your online presence that includes some (or all) of these different types of media. Contact us today for more information.
Branding experts providing proven strategies
Your online reputation can unquestionably influence your business and bottom line in a significant way, so investing in the proper maintenance of your online brand should be a priority.
Blue Ocean can help. By starting with a baseline audit of your online reputation and then monitoring it on an ongoing basis, addressing any issues that arise, and helping you optimize opportunities to boost your online presence, our brand experts can ensure that your online presence truly reflects your personal brand.
Whether you want to remove negative search results, fortify a weak or nonexistent online presence, or improve the quality and effectiveness of your existing search results, Blue Ocean has the strategies and tactics to make things happen.
What are reputation management companies?
Reputation management companies are companies that:
- Develops a content marketing plan for your website
- Manages your online reputation on social media platforms
- Resolve issues that influence your reputation
- Manage customer reviews
- Provide means for potential customers to become familiar with your brand
- Help you rank on the first page of Google searches