When was the last time you Googled yourself?
If you haven’t, you definitely should, because people are going to. And what they find will affect their perception of you. In fact, a 2015 survey showed that one in four Americans admit to being negatively affected by information about them online.
That outlook can play a major role in your ability to land a job and the success of a business. So you need to have a clean online reputation. Here are five tips for improving – and subsequently dominating – your online reputation.
1. Assess and clean
Start by looking at how you stand online. Everyone has a different online presence, and you need to know yours before you can work on improving it.
Give yourself a quick Google, Bing, and Yahoo search to see what pops up. Are the results about you, or people that share your name? Is your name showing up on good Web pages or is it all negative?
For better results, use Incognito or Private window so the search isn’t skewed.
Don’t forget to check images as well to see what comes up.
2. Grab domains and social properties
A captivating online identity is as important in the virtual world as a good personality is when you meet someone face-to-face.
Whether you’re planning to share a blog, photo-album or a splash page, the combination of your name and a cool domain makes your brand truly unique. With new gTLDs, it’s easy to showcase your creativity as well as stay memorable.
This is prime digital real estate that you can’t afford to give to other people.
Turn these websites into a positive information hub about yourself people can find when they search for you. Throw up a bio with your job experience, a little blog, and a contact page. Also include an awards page and a press page if you want.
You also need to take this approach to social media. Grab any social media account you can relating to your name so that other people can’t get them.
3. Understand your goals and UVP
Of course it takes more than just buying a domain and taking up valuable social real estate to change search results. In order to really improve your online presence you need to be consistently active online and get some attention and engagement for it.
So how do you effectively manage your time online?
Well that really depends on your goals. What’s the purpose of improving your online reputation? Is it because you want a different job? Are you aiming to secure more business? Or is it something you’re doing in preparation for launching a venture down the line?
How you answer these questions will determine how you should behave online.
You also need to understand your Unique Value Proposition. This basically means understanding what you can offer people.
Who is that you’re helping, and what are you helping them with? What is it that sets you apart from all the other people looking to solve this problem?
Understand your passions and the audience you’re trying to reach and it’s easy to understand how you’re better at this than others.
4. Develop a strategy for content and social media
After coming up with a strategy for your online activity you need to get started with a real plan.
To get started, you need to understand how you can delight your audience while also being able to push your personal brand. Ask yourself what the target audience already knows about you and your products, and what you feel they should know in order for you to reach your goals.
How you do this really depends on you and your audience.
If you reach out to young entrepreneurs and other professionals who understand they need to promote themselves, but not how to do it, then you should provide content that informs these people how to do just that.
Understand what your audience wants to know gets you started on winning their attention and approval, as well as improving your following.
5. Create and stick to a posting schedule
Now that you’ve done all this strategizing the next step is to create a plan and follow through. You need to establish when you publish content and post on social media.
You can’t just tell yourself you’ll post when you get the chance.
It’s critical that updating your social media be included in your schedule, just like you would schedule an important meeting.
Work out how often you want to be posting in a day or a week and then follow through with the plan. You should keep an active social media presence throughout the week and post some original content once a month at the very least.
Don’t forget to use these 21 tips for being awesome online so you can keep track of your reputation online, schedule content, and further expand your following.
Follow these five steps and you can clean up your social media presence in no time and not need to worry about what might come up if someone were to search your name.