Editor's note: Amanbir Dhade is an MBA student in the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI and has taken ISM 7505: Inbound Information Technology.
What’s in a Name? Your Guide to Online Reputation Management
"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.”Warren Buffett
In a world where any prospective employer is theoretically a Google search away from discovering your 2012 escapades, it is ever important for us to be fully aware of how we are perceived online.
Many of us think that because we don’t post on any social media forums and keep our photos safely tucked away in our phones, our reputation must be pristine, right? Wrong. We live in a pull economy where potential clients, employers and even those in your social network will often scope you out online before connecting with you in person.
Just as corporations and brands need to mold and shape how the public perceives them, individuals increasingly need to consider the picture painted by their social media profile or web presence. A blank canvas will not help you close any deals. Its about more then erasing the negatives, its about painting a picture that will make a great first impression.
Here are 5 things you can do in the next 5 minutes to improve your personal brand online.
5) Take an Inventory
Try searching your name on Google to see what comes up. This will give you an idea of exactly what your strengths and weaknesses are. Another great search engine is SocialMention.com. To keep appraised of any mentions in the future you can set up a Google alert for specific keywords.
4) Take Control of Your Brand
This is as simple as setting up a social media profile. By opening a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account you immediately have a search engine optimized digital representation of yourself.
You also might consider investing in a website with your name. Think of this as your digital resume. You won’t necessarily list your work experience here but it is a good place to share recent examples of your work or news that is relevant to your industry.
3) Add a photo to your LinkedIn Profile
We all know that you want your work to speak for itself but think back to the last time you were browsing for something you wanted to buy online. If the seller omitted a photo didn’t you think to yourself that something might be wrong with the product and just move on to the next listing. At the risk of being too simplistic this is essentially what people do to each other online. It is a fact that Linkedin profiles with photos are seven times more likely to be viewed than those that have no image.
That being said, ensure you use a picture that show’s you at your professional best. Also ensure you use a photo that resembles your current appearance and not how you looked 20 years ago. It’s not about looks it is about honesty. The last thing you want at a job interview is for your recruiter to be distracted from your answers by what they perceive to be a deceptive tacit on your part.
2) Create Content
There has to be some topic you know or care enough about that you could write about it. Now try to frame that information in such a way that it might be able to help someone answer a question they may have. By creating content you are providing a resource for others who are looking for information on a given topic.
1) Give it Away for Free
Once you have created your content offer to share what you know with credible industry websites. It may seem counterintuitive to just give away the knowledge but it’s a good deed that will greatly benefit your online reputation.
By syndicating your content to top ranking websites you are associating yourself with their brand. Third party sites offer validation and often have much higher search engine rankings than a single blog or social media profile. The links will drive traffic to your site and hopefully translate into more customers.
By completing five relatively easy tasks you have turned a blank slate into a billboard. Next time a potential employer searches your name they will see your poised professional LinkedIn profile a along with examples of your industry knowledge.