With current technology, information can be accessed by a majority of online world in split seconds. The internet spreads information faster than word of mouth. You never know who gets to read about you. For entrepreneurs, how you are perceived by your connections can have tremendous effect on your business. As one who posts (sometimes personal) information online, your reputation matters as well. The importance of managing your online reputation cannot be underestimated.

Here is how to ensure that only correct information about you is accessible over the internet:

Have an active social media presence. Are you on any of the social networking platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn? You should be active on all these networks. Update helpful and engaging content frequently and ensure that your profile gives accurate and positive information. Doing this helps you respond to any negative information that could easily ruin your online reputation.

Subscribe to Google Alerts. Setting up the Google Alert service for any mention of your name will help you know if any new content shows up. Notifications are sent to your inbox as well, so you have an easier way to keep up with new mentions. You can also use Mention to do the same thing.

Get your own domain name. By owning a personal domain name and ensuring that positive content is updated through it, critics will show up much less in Google searches. On the domain, you can have a short bio, your professional CV, share an own story and interesting articles.

Centralize your content. Free websites can allow you to put up professional content. For instance, on WordPress and Tumblr, you can access well designed templates, thus negating the need for a website designer. You can then link up these websites with your main website. Better still, WordPress and Tumblr do offer domain names.

Take charge of what shows up on social networks. If you notice a photo that you are tagged in that you don’t appreciate, then remove your name from the tag.

Personalize the privacy settings on Facebook. The settings are there to be personalized. Access them and ensure that you control who gets to see what is on your profile.

Be professional on Twitter. Participate in professional discussions that are relevant. Be mindful of your grammar and spelling, too.

Utilize SEO. When negative issues about you are raised, ranking high on Google will save the day. Search Engine Optimization techniques will ensure that your name appears on relevant and authority sites, which is great for your reputation.

Google yourself. It’s good to know what negative content may be related to you, and there may be people with similar names who could be involved in some crazy things. Googling yourself keeps you in the loop, and you can respond to anyone who may misinterpret certain information.

While many things may change, a good name will remain an important part of every human interaction. [tweet this]

You need to really care about your reputation. If you find it hard to perform the named actions, you can pay a reputation manager to do it for you. The bottom line is to have so much good information out there about yourself that no negative news can ever block it out.


Maria Elena Duron, is managing editor of the Personal Branding Blog, CEO (chief engagement officer) of buzz2bucks– a word of mouth marketing firm, and a professional speaker and trainer on developing social networks that work. She provides workshops, webinars, seminars and direct services that help create conversation, connection, credibility, community and commerce around your brand.  Maria Duron is founder and moderator of #brandchat – a weekly Twitter chat focused on every aspect of branding that is recognized by Mashable as one the 15 Essential Twitter Chats for Social Media Marketers.

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