27 Jun Why You Need to Do A Regular Reputation Audit…And How To Do It
Doing an Online Reputation Audit
Whether you run your own business or work for an organisation, reputation is a precious thing. It can take years to build up, and seconds to destroy. Once upon a time all people could do was gossip behind your back. Today, in our digital landscape, it is quite possible for your reputation to mutate without you even knowing anything about it. Until it’s too late.
This is why I encourage everyone, whatever their work status, to watch what’s happening with their online reputation. My suggestion is to carry out a 360 reputation analysis at least every year. Here’s how you do it:
Step One: Are You There?
Let’s start by doing a Google search on your name. Are you there? If you’re not that means you will be equally elusive to anyone else. While you don’t have to have your name plastered over the search engines, a complete absence is slightly odd. You should be showing up on LinkedIn at least.
Talking of LinkedIn, did you know that you have to tick a box to show your profile picture to people who aren’t your connections? If you don’t , all they will see is one of those place-holders. This is hardly profile enhancing.
Consider ways in which you can start to appear in the search engines. Perhaps you can contribute a guest article to an online magazine or blog for your niche, or maybe your LinkedIn page needs a bit of work. Even if having your own website isn’t on your priority list, you can claim your digital space with a free site at https://about.me/. Claim your own name now, before someone else does!
Step Two: Damage Limitation
This is a useful site that will take you through the places you appear online and point out any potential issue: https://brandyourself.com
If you’re seeing something online about yourself that you don’t like, contact the webmaster for that particular site. You can also approach Google about removing that page from the search engines. However, there does need to be a valid reason such as sensitive data. You can find out more about that at: https://support.google.com/websearch/troubleshooter/3111061?hl=en
Step Three: Social Media Sweep
Make a list of every social media site you might be on. Don’t forget to check the less popular ones in case you’ve made an account on them and forgotten all about it. This happens a lot! Look through your profiles and hone in on:
- Bad grammar and typos
- Blurred pictures or photos that are out of date (did you really grow a beard?)
- Any posts you may not be happy about
- People you no longer want to be connected to, whether for personal or professional reasons
- Any posts or photos that you may be tagged in and are appearing on your timelines.
You may even decide to take yourself on some sites altogether as you haven’t got time to update your status etc. It’s far more effective to concentrate on your favourite few than be seen everywhere.
Step Five: Address Privacy
Next, check your settings. While you want to be found on LinkedIn, you may want to set Facebook to private. Here you probably wany more control over who is looking at your page. With our recent privacy scares, you might want to check privacy settings more than once a year.
Don’t just keep to the big ones. Think about any profiles you may have on sites like Mumsnet, World of Warhammer or work related forums. Whilst you may well have used a nickname for some of these it is worth double checking.
Step Six: Focus On Your Brand
Brands always use the same small number of photos over and over again. Take a lesson from them and use your best photo for every profile. If you’re not happy with it, spend a morning with a creative friend getting some good shots. Alternatively, pay a professional photographer for a headshot. I recommend Lucy Williams who did the picture I’ve used for this article.
Doing an annual review of your profiles also mean that you can keep your photos up to date which makes you look professional. This is helpful if you’re online dating at the same time!