Recover Reputation offers some “real world” comments and additional suggestions.
Cheryl Lock, the author of “Is Online Reputation Management Worth The Money?” published on Forbes.com, does a very good job of presenting the need for online reputation management, and offers some helpful “do it yourself” solutions.
The article starts with a young job seeker looking to change positions but is shocked by what he finds online. When searching for his name on Google, another person with an identical name but different middle initial is a sex offender. Needless to say, this is a disaster, and most prospective employers would just go on to the next resume, even though it would take a moment to see that they are indeed different people.
To pause here for a moment, in my experience, separating oneself from someone with similar name can be very challenging, especially when working with sites such as mugshots.com, bustedoffenders.com or complaintsboard.com.
I recently had a similar case where both the client and his cousin, who was accused of siphoning funds from an investment firm, shared the same name. Because both people can have similar online presences, separating the good profile from negative one can be tricky and very time consuming. Plan on six months or longer to resolve this issue is my estimate, as well as plenty of work generating the right content.
The article mentions creating LinkedIn and Facebook accounts, which are great suggestions. But it should be emphasized that it’s not enough to just set them up.
To be successful, you must be an active participant in any social media platform. So: join Groups, make thoughtful comments (not just, “great post!”), engage with users or followers, and publish photos or interesting articles frequently.
The Forbes article also mentions that not everyone believes that using an online reputation management firm or consultant is necessary because of the availability of many free tools.
This is partially true, I think. Yes, free tools do exist, but using them effectively is complex and requires experience. In reality, English (or whatever language you speak), is the best “tool”, and yes—its free! But crafting your online reputation, especially if it’s negative, is not easy, and is very time consuming. Most campaigns take an expert about 200 hours to complete. Doing it for the first time, like anything, could take much, much longer.
Creating a Google alert is very helpful. It’s quick, easy and free. It sends an email notification whenever something about you or your business (or any phrase) is published online. Note that it does not cover things like Twitter or Facebook, except if it’s indexed by Google.
Completing social media profiles is another great idea. It’s very important to fill out all the information to add credibility to your potential clients, and as a way to boost your search rankings.
Flooding the web with good content is one of the best solutions. Blogging is one of the best ways, but don’t forget about adding visual information, such as photos, presentations, and videos.
Be civil and professional online, and avoid posting party pictures, writing excessive political rants, or engaging in angry forum discussions.
Some additional thoughts not mentioned in the article is to actively use social media daily, make comments on blogs related to your industry, and write content with a focus, based on keywords or good search terms.
The Bottom Line
Cheryl Lock’s article “Is Online Reputation Management Worth The Money,” published on Forbes.com offers some great insights and possible solutions, but in some cases, “the big guns” might be necessary to repair a damaged online reputation management.