As kids, all of us must have one time or the other come across our parents or teachers saying this – “Behave yourself in public”. As we grow to be wiser and more mature, we realize the value of that phrase. While in those good old days ‘public’ meant our neighborhood or school, it’s no more just confined to that. Now ‘public’ means more of our online followers, alliances, friends, or acquaintances and the search engines too. Hence in this cyber generation it has become immensely vital for us to wisely manage our online reputation.

When my uncle was searching a right groom for my cousin, he happened to point at one of the shortlisted guys and said, “This one seems quite right. His Facebook and LinkedIn profile project him well.” This statement of his served as an eye opener to me. It brought to light that our online presence and the way we are presented, talks a lot about us. But, is it always possible to be projected in the right way, considering the freedom an internet user has to talk or post about anyone or any brand?

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Well, if it was possible for the potential groom I mentioned earlier, so is for anyone and any brand.

But how? How do you manage your online reputation?

Online reputation management no doubt, requires skill. Hence I would insist that you hire a professional to get it done (especially if you are a brand / company). Else, you can follow these basic and primary ways to monitor your online presence,

  1. Register for Alerts: The internet’s, specifically a search engine’s prime motto is to enable you to know everything about anything. The ‘Alerts’ is just another facility from the search engines, that enables you to stay updated on literally anything. You can use the tool to stay updated about yourself or your brand. That way, you get an alert every time you or your brand gets posted about, reviewed, or discussed about. You can effortless get to know what the world thinks of you. Some such email alert facilities are Google Alerts, Yahoo Alerts and TweetBeep.

     

  2. Social Media Searching: With all the pro coding and programming, almost all social media/networking sites have implemented self hosted search engines. Through these capable search engines, you can fetch all your past activities or the activities of you brand. Know who is talking about you or your brand is just a piece of cake. Do this on a regular basis to be sure you are not letting someone spoil your image on such high traffic sites.

     

  3. Keep track of Reviews: Have a keen eye on what the regular reviewers at the most sought after review sites have to say about you. This enables you to put efforts towards bringing down a negative review (if any) before it gets noticed by your potential clients or alliances.

     

  4. Ask for Feedback: This works wonders for any brand. It is probably the only way (off the ones I listed here) that lets you know about yourself straight from your allies or clients. To make it easier for them to judge you, you can give them over some questionnaire about their experience with you, or a checklist designed to let you measure your reputation amongst them.

     

  5. Keep track of forums: Online forums are yet another place where chances are that you or your brand, get mentioned. There are many online tools that make this work facile, which otherwise can get you nuts. One such tool is – BoardTracker. It gives you a scoop of all your online forum mentions.

     

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While monitoring and managing your online reputation is huge task in itself, you can play safe by employing one or all of the tactics I shared with you.

Author bio details: Nancy Barton is a professional writer and editor specialized in writing about search engine optimization, brand protection and online reputation management.