5 Steps to Controlling Your Personal Online Reputation

Personal reputation management is a growing trend, and has been for awhile as corporate professionals and business owners continue to realize the power of building their own brand.

Controlling your personal reputation online depends on what you’re trying to achieve and how much time and effort you have to put into it. Get started managing the brand of you with these basic steps.

1. Register your name across all major social media accounts.

Thanks to the advent of social media, potential employers and anybody who wants to learn more about you can find you pretty easily. Control what appears in search results by owning your name in all the major social platforms, including:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube

If you work in a field with an industry-specific social network, register your name there too.

2. Set up privacy controls.

Most social platforms give you privacy options, so only yourself or connections can see certain information on your profile. Set your privacy setting to the equivalent of “Friends Only” or “Friends of Friends Allowed.”

Additionally, you may be able to adjust the privacy setting of individual updates. But a word of caution: privacy controls don’t stop your friends from sharing your posts, so a photo you thought was between you and the guys could suddenly affect your job search if the guys are sharing it publicly.

The best way to make sure no one sees anything you don’t want them to see is to never let it go online in the first place.

3. Be active enough.

If you’re not active on your social accounts, they won’t show up in search results, leaving lots of room on the first page of Google for other things to appear. Sharing, commenting, or posting something new at least once a week on the major social platforms should be good enough for basic personal reputation management.

If you are an executive in your company or trying to build thought leadership, you need to be a lot more active–at least one post on each network and plenty of shares and comments daily.

4. Own your branded domain name.

In addition to social media accounts, exact and partial match domains tend to show up well in search results. So when people search for “John Smith” they are likely to see results like JohnSmith.com, JohnSmith.net, and JohnSmith.wordpress.com as well as John Smith’s social media accounts.

If you’re just trying to control how you appear online, you don’t necessarily need to add any content to the website. You want to own your own domain name so no one else can use it. But if you have the time, it doesn’t hurt to create a blog or portfolio on your site to show off your skills and build your brand.

5. Use personal homepage sites to pull everything together.

Buying domain names, getting hosting, and setting up a website costs money. If you don’t want to spend much to manage your personal online reputation (or if you’re a college student and don’t have much to spend), you can use personal homepage sites like About.me or Flavors.me to create a hub for all your content online.

These free pages tend to rank very well and include a short bio, a photo, and links to your social accounts. You can even attach your branded domain name to the personal homepage to give it more weight in search engine results.

And here’s a new video I did with Online Reputation Management Tips: