Having a presence on the World Wide Web is a must for everybody nowadays – whether you’re a job seeker, a small business owner or a boss of a large corporation. Not only is it crucial for networking, but also important in order to ‘control the message’ related to your name or business. Especially if you haven’t launched your own website yet and belong to a profession which is regularly discussed in online chat forums and professional rating websites – then you definitely need to become proactive.
Here are 7 tips what to do to manage your internet presence and take control of your online reputation:
1. Reputation management in the internet age requires commitment, willingness to communicate and openness to new technology trends. Google yourself. If you don’t exist online, that’s bad. If there are websites with unflattering stuff (binge parties etc.) about you (or another person with the exact same name) in the first 10 search results, that’s worse. Act immediately.
2. Take control of your web presence. Start to create of improve your online brand today. If you don’t have a personal website, don’t waste any time anymore. Don’t go for a cheap solution. It will look unprofessional. Hire a web designer or an internet consultant to help you to create visually appealing website to reflect sincerity and credibility. Even better, add a blog to your site. These economically challenging times are the perfect opportunity to be proactive and stand out from the crowd.
3. Update your website regularly. Add new content at least once, ideally two to four times weekly. Write about your biggest passion, write articles discussing your specialty, or share news about your industry, for example. Weblog software products, such as WordPress or Typepad are user-friendly and therefore ideal content management systems for your website.
4. Use the internet to advertise your services. Many online directories like AnyWho.com offer to publish your website and business profile at no charge or for a low fee. It’s also highly recommended to create a profile on LinkedIn, the most popular and fastest-growing social networking site for professionals worldwide. Take advantage of all the possibilities the internet offers today to promote yourself, make new contacts and grow your business!
5. Initiate a dialog. If you have been mentioned on one of these rating websites, address any negative comments and respond to them. Many opinion forums will publish your answer directly below the comment about you. Make sure your response is factual and refrain from adding personal insults. Enable comments on your websites, interact with your readers – and be part of the online conversation in your niche or industry.
6. Continue to monitor what’s being discussed about you. Set up a Google Alert – or check with Twitter Search what kind of comments have been made about you. If you find negative remarks – try to establish a dialogue and find our the reasons for the criticism. Don’t let emotions get in your way.
7. Don’t sue – communicate instead.. Unless somebody’s comment is completely false, defamatory and has a damaging effect on your business. Before you take action in the heat of the battle, talk to your attorney or another legal advisor about your options.
Last, but not least. If you run a business, remember this: The importance of the World Wide Web as a consumer empowerment tool will continue to escalate. Countless other service providers and product manufacturers have accepted this new reality and faced it head-on. Take a leading role and use the opportunity to create a positive image with existing and potential customers by developing a well-defined internet communication strategy.
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