Let me suggest four tips that will help you effectively manage your online reputation:
Don’t forget your brand is every touch point - If you’re like me, your Facebook and Google+, and other social media accounts include close friends, family, and a number of your professional associates. I try not to say or do anything on social media that would poorly reflect on my personal brand. What’s more, I don’t think you could keep them separate (and private) even if you tried. Therefore, I don’t mind sharing my personal interests with my friends, but I am careful that anything I promote online doesn’t reflect negatively on my professional image.
If you argue online you lose - Arguing online is like shouting at your neighbor standing in the middle of the cul-de-sac. Everyone can hear you and you look like an idiot. My wife is not a big fan of social media because she doesn’t like to draw undue attention to herself. If you’re online there’s nothing you can do about that, and if your business has a social media presence, you will occasionally have to address a complaint (nobody’s perfect, right?).
Be polite and remember the golden rule - I have long thought that the immediacy of the medium shouldn’t dictate how we interact or how we approach the conversation. I once worked with a man who was always curt in his text messages and came across course and rude. I’m sure he didn’t intend to be that way, but he definitely wasn’t trying to be courteous. This hurt his personal brand.
Remember that what happens online stays online - This isn’t the same as what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas either. I’m often amazed at what comes up in search—articles or comments I’ve made years ago still seem to show up from time to time. Some of which I wish wouldn’t. Nevertheless, unlike your wife or your best friend, the Internet never forgets.
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