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Published March 23rd 2012

How Important is YOUR Reputation?

Tom Powell, who is an online reputation management expert, explains how reputation management doesn’t just apply to brands, but to individuals too. He works at Reputation 24/7.

Online reputation management is a service usually taken on by businesses that require monitoring of what is said about their brand or product online whether from a brand awareness perspective, customer service point of view, or to protect themselves against online attacks.

Tools like Brandwatch are able to let users track mentions of a brand across blogs, news sites, forums and social networks, so that negative or damaging content online can be tracked and addressed.

In the case of major brands, making sure what people are saying about them and protecting their reputation and brand identity is essential to their business. Consider how valuable Apple’s brand is to them, for example.

In some cases online reputation management is also utilised by individuals such as those in high profile jobs or those living a lifestyle where they are constantly in the public eye such as musicians, TV stars or sports personalities.

Individuals to ensure that their name cannot be tarnished online by common occurrences such as:

  • Domain squatting – These are domain names associated with your name (e.g. JoeBloggs.com) that may be registered before you obtain them. These can often be filled with misleading information, or more likely just advertisements for a competitor’s benefit.
  • Social profile hijacking – This is when an imposter registers your profiles on social media or social networking websites to imitate you. There is great potential for them to act inappropriately, therefore making you out to look bad.
  • Negative feedback online – There is always the chance that someone out there who has a grudge against you may wish to impair your reputation online. This could be a post on a forum, a blog or a social network which reflects badly upon you.

There are multiple ways to protect your name from being slandered online, such as:

  • The best way to keep track of your reputation is by using social media monitoring tools. However, many of these are designed for top-end brands and may be prohibitively expensive for individuals. There’s no reason celebrities (or their staff) couldn’t use Brandwatch to keep an eye on mentions of them across the web.
  • Registering your name with multiple domain name TLD extensions and promoting these domains with sites of your own. You could even run a blog with regular updates.
  • Setting up profiles across the most popular social media and social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter, and enhancing this by maintaining an active presence to show that it is the official page.
  • Upload any associated media which you don’t mind sharing with the world to media hosting and distribution sites, such as YouTube and Flickr.

Even if you have never received bad press or a negative opinion expressed against your name online, it may still be worthwhile participating in creating an online presence so that you are prepared for the worst, and have some level of control over what people can find and read about you online.

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