How Can I Protect My Online Reputation?

Putting your best foot forward isn’t just important when you’re out in public. It’s equally vital in the digital arena.

As intangible as Internet opinions and web content often seem, they play massive roles in how others relate to you. Your online presence is more important than ever, and it could impact everything from your dating life to employment prospects. Luckily, many companies are committed to helping you portray your best self in the growing digital ecosystem.

What Is Reputation Management?

Reputation management takes many forms, and it usually seeks to control narratives about a given subject. For instance, an entrepreneur or local business leader could jump into a complaint thread on social media to promote their recent product improvements. People may engage in reputation management after perceiving themselves as being slandered or accused, especially when such events influence public discourse.

How does reputation management work? Providers use a variety of techniques to influence the widely held opinions of social groups. For instance, they might publish articles concerning a client’s charity work or recent business successes. Someone who gets arrested without being convicted might hire a reputation manager to get their mug shots removed from publicly accessible databases, so they can seek employment.

Companies and public figures employ highly specialized methods to control and clean up their online reputations. For instance, many firms devote ample time to reputation monitoring. They keep track of what people are saying in the hopes of gauging opinions and gently influencing discussions by contributing factual, well-reasoned ideas.

Reputation management isn’t only about ferreting out negative feedback. For many professionals and entrepreneurs, it’s just as essential to building authority. By promoting blogs, search results, articles, and other content that depicts you as a reputable source of knowledge, reputation management helps you look better and connect with more people who value your talents.

Why Your Online Reputation Matters

When online presences first hit the scene, netizens didn’t quite know what to make of them. While they knew they were on the cusp of something big, people were still tackling tough questions, such as how to leverage their profiles for career gain, enterprise, and other purposes.

Of course, people weren’t utterly lost. Predictions that profiles would replace resumes later proved largely correct, and the shift toward a more digital existence only picked up steam from there. As more people caught on to how easy it was to stay connected with their favorite friends and media personalities, they reciprocated by sharing more about themselves.

Today, having an online presence is overwhelmingly the social norm. As such, it’s expected in spaces like the business arena. For instance, a noteworthy CareerBuilder survey from 2017 revealed that 70 percent of employers screened their candidates via social media before making hiring offers.

One 2016 Linkedin analysis of how candidates found jobs showed that networking played a role in filling 85 percent of all positions. Most people prefer the convenience of digital networking over classic alternatives, so it stands to reason that having a well-maintained online profile might prove advantageous for job-seekers.

What can you take away from the importance of online reputations? Above all, it’s worth taking the time to represent yourself properly. Even if you’re not currently seeking employment, online profiles last forever. Therefore, something that you posted in your high school or college days could come back to bite you hard later.

Cleaning up your social media profile and online reputation is about taking charge of how you represent yourself online. Unlike waiting around for a disaster to occur before making a mad PR scramble, adopting a proactive approach keeps you in control. Since you can search for unsavory information or dubious social posts at your leisure, you stand a higher chance of successfully finding and eliminating the blemishes that threaten your digital life.

Although reputation management services aren’t free, the cost is usually worth it. For instance, paying a bit to clean up your reputation now might let you tap into a much larger income when you land a good job down the line. If you want to advance your career or start a business as an entrepreneur, then having a spotless public image will do wonders for your credibility.

The Best Reputation Management Services

Fortunately for those who suffer from negative online reputations, you don’t have to tackle all the cleanup legwork yourself. Here are some companies that can help.

ReputationDefender

ReputationDefender is well-known as an industry mainstay. With an online presence dating back to 2006 and numerous reputation management patents, it provides its million-plus customers a range of services.

ReputationDefender packages revolve around above-board, or whitehat, techniques, such as creating professional content and websites that promote positive aspects of your persona. The firm offers year-long engagements starting at $3,000.

BrandYourself

BrandYourself was started in 2012. Today, the firm gives private individuals the chance to manage their own reputations, clean up their social media presences, and protect their privacy using custom software tools.

BrandYourself attempts to educate its users about the opportunities they’re squandering by having bad reputations. In addition to free reputation reports, the company’s software provides a lost earning potential calculator, machine learning algorithms to scan your posts and images, and a variety of other hands-on tools. Anyone can use the free version to explore their reputation, but those who want advanced perks, such as urgent service, customized reputation strategies, and dedicated management assistance, will have to pay at least $400 monthly.

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