Raz Chorev | Socially Acceptable..
online presence, Personal Branding, Social media

Protecting your online reputation

I don’t know if this is co-incidental, but about a week ago one of my clients told me that his son, in the last stage of completing his degree, has a couple of days off (studies) per week, and asked if I can help him find a position with an accounting firm I was recently working with.
A day later, I receive this article, from a sales trainer (Sales Gravy – Jeb Blount) I subscribe to, depicting a similar scenario (hopefully without a similar outcome!).

Colin hung up the phone and just stood there shaking his head. He had pulled strings to get his son, Perry, an interview at one of the most well-respected accounting firms in the country. With an MBA from a top tier business school and his connections, Perry should have been a shoo-in. Then he got the call. Before the offer letter went out, the hiring manager googled his son’s name and found pictures of him doing bong hits at a college party. These were pictures from five years earlier that someone else had posted and tagged. Nevertheless, Colin’s son’s reputation had taken a major hit and the offer was withdrawn – game over.

We live in the Age of Transparency. Anyone, anywhere, anytime can get a snapshot of you with a simple web search. Your managers, peers, prospects, and people you meet are checking you out online. Savvy prospects and customers are doing research on you before meetings. What are they finding when they google you? Your online presence plays a crucial role in building your reputation. If you ignore it, it will be at your own peril. You must control what people find when they search for you on the web.

In the rest of the article, there were some useful ideas, which I’ve discussed before, regarding protection of your online personal brand. To summarize, there are 3 basic steps we all need to take:

I Googled you

1. Awareness – we need to know 2 things:    a. We all may have an online presence, whether we’ve created it, or someone else had.
b. We can “influence” Google’s search results.
2. Activity – we need to be active online, so when people are Googling us, they find what we want them to find.
3. Monitoring – make it a habit to monitor the online world, and make sure our reputation is spotless. After all, the only thing we take with us out of this world, is our reputation.

Awareness

Google your name in quotation

marks. It is important to see what comes up on the first page. The first page of a google search result is precious real-estate. If you don’t like what you see set goals to get more positive links about YOU on page one through blogging, articles, contributions, and social medial profiles.
There is a lot of room for experimentation, so use your talents and skills to communicate in your own unique way. Second, this experimentation has led to collaboration, and smart people are sharing information all the time.

Activity

Make sure you make time every day for “learning”. Look over sites and information to keep up with the developments in social media.

Develop Content. Blogging is a great way to share your knowledge, collaborate with others and be seen as an expert in your field. Some people recommend blogging 3 times a week. Other avenues could be whitepapers, audio recordings, slide presentations and videos.

Build Relationships. Building and maintaining relationships has never been easier. Those of us in sales and marketing have always known the value of relationship building (People Buy YOU), but now everyone needs to make it a priority. Make sure you have complete profiles on LinkedIn and Facebook.
Twitter is a fantastic source of information, and an excellent place to learn. Social media is an excellent way to build relationships, but don’t forget the value of face to face meetings, phone calls, hand written notes, and emails. It’s good to focus on important clients and influencers, but leave room for the “accidental” connections. Social media networking can be serendipitous, you never know which person may lead you to a new connection or client.

Monitoring

Social media alerts (Google or Social Mention) are a great (and FREE!!) way to monitor your name and/or industry. If something important happens in your industry you’ll receive an email, bringing it to your attention. Now that you know about it, you can comment. If someone says something positive, a thank you goes a long way. If there is negative chatter starting up around your name or company, alerts keep you on top of it and you can jump in and take care of things quickly. Addictomatic is a fantastic site for big picture monitoring.

Based on a enewsletter article written by Jeb Blount, and Fauzia Burke

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  • http://dazza.id.au/rides Darrell Burkey

    There’s another side to the story at the beginning of this article. I’d say the accounting firm is probably the loser here, not the applicant.

    If they were to fire everyone in their firm that ever tried drugs when young, then I doubt they would have any staff left.

    How hypocritical of the hiring manager. Do you think he/she never took a hit off a bong or did something stupid, or something they are not proud of in the past?

    Honestly, if the applicant met the selection criteria and passed the interview that should be good enough.

    I don’t think in this day and age you can put that much stock in what you find out about people online. It’s just an indicator. Get to know them in person before you pass judgment or you may be doing yourself a disservice.

    As I said, I think the applicant is probably better off not working for that firm so in a funny way it all worked out well IMHO.

    • http://www.razchorev.com Raz Chorev

      Darrell, in principal you’re right. People shouldn’t make judgement based on online searches. They also shouldn’t “judge books by their covers”.
      Unfortunately they do. Both.
      There are two ways we can handle it: We can say – “you shouldn’t do that!” and wave our righteous flags, crying for second chance (interview), or, we can accept the way of the world, and think about the way we are perceived in the eyes of potential employers, partners, clients, or in-laws.
      It will require less “explaining” later. The choice is ours.

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