Let’s engage in a small exercise. Launch your browser, and hover over to your right to locate the buttons that will lead you to surfing the web in incognito mode. There yet? Fantastic. Now, feed your name into the search bar or that of your company and hit search!
What do you see? Today, I would like us to explore this little unknown topic of online reputation in the digital age.
We’ve all heard stories of how certain candidates lost lucrative job opportunities just because of a tweet. In other stories, how a company lost everything after it emerged that it was entangled in some scandalous dealings.
It’s reported that in the United Kingdom (UK) 80% of employers conduct active searches online for all job applicants before inviting them for an interview and another 45% say they frequently carry out these searches for their existing employees. Why do you reckon?
Why is it important to control your online reputation?
We grew up hearing, first impressions matter. Well, I am here to drill down this point. More so now, when anyone in the world can get information on you – first impressions have never mattered more.
Looking at the digital ecosystem made up of social media profiles, blogs and countless other online communities – which it’s now a given you have used – what do you think people will discover when they perform a light search on you? How many of these digital platforms do you have full access to?
Having total control of your digital channels is one surefire way of starting your online reputation journey. Take matters into your own hands. To fully be in control, here are 3 areas you need to review for you to manage your online reputation.
- Social Media Profiles
8-year-olds with phones today either have tik tok accounts, Instagram or any of the others. To say, that social media is still that shiny red thing – is false.
Despite their being new players in the social media networking game – Facebook has maintained its lead over the years.
Social media has evolved from mere social networks to serious media channels. On average, every 60 seconds will see 510,000 comments, 293,000 statuses and 136,000 photos published on Facebook alone. Making these social media channels today integral means of communication and its users staying up-to-date with current affairs, the news.
Suppose you have had your accounts for over 3 years now, we can safely say there is likely to be a large amount of historical content on your profile. With the existence of such content, you may not have considered the possibility of it being reviewed, and judged accordingly, by others (potentially prospective employers) in the future.
If that is the case, what is it that employers are stumbling on, on these social media streets that are persuading them to eliminate candidates from consideration?
Here are a few we have compiled for you. Unprofessional screen names and inappropriate photos, to extremities such as racism, drinking/drugs and boasting about criminal behavior.
TIP: Check all your accounts and review your privacy settings on all of your social profiles. This will allow you to see who can view the content you share, and enable you to adjust it accordingly.
2. Search Engine Results
In their pursuit of great candidates, employers aren’t stopping their vetting on social media.
Today 80% of employers in the UK have admitted to searching for applicants on Google before inviting them for an interview, with 45% saying they do so frequently for existing employees.
We recommend that you regularly; fire up your browser of choice, and feed your name into Google, along with variations such as the company you currently work for or your job title.
The results you get back (SERP) search results – are they all appropriate listings that you have control over, and are the images featured all suitable?
Should the engine spit back something you don’t like, then immediately you need to initiate a reputation management campaign.
3. Domain Names
Domain names and their registration should not be a preserve of companies alone. If you are at a point in your life where you feel you have influence, it’s time to register your name as a domain.
TIP: One of the best pieces of advice for assisting in protecting your reputation online is to purchase a domain which contains your full name.
Here is why; domain name registration will not only enable you to dominate the search engine listings for phrases including your name more easily but also prevent anyone from purchasing the same domain name in the future and voiding the possibility of them publishing inappropriate content. We know of many cases of impersonation. This is one way to curtail that.
You can no longer sit back and watch as your reputation goes unattended. If you aren’t in control of what appears in the search engine results for your name, then potentially content which you don’t want to be associated with may dominate those listings. Take control of your online reputation now, and make sure you maintain how important it is that you constantly consider the visibility of the content you’re publishing via social media or other channels – and who may be consuming it at any point.