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In today’s world everyone is required to be a Public Relations expert – not as a career, but for their own reputation. Colleagues, potential employers and associates are sure to peruse your online profiles, and their impression of your online reputation can truly affect your life, your career and your personal relationships. While many people hire online reputation managers, it is possible to do this yourself and get great results.

In order to maximize your online reputation, not only do you have to manage your social media accounts, you must also ensure that your LinkedIn account is up to date. If you are a freelancer or business owner, online review sites are helping you put your best foot forward rather than hindering your opportunities. And remember – it is not only your own accounts that need monitoring – you must also ensure that your friends and family are not posting personal or inappropriate behavior about you to their own accounts.

Here are a few things to consider when it comes to managing your online reputation.

  • Search yourself – Yes, the first step is as simple as searching yourself on Google! Do this to ensure that an unflattering news story about the time you once won a taco eating contest doesn’t over shadow your business accomplishments. If you do find that your results are not they way that you would like them to be, consider hiring an SEO consultant to get your preferred results to the first page.
  • Join social networks under a professional name – It is a good strategy to open up new social media accounts specifically for your professional life. If you do business under the name Jane D. Smith, consider keeping your personal Facebook and Instagram under just “Jane D.” and creating professional accounts under your full name.
  • Buy your own domain name – It pays to buy a domain that is simply your name (if available) – this will make you easily searchable and ensure that your webpage is the first result when someone looks for you.
  • Move all of your content to this domain – Once you have your own domain, move your professional blog, links to your social media and business services to this site. Even pointing a Tumblr or Blogspot account here in the meantime is a good way to keep your search engine results under your control.
  • If you do have a bad review, work to mitigate it – If you do find yourself or your business with a bad review on Google, Yelp or a similar review site, work to remove this. Try sending the reviewer an apology with a plea to remove the offending piece, and if this fails, work tirelessly to increase the numbers of positive reviews on the same site.

Managing your online reputation has never been as important as it is today – follow these simple tips in order to increase your opportunities and prevent a negative reputation from costing you money and prestige.

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