Your online reputation is your reputation. Yes… I know what you’re thinking.
That picture of you at the bar? It was late. You were in the moment. But you probably shouldn’t have put the picture on Twitter. That funny video you made during the Super Bowl? Not your best YouTube moment—especially since you were yelling at the TV. Some of you may even have written on an employer website about how “crazy” the boss was—and listed your name. Ouch. For the record, the boss was crazy, but now other bosses read it and think that, well, you’re crazy.
What is on the web and associated with your name affects everything: your job offers, business opportunities, even online dating (or lack thereof). In the near future, your online reputation may even affect your credit score, ability to get a home loan and definitely how your kids see you.
The best way to strengthen your online reputation is to “secret-shop” yourself.
Here are my 5.5 steps for fast online rep results:
1. Turn on your secret shopper super portal. In other words, search your name on Google. For example, I would search: Jason Dorsey. Click on each search result on the first two pages. Make sure to click on the “images” section Google provides, too, because you never know…
2. If you find things about you online that you wish would disappear, make it happen. Create new online content that ranks higher than your current search results. You do this by writing for your local volunteer website or local online newspaper and making your full name part of the guest post every time. Another option is to simply start your own blog. The key is to just keep writing, every month. It takes time but it works.
3. On Twitter, let those you follow speak for you. Start following people and organizations that represent you well.
4. On LinkedIn, make sure to have your photo, a sentence that makes you a human being (such as “I make a great spaghetti.”) and connections with “super connectors” who have a lot of social influence. I’m a social guy—send me an invite!
5. Create a Google Alert for your name. Every time your name newly appears online, Google will send you an email so you can check out why your name is appearing. This is free and keeps you in the know.
5.5. Change that Facebook profile picture. The memories of that night are enough.
Congrats! You’re now an official secret shopper—and you have the most important client in the world: your future.