Creating and then building your personal brand are the first steps in an ongoing process of maintaining how people perceive you. While you can’t control how others think about you, you can influence those thoughts by creating and maintaining a positive reputation.
Owning your reputation
Your personal brand is you, so make sure that you own it. If you haven’t already, create profiles on the major social media platforms; Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. But don’t just create an empty account, fill out your profile for each service using the terms and phrases you developed in creating your brand. Once you’ve got your profile looking the way you want it, use the platform to create the reputation you want.
You don’t need to tweet a hundred times a day, or post everything you had for lunch, unless of course you are building a reputation as a food critic. For most people three to six tweets per day of quality information, like tips or insider news for your industry, are all it takes. Similarly, post links to articles you think your peers or your potential employers and customers will find interesting or important. Doing that shows you are keeping up with your particular industry while also positioning yourself as an expert in your field.
Repairing your reputation
It is said that into each life, a little rain must fall and the same is true of reputations. No matter how great a person you truly are, eventually someone will take some of your words or actions in a negative way. In the old days when this happened, the damage was usually small because the offended person had a limited reach. Now everyone has a global stage and some people are more than happy to use it in a negative way.
To provide you peace of mind, it is important to monitor your reputation. The easiest way to perform basic monitoring is to create Google alerts. It may sound arrogant to have Google send you an email you every time you name is mentioned, but it’s just good business. You can’t address issues until you know about them, and alerts are the fastest way.
The platform that houses the negative information will determine your next course of action. If it is something that hosts conversation, such as social media, respond quickly and politely, ensuring you address the core of the issue, and if you were in error, apologize. Also remember that with social media the conversations move quickly and if you continue to post positive material the negative comments will fall off the page. Either way, do not engage in a continued conversation that could minimize your reputation in the long run. Simply respond appropriately and move on to posting other pertinent and positive information.
In some cases, you may be able to ask to have the comment removed, but usually only when the comment breaks the terms of the hosting site, such as by publishing personal data. And much as you might be tempted, avoid blocking or kicking the person from your social networks. Doing so won’t stop them from being negative, but it does restrict your ability to respond.
In the case of the media, there is little to do but to understand the crux of the information posted. Choosing to continue to create excellent content will keep your personal brand fresh online and ensure that people see the positive in you and what you are doing. At the end of the day, simply stay focused on the positive aspects of your personal brand and do not engage in argumentative dialog.
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