Young professionals live in an age where everything can be found on the Internet. This openness should not be a source of fear for our generation but should rather provide a sense of freedom. To best leverage this freedom however, you need to protect your online brand and make sure you send the right message about yourself to the Internet.
If you do not protect your online brand, someone else will take control of it.
Your boss, mother, ex-girlfriends, future girlfriends, or co-worker can now find out a great deal about you with a few clicks. One failed strategy to handle this new reality is to “never put anything online”. If you do not protect your online brand, someone else will take control of it. Google Search scours every corner of the Internet: it is one powerful bitch that empowers everyone to find anything that matters, including your information. Since you can’t fight Google, work with it. Make sure the information about yourself that can be found in a Google search is what you want the whole world to see. In this and in a few more upcoming articles, Mindthis will present basic tactics on how to protect your online brand. That being said, we strongly condemn attempts to glorify or present an overvalued version of yourself. Instead we advocate for you to put your honest, accurate best foot forward on important online platforms.
1. Google Your Online Brand
“First name, Last name” in images, and the main search bar. Once you have scanned about the first 20 pages you will get a better understanding of how much information is out there and how you can protect your online brand.
2. Google Alerts to Keep You Up to Date on Your Online Brand
Knowing what’s out there is not enough, so set up Google Alerts on your first, last, and full name (depending on how rare your name is). You will now be updated via email on any new information that pops up on Google.
3. Flooding Google Search with Your Online Brand
Create various online social networking/platforms accounts that you plan to use. I recommend about.me, Sprouter, Tumblr, Twitter and LinkedIn to flood your Google search results. Don’t forget to upload professional images of you to fill in Google Images as well.
You should write for about three different blogs and if you can, online magazines. Aim to generate about two articles a month on niche topics to build up your authority and online brand. Protecting your online brand on Google is a never ending project that will reward you in the long run. If you do a decent job, you’re going to impress your potential boss and all those other folks that are trying to find out more about you. You have nothing to hide, so write tons of articles on a valuable niche that will help you stand out from the crowd and drown out any negative coverage you may eventually get in the coming years.
In our next article we will explain how best to leverage social media tools and tackle privacy questions with Facebook.