Reputation management. Ensuring your reputation is squeaky clean and in good standing with the public.
With so many different outlets and ways for people to vent their frustrations, you need to stay on top of what’s being said about you and/or your company. Because if something damaging is out there, you need to control it. You need to make sure your truth is read and heard.
The easiest way to do this? Google search your name and/or your company’s name. Review the results that appear after your personal social media profiles and your company’s website. Like G. I. Joe said: Knowing is half the battle.
Ask The Experts
Last week on Twitter and LInkedIn, I asked the following question:
Friends, Romans, Twitter country people, lend me your tweets:
How often do you Google yourself?
A) Once a week
B) Once a month
C) Maybe once a year
D) Never. But now you have me worried so I’m checking right now and OH MY GOD WHAT THE HELL IS THIS FIRST RESULT?!
— Ephraim Gopin (@EphraimGopin) August 1, 2019
Fundraising expert Barbara O’Reilly immediately answered “Between C and D. And, yes, who the heck is A???” To which I answered, people who are always in the news. So not me.
With always being busy and none of us named “Beyonce,” no one in my informal poll chose “once a week.” Not shocked. But….
Check More Than Just Google
Although Google is the elephant of search engines, Bing and Yahoo are responsible for about 10% of searches in the U.S. This means it’s a smart move to check them as well. Here’s what direct mail specialist Paul Bobnak said:
Once a month. I also check Bing and @DuckDuckGo.
— Paul Bobnak (@PaulBobnak) August 1, 2019
With billions of potential content pieces that could be searched and different algorithms used by the various search engines, it’s good practice to check more than just Google.
The Combo Approach
Checking search results may not be enough either. As #DonorLove and fundraising authority John Lepp said:
Somewhere between once a month and once a year… I have set up alerts and stuff too. It’s good social media hygiene.
— 𝚓𝚘𝚑𝚗𝚕𝚎𝚙𝚙 (@johnlepp) August 1, 2019
Set up Google Alerts so you receive an email every time there’s a public mention of your name. The goal is to be informed as quickly as possible in case you need to respond or deal with a sticky situation.
The goal? As John said, good hygiene. Make sure your name stays clean.
Along similar lines, fundraising and marketing expert Michael Rosen uses a combination of search and alerts.
I set alerts and check maybe quarterly. I also check Bing whenever I remember it exists, about once per year. That then triggers me to also search Yahoo!
— Michael Rosen (@MLInnovations) August 1, 2019
John and Michael’s combo approach is probably your best plan of action. One person I know who was mixed up in an incident which received quite a lot of attention set up alerts right after it happened. No need to take chances.
And Don’t Call Me Shirley
In the “good news bad news” category are people like nonprofit copywriting wizard Julie Cooper:
Once every few months. But Julie Cooper from “The OC” clogs up the top spots in Google. That Julie Cooper has pushed down the “One Day At A Time” Julie Cooper, too. Vanilla-type names like mine have their drawbacks. 🤪
— Julie Cooper 💌 (@GoCooper) August 1, 2019
Same goes for one of my favorite, extremely knowledgeable fundraising friends Robin Cohen:
C maybe once a year. I have a very common name so it’s mostly not me and I have google alerts setup
— robinec (@robinec) August 1, 2019
The good news is that if someone famous shares your name, anything negative specifically about you will be buried in the search results and probably not seen by many. Conversely, this means you have very little chance of ranking high in Google searches so people find you when searching.
A mixed bag. Which is why Alerts is so valuable: Instead of searching through hundreds of results, you can take a quick look at email subject lines and see if any are relevant to you.
The Most Common Response
Marketing and development professional Tricia Wackerly offered the most common response:
Somewhere in between C and D.
— Tricia Wackerly (@triciawackerly) August 1, 2019
I completely get it. With so much on our daily plate, reputation management may not be front of mind. Or we’re not really that worried about it.
But if you’re going to be changing jobs, don’t you want to know what a potential employer sees when they Google your name? Because odds are they will search for you.
If you own a company, people are going to be looking you up. Do you know what they’ll find?
Even once a year is better than nothing at all. Just know what might be lurking…
Then again, meet one of the best people I know, Jonathan Ross. Or as I call him: Batman. Here’s how he responded:
I never search for myself. I’m comfortable with my place in the universe.
— jonathanross (@jonathanross) August 1, 2019
Batman is busy fighting crime. He’s not worried about what someone posted on Medium. You gotta be you.
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