Want To Manage Your Online Reputation? These 5 Tools Can Help
We live in a world where information and content is king. Personally, I am an information addict - I want to always be up to date on my favorite topics. With billions of people using the Internet, along with millions of blog posts, pictures, articles and other content being published daily, have you ever actually stopped to consider your online reputation? If you have, good for you! For those of you that haven't, I can relate. When I was in college, I never considered my online reputation. Why would I? I was just one person in a world filled with billions of people. Who would ever look to me for advice? When I graduated college, something clicked in my head that said, "Hey, you got a big boy job now. Maybe those partying pictures aren't as funny as you think". I never thought about the pictures that I posted or the pictures that I was tagged in, let alone the tweets I sent or my status updates.
Now, more than ever, people are starting to take notice of a persons online reputation. With so many dangers that lurk on the internet such as virus's, phishing sites, spam and more. People are getting more picky about what they share and who they trust. Some employers are also looking into your reputation as a determining factor for your employment. If you are a business professional, a blogger, a company, a brand or whatever it may be, your reputation is important and should be treated as such. Below I will be discussing some free/freemium tools that I have used to help manage my online reputation.
The first tool I ever used was BrandYourself. BrandYourself offers a great way to view and manage search engine results about yourself. When you first sign up, you can add some of your social media profiles; the free version allows up to 3 profile links. Once your profiles are connected, you are given a score as well as a list of suggestions on how to improve your score. Improving your score will actually boost your link in search engine results. The free version of BrandYourself will also show you the top 10 results in Google for your name and give you the option to say if it is a positive link about you, a negative link about you, or that it is not you at all. You are also given a profile that is always SEO ready and will improve your results. BrandYourself also alerts you via email and the site, whenever your name has been searched or when a link rises/drops a rank.
Reputation.com is very similar to BrandYourself. There are quite a few things that set it apart though. Similar to BrandYourself, Reputation also allows you to view search engine results and select if a result is positive, negative, or not you; however, you are not limited to only 10 links. With Reputation, you have access to the top 20 links, plus you are given the top 20 links for both Google and Bing. Another key feature that Reputation has is the MyPrivacy tool. This tool will notify you if any of your private data that you wish to not have exposed, is in fact exposed. You have the option to provide the data you want to protect from being exposed. This is a great tool, especially in a world full of identity thieves and other unwanted dangers/annoyances.
TrustCloud is an exceptionally useful tool. This tool doesn't monitor search results or anything like that; rather, it gives you a TrustScore based off of your linked networks and verifications. There are many networks you can link to your TrustCloud account such as Facebook, Twitter or even eBay. You can check out my TrustCloud profile to see some of my linked networks. Scores are given based off of 3 different layers - Verification, Behavior and Transaction. The Verification layer verifies important things like emails addresses, postal addresses and cell phone numbers; you know, the things that spammers and untrustworthy people don't want you to know. The Behavioral level looks for things like responsiveness, consistency and longevity (age of accounts), all of which separate you from a newly created spam account. Finally, the Transaction layer monitors things related to you from other sites. It is basically getting the information you would like to know about other people but it's doing it in regards to you only. In other words, it's getting the "word of mouth" information related to you. You can get endorsements from friends or anyone in the world really. Just like in Klout where you can give +K in particular topics, with TrustCloud you can give or receive +T on things like reliabilty, punctuality, generosity and things of that nature.
Google Alerts is a very simple, yet useful tool. If you go to your Google dashboard you can scroll down to the alert section to create a new alert. You can get an alert for whenever your name is mentioned, your company name, an email address etc. The things you want to be alerted about are totally up to you. It can be your favorite sports team, a competitors name or your favorite celebrity. This is a great way to monitor things that appear in Google search results. Who better is there to trust than the search giant itself? Oh yeah, it's totally free.
This tool is similar to Klout and TrustCloud. Just like in Klout where you can give +K, or TrustCloud where you can give +T; Connect.me allows users to Vouch for a person in a topic. The topic list is endless. From social media to running and everything in between, there is definitely a topic for you. Currently you can only give a max of 5 vouches to a person. This is a little safety measure used to prevent abuse. There is no score like in Klout, TrustCloud or any other tool that ranks your influence or reputation. With Connect.me you are given ranks such as Verified, Trusted or Trust Anchor. These ranks are given based off the amount of vouches you have and by what rank other users might be. For example, when you want to move from Verified status to Trusted status, you will need 25 vouches from anyone. However, if you wish to move from Trusted status to Trust Anchor status you will need 3 vouches from other anchors. You can check out my card to see my status and vouched topics.
I trust this list will provide you with a good starting point when it comes to online reputation tools. There are many other tools that aren't mentioned, I've only given you the tools that I use the most and are either free or follow the freemium model. If money isn't an issue or you have a big business and you are serious about your online reputation, perhaps you can check out BrandsEye, Trackur, Rankur or BrandWatch.
I hope that your online reputation is a thing that you do value. A bad reputation isn't an easy thing to clean up. Do you think managing your online reputation is important? Or is it just another area in which have no control over? What tools do you use to manage your online reputation, if any? I would love to hear your feedback in the comments below.
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By Nate McGee, BI Specialist/Analyst
Nate McGee is a BI Specialist/Analyst during the day and a Social Media Junkie (not guru)/Community Manager at night. He is the owner of Nphinite, a blog dedicated to all things related to social media and technology. His super power is being an aficionado of orotund, nugatory diction. He enjoys fitness, talking in 3rd person and making this/that comparisons with the "/" character. Say hello to him on Twitter, or chat with him on Google+, he loves to meet new people.