Guest Post By:  Abby Gilmore is an internet marketing intern at Vertical Measures with special interests in social media internet marketing.  She also blogs for AZPRC and can be found on Twitter @abbygilmore.

Most of us in the interactive marketing or public relations field probably understand the importance of having a good reputation.  But have you thought specifically about your online presence?  The June AZIMA event focused on online reputation management, featuring words from Fionn Downhill from Elixir Interactive, Tom Biro from Allison & Partners and Clark Porter from Osborn Maledon.

With a background in public relations and current interest in Internet marketing, I got a lot out of the presentation because it spanned across both fields.  Making and maintaining an online reputation for yourself or your brand is an important factor in success in any field, really. If there is something negative attached to your brand that comes up in the first page of Google, you better believe people will take note of it.  Luckily I picked up some tips on preserving a positive reputation from this month’s panel of speakers.

  • As Downhill said, “Take care of your reputation before there is a problem.”  She stressed the importance of having a positive reputation so that in case a crisis happens, you have a better chance of controlling your image.
  • “Be proactive, not reactive,” according to Downhill.  As 80 percent of employers check future employees’ online presence on Google, it is extremely important to build a name for yourself online.
  • Biro emphasized the importance of embracing the online world in public relations and when building your brand.  “The secret sauce that once had three ingredients now has 1,000, and tomorrow it might have 1,100,” he said of the way of public relations.  We should all recognize the opportunities that interactive and online marketing offer.
  • Brio also said to be careful of what you say in public, since it will affect your brand one way or another.  He said, “Don’t say anything online or in public that you don’t want to follow you around forever.”  Whatever you do or say publicly can be held against you, and Google takes no prisoners.
  • And unfortunately, there could be times where your name or your brand’s name is associated with something negative.  If it is instigated by someone else, be it a competitor or just a mean person, you must take care of it.  The best way to do that, said Porter, is the nice way.
  • Last but definitely not least, use social media to make your reputation.  You can add links to your social media profiles and build relationships with people, which can both be positive for you and your reputation.  Though some people are scared of the social media phenomenon, they should learn to embrace it and let it help build their brand’s character.

Building and maintaining an online reputation can take time, but in the end, it will be worth it.  And remember, as Biro said, “not everyone can do everything,” in regards to make a name for yourself online, but you have to start somewhere.

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