When Christmas is over and the holiday hangover is about to abate, the stereotypical American sits down with pen and paper and writes down a list of meaningful resolutions that will make the next year much better than the last. Statistic Brain suggests that about half of us made such promises in 2012, and the top two resolutions involved losing weight and getting organized.
While these are certainly good goals, they're also a little tired, don't you think? If you've made the same resolutions year in and year out and you don't really see any major improvements in your life, maybe a different set of goals might work out better for you. I have 7 great goals for you to consider. Not surprisingly, all of these resolutions concern reputation management.
Why, you might ask? Because taking charge of your online cred could allow many of your other dreams about wealth, power and romance to become a reality. Here are the promises I think you should consider.
"I Will Get Serious About Monitoring My Name."
The best way to take control of your online reputation is to keep your ear to the ground and listen for rumbles concerning your name or the name of your business. When you hear a little rumor, and you take action right away, you'll be well placed to keep the problem from exploding into a horrific issue that keeps you awake at night.
Your monitoring program might be simple. For example, you might run a search for your name via Google each morning when you arrive at work, and then scroll through the top two or three pages of results. It's a quick and somewhat efficient way to keep track of the chatter, and it's also completely free. However, if you'd really like to get serious in 2014, consider signing up for a monitoring system.
Our product, which you can read about here, provides you with a comprehensive look at all of the activity unfolding on the web at the moment, and you can even sign up for cleanup services if you find something horrific. We allow you to try out the product for 30 days with cancellation at anytime, so it's definitely worth a shot. If you're only going to take one reputation step this year, this is the one to consider.
"Once a Month, I'll Check My Social Media Settings."
Spotting a problem is great, but preventing a problem from unfolding is even more helpful. Often, the best way to do just that is to keep tight control over your privacy settings on each and every social media site you use. Think about it: Just a few months ago, Facebook allegedly changed its privacy settings, removing a crucial opt-out setting for Timeline searches. A few weeks prior, the New York Times suggested that Facebook ran afoul of regulators when it again changed privacy settings due to concerns about advertising.
In October, CNN also reported that Facebook was changing privacy policies for teen users of Facebook. With all of these changes happening on social media sites on a regular basis, it's hard for the average user to keep track of what is, and what is not, being shared with complete and total strangers.
A resolution that mandates a periodic check of privacy settings can protect you, no matter what executives choose to do.
"Every week, I'll Share Something Wonderful On My Blog."
Preemptive PR should always be a part of your reputation management strategy, and a blog is a wonderful way to make it work. By owning your own blog, you can shamelessly promote all of the wonderful things you've accomplished throughout the year, and you might even find it easy to sneak in a few snippets of data that contain the same keywords your enemies are using in order to attack you.
With each entry you post, you're making your reputation shine just a little brighter, and you're knocking down the negative a peg or two. What could be better, right?
"I Will Not Get Arrested."
Okay, maybe this is cheating a little, but if you really want to keep things clean in 2014, you'll need to ensure that you don't do anything embarrassing, like:
- Getting arrested
- Getting sued
- Fighting in public
- Behaving badly in front of a camera
The idea is to behave in a manner that would make your grandmother proud, so there will be few things to clean up and hide as part of your comprehensive reputation strategy. The nicer you are, and the more wonderful things you do on a regular basis, the more likely it will be that your reputation will be burnished to a high shine in 2014.
"I Will Think Before I Post."
Even if you're not arrested or otherwise publically humiliated next year, you could still land in hot water if you choose to flap your lips or share your private bits on a public forum. In general, it's best to assume that everything you post will be seen by everyone in the world, and as a result, it's best to use the 15-minute rule before posting. Come up with something you'd like to share, wait 15 minutes and then see if it still seems like a great idea. If it does, you have a winning post on your hands. If it doesn't, delete it.
"I Will Ask My Friends to Do the Same."
Some of the worst reputation management problems in 2013 took place because someone spent time with a blabbermouth friend. For example, the two men who made the ill-advised decision to dress as George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin for Halloween would have been embarrassed only momentarily, as the other partygoers they met might have chosen to bash them verbally. The incident only moved into global nightmare territory when their friend posted the photo on her Facebook account, which allowed The Smoking Gun to both find the shot and identify the men publically. If you have photo-happy friends, politely ask them to leave your snaps off of the web.
But, if you know they won't comply, ensure that you're not tagged in any photographs that show something distasteful. A scan of party photos the next morning could help to ensure that your reputation stays pristine.
"I Will Hire An Expert If I'm Overwhelmed."
Experts interviewed by The New York Times suggest that people who make resolutions for the new year are 10 times more likely to go through with a serious life change, when compared to people who don't make such an overt commitment to changing their lives. By just telling yourself that you'll put your reputation first next year, you might be more likely to make amendments that will stick.
However, if you find that you can't keep up with your promises, for whatever reason, there's no harm in giving up and asking for help. In fact, we'd be happy to take care of most of these resolutions for you, and we can even help you in ways you've never thought of before. Just fill out our online form and we'll contact you with all of the details.
Protect your reputation online.