A good way to learn more about online reputation management is to read books and Web sites about the field. Here are a few suggestions:
Use online reputation management tools such as Google Alerts and BrandYourself to assess your online profile and receive a basic understanding of the work of online reputation managers. Check your social media pages for inappropriate content, and remove it.
Talk to online reputation managers, and ask them how they broke into the field, what they studied in college, and what they like most and least about their jobs.
Embarrassing photos from spring break. A host of negative reviews about a bakery that just opened. A youthful mug shot. A critical blog. A message board filled with lies about a Fortune 1000 company that ranks higher than the actual company’s Web site on search engine results. These are the types of issues that hiring managers, college admissions officers, and potential and current customers sometimes encounter when they search on a person’s or a company’s name on the Internet. Faced with negative information on social media, many people and businesses try to scrub these potentially harmful posts from the Web, but they soon find it’s very hard to wipe one’s online slate clean. Or, as the New York Times, puts it, “the incriminating data has embedded itself into the nether reaches of cyberspace, etched into archives, algorithms, and a web of hyperlinks.”
Enter online reputation managers (ORMs), who identify negative information on social media, attempt to bury it (or move it down in search engine results) by replacing it with positive or neutral content, and continue to monitor their client’s social media presence to ensure that no negative material appears or reappears.
Although duties vary by the type and size of the firm, typical responsibilities for ORMs include: