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Are You a Bad Boy (or Girl)?

You may be and not even know it!

A few times a year I will get an email from my dad asking a random question, such as: “Why were you quoted in an article on the latest ocular surgery practices in Alaska?”

What the …. ???

As much as the world has its hands full with one, yes, there is at least one other Brandie Young who apparently is an expert in the ocular surgery field (sorry to disappoint dad, I’m not a doctor).  My dad likes to Google my name every now and again.

Reputation management

Have you Googled yourself lately?  Your clients or potential clients most likely have, and if you don’t know what comes up on the first page when you Google your name, you might be in for an unpleasant surprise.

More than your name alone …

Don’t just Google your name, Google phrases.  For example, When I Google ‘GE Spokesperson Brandie Young’ I get an entirely different set of results than if I Google my name alone.  (ugh, bad memories from the result of that search …)

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If potential clients Google you, they are probably entering Your Name, realtor, city name, your company, your previous company, etc.  Try a number of combinations, including misspelling your name, make note of each search and any unfavorable results.

:: Pause :: Search yourself now

Did you do a search with more than just your name?  Or did you add other key words, such as agent, complaints, real estate, etc.

Please share your results in the comment box, particularly any surprises!

Your reputation – guard it with your life!

To quote a book I love called The 48 Laws of Power:

“Through reputation alone you can intimidate and win: once it slips, however, you are vulnerable, and will be attacked on all sides.  Make your reputation unassailable.”

While it may take some work, it is probably worth it to correct, comment on (or, if possible, have deleted) any instances where you are mentioned in an inaccurately unflattering light. (Emphasis on inaccurately)

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Vigilance is vital

Most important is any negative comments from previous clients or peers.  If you find them, the best course of action is to work to resolve the issue in person or over the phone, then see about updating negative online commentary.

Keep in mind, however, this doesn’t include anyone that takes you to task or disagrees with your point of view on your blog, or a comment you left on someone else’s blog.  That makes you a real, substantive person with an opinion.

According to Nielsen’s “Trust in Advertising” Report from October 2007, 78% of people trust the recommendations of other consumers over ads (I’m sure that stat has increased since the study).  And, with more and more trust placed on the opinion of bloggers it’s vital to be vigilant.

Monitor

Once you have all your phrases, set up a Google alert for each of the phrases as well as your name (include variations, i.e. Bob and Rob in addition to Robert).  You will get an email anytime one of those phrases appears online, saving you the time of searching yourself on a regular basis.

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Written By

Brandie is an unapologetically candid marketing professional who was recently mentioned on BusinessWeek as a Top Young Female Entrepreneur. She recently co-founded consulting firm MarketingTBD. She's held senior level positions with GE and Fidelity, as well as with entrepreneurial start-ups. Raised by a real estate Broker, Brandie is passionate about real estate and is an avid investor. Follow her on Twitter.

17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Lisha Fabris

    April 30, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Great article Brandie. I was never one to track myself online but now that I’m in the PR game, I find it critical. Thanks for the tips & reminders.

  2. Annie Maloney

    April 30, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Well you had me feeling sort of paranoid for a second. My husband handles all the internet and SEO stuff and I have never really “Googled” myself. Thankfully everything has come back OK. Sorry, no dramatic results to report….

    Nice post.

  3. Missy Caulk

    April 30, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    I love Google Alerts, it is the best for reputation management. I also follow some competitors too. LOL

  4. Tom Vanderwell

    April 30, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Interesting story about google alerts. I discovered that there is another Tom VanderWell who lives in Iowa. He’s in the quality control/call center consulting business. We are now facebook friends and also linkedin and have discovered that his daughter’s fiance just got done volunteering at a mission in Haiti not far from where the orphanage we’re involved in is located. Fortunately, both of us Tom Vanderwells have pretty good reputations.

    I tell you, it was really weird when he called me about mortgages, the phone rang, “Hi, Tom Vanderwell here.” “Tom, this is Tom VanderWell and I had a question……”

    Tom

  5. Danilo Bogdanovic

    April 30, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Google Alerts is your best friend in reputation management! And as Missy said, you can even use it to follow your competitors 🙂

  6. Brandie Young

    May 1, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Lisha – yep, now that you hve PR responsibilities under your belt, Alerts are critical. You may want to add your Exec. names to the alerts as well as competitors (per Missy).

    Annie – glad there were no surprises! Hope it stays that way.

    Missy – awesome (as usual!)

    Tom – that’s crazy! Vanderwell’s are clearly great people!

    Danilo – thanks for chiming in!

  7. Bill Lublin

    May 2, 2009 at 5:18 am

    Brandie;
    I think everyone should Google themselves, and I do (though not so frequently as to cause damage to my eyesight) – I love the idea of googling a phrase though – that was a new one for me – Thanks for the idea!

  8. Paula Henry

    May 3, 2009 at 8:53 am

    Brandie – I have Google Alerts for my name. There are a few Paula Henry’s who show up for my name, so phrases actually give me a better return for the termsI want to be known for.

  9. Brandie Young

    May 3, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Hi Bill – Glad you picked up something!

    Paula – Great – let me know if anything suprising appears!

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