Publisher Channel Content by InternetReputation.com In the same amount of time it takes for you to make and drink a decent cup of coffee, you could help to boost your online reputation. It’s true. By setting aside somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes every day, you could develop a robust library of content that illuminates your good points and overpowers the bad stuff. And that’s something every small business owner should do, every single day. After all, as the owner of a small business, the decisions you make in your personal life can spill over and impact the success of your professional life. If people run searches for you and discover that you’re a trustworthy, honest, decent person, they’re more likely to think that your business is trustworthy, honest and decent. So while you have a number of things to do as a small business owner, attending to your reputation should be considered one of your top tasks. And handling that task is relatively easy. Here’s what a sample action plan might look like, broken down into handy, day-by-day increments. Monday: Search for yourself. In 2010, more than 57 percent of people used search engines to find out things about themselves, according to the PewResearch Internet Project. I’ll bet more people than that do online self-searches now. But, I’ll also bet that these same people don’t search regularly. It’s that repeat searching that has real power, as it allows you to spot new attacks long before they’ve had a chance to grow strong. And, once you spot an attack, you can use that information to help you plan your week’s worth of content. Find the keywords, write around them, and you’ll fight back effectively. Tuesday: Post a friendly photo on Facebook. Despite the claim, made by many, that Facebook is rapidly falling out of favor, it remains one of the most popular and well-loved social media sites out there. In fact, according to Statista, the number of active users of the site in the third quarter of 2014 was 1.35 billion, which is well up from the 1 billion active users seen in the third quarter of 2012. That’s why the site must play a role in your weekly plan. Almost anything would make good fodder for a share on Facebook, but as much of the content you’ll create under this plan is made of words, I suggest sharing photos on Facebook. Use images that put you in a good light, such as photos that show you: Petting a dog Working in your garden Sitting at your desk at work Sitting with your grandmother Try to pop a few of your negative keywords in your descriptive text that accompanies these photos, but be sure, above all else, that the photos won’t make you look bad. Remember: You’re trying to make things better. Stick with photos that would make your parents proud. Wednesday: Write a blog post. A blog allows you to create content stuffed with the keywords people are using to attack you. By incorporating those keywords, you’re taking a little power away from those attacks. And blogging doesn’t have to be hard. If you want to get professional about blogging, spend time perusing articles on Problogger or a similar site. But even if your writing isn’t on par with the pros, it can still be effective. Blog as you speak, using language that’s familiar to you, and stick to topics you know quite a bit about. You could blog about the industry in which you work, the pets you own, the sports teams you follow or the music you listen to. Just speak from the heart, about issues you believe in, and remember to omit any content that might harm your reputation down the line. Thursday: Connect with a colleague on LinkedIn. A Forbes article suggests that some 70 percent of employers have skipped past a job applicant due to the things that person has posted on LinkedIn. That’s a scary number, but it suggests that people really are scouring LinkedIn, looking for both the good and the bad. Why not make sure they find only good, when they look for your name? Try reaching out to a colleague on LinkedIn, and if your relationship was particularly close, ask that person to provide you with an online endorsement. It’s a quick way to prove that people like you, that you’ve been a good colleague to work with in the past, and that’s a nice bit of data to have on your side, should a reputation attack be underway. Friday: Post on Twitter. By this point in the week, you’ve generated quite a bit of content. Photos, blog posts, recommendations, it’s all out there. Walk back through your content and see what most closely touches on the original reputation management problem. Was it the photo you shared on Facebook? The article you wrote? The recommendation you got? Whatever it was, that’s the bit you should share on Friday on Twitter. You can share some links directly (blogs are great that way), but you can also write up short descriptions for things that don’t make for nice links. For example, I might describe a LinkedIn recommendation like this: “So thankful for the shoutout from @myoldboss on LinkedIn this week. It’s great to have connections!” You’re sharing content quickly via this method. Other Ideas While I have broken down this to-do list into digestible chunks, there’s still a lot of work to do. And small business owners may not feel as though they have the time to handle all of these tasks. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a peek at these tips and really assess how long they’ll take to complete. You’ll see that most of the ideas I’ve discussed here can be completed in just minutes. You could tackle them first thing in the morning, as a warmup to your day, or you could take them on late at night, when you’re winding down the work day. They don’t have to be time consuming. And with all the benefits you’ll get, you might find that they’re well worth the effort. 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