Digital Delving: Maintaining a Positive Cyber Image

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Internet users accrue “cyber footprints” with every tweet and Facebook photo upload. Despite privacy settings and pseudo screen names, information is still accessible for those who know where to look. All too often your beer-guzzling, Instagram antics can come back to haunt you, if they fall into the wrong hands.

Society is heavily influenced by critiques of businesses, brands and people. In today’s world, we look up products or services online before making any decisions, especially with the availability of smartphones and tablets.

With prestige at stake, online reputation management assists by monitoring the cyber content pertaining to a person, brand or business. The objective of this technique is to emphasize positive coverage rather than negative reviews, feedback or any other image-damaging content. Reputation management attempts to bridge a gap between how an entity perceives itself, along with how others view it.

Reputation Realism

Online reputation management is becoming more Important to Individuals. According to a 2010 study by Microsoft and Cross-Tab Market Research, 70% of companies have rejected candidates based on their online reputation, though only 7% of Americans believe their cyber lives affect their job search. Additionally, a survey by CareerBuilder.com found that 1 in 4 hiring managers used search engines to screen candidates. Furthermore, 1 in 10 of these employers checked candidates’ profiles on social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

According to a December 2007 survey conducted by privacy research organization, Ponemon Institute, roughly half of U.S. hiring officials use the Internet in vetting job applications.

Reputation management for individuals may be referred as online identity management (OIM), online image management, online personal branding or personal reputation management (PRM).

Self-Cyber Research

In 2009, 5% of young adult internet users, ages 18-29, said they had searched for results connected to their name online, with figures up from 49% in 2006. Also, 61% of internet users between 30-49 years of age said they were self-searchers, which was up from 54% in 2006.

Less than half – or 47% – of internet users between the ages of 50-64 have used a search engine to peruse results tied to their name, which was up from 39% in 2006. 45% of the 65+ demographic also used search engines to look up results connected to their names. This number represents significant growth since 2006, when just 28% of users that were 65 and older had conducted a personal name search.

Male and female internet users are equally inclined to utilize search engines to monitor their digital footprints, most of whom are motivated to find relevant results. Among those who conduct personal name searches, the 63% majority say they find at least some relevant material connected to their name. By comparison, 35% of self-searchers say their queries do not yield any relevant results.

Among the 54% who contribute content to the World Wide Web, 45% say they post information using their real name. By comparison, 41% of these internet users are likely to post content under an associated user or screen name. A mere 8% post content anonymously. Also, 46% of internet users search online to find information about people from their past, up from 36% in 2006. 38% have sought information about their friends, which increased from the 26% in 2006.

The Reality of Reviews

Online reviews matter to businesses and brands. Research from Harvard business school says that a one-star increase on Yelp can lead to a 9% increase in sales. Four out of five consumers, or 80%, reverse their purchase decisions based on negative online reviews, up from 67% in 2010. These figures are according to a 2011 Online Influence Trend Tracker survey conducted by Cone Communications.

Whether you represent a major corporation, own a small business or want to maintain a professional online reputation, visit http://bluepolointeractive.com for an image-enhancing solution. Blue Polo is a New York digital branding agency that specializes in SEO solutions to optimize your online presence. As indicated in the infographic below, a person’s internet image can play a vital role in swaying employer opinions. Make sure your cyber presence is dignifying, not detrimental, because as the saying goes: you never have a second chance to make a first impression.

Source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2012/10/28/efficient-small-business-online-reviews/1654365/ Source: http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Reputation-Management/Summary-of-Findings.aspx Source: http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Reputation-Management/Part-1/Searching-for-ourselves-online.aspx Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reputation_management

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