Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sue Scheff: Holiday Gifts of Virtual 'Presence'

Giving a "virtual presence" this holiday season.

The who:

* Help jump-start your potential college applicant/application.
* Out of work? Learn to promote your skills online.
* Professional or small business owner? Learn to own and manage your virtual image.

The why:

•53% of Americans Google each other. Pew Internet & American Life
•26% of college admissions officers use search engines to research candidates. University of Massachusetts Center for Market Research
•64% of teens say that most teens do things online that they wouldn't want their parents to know about. anti-drug.com
•77% of executive recruiters use search engines to research applicants. CareerBuilder

The how:

Tip 1: Check out your social networking sites. If there is information or photo's on there you wouldn't share with your grandparents, chances are they shouldn't be on the Internet. Keep it clean!
Tip 2: Sign up for personal branding services. This is free. Services such as Naymz, Ziggs, LinkedIn and LookUpPage offer free online profile set-ups. Take the time to create your cyber resume. It is important to own your own name and your own background.

Tip 3: Create your own Blog. There are many free Blog sites such as Blogspot and WordPress. Take the time to let your potential college or employer see that you are enthusiastic about your interests and motivated to be all you can be. If you are a professional or business owner, let your future and current clientele see that you are up-to-date and knowledgeable about your products and services. [For example http://www.suescheff.blogspot.com/ and http://www.suescheff.wordpress.com/]

Tip 4: Create Google Alerts for your name, business name and nicknames. This is free. Find out when, how and why your name is being use online. This vital for small businesses especially. If there is a disgruntled client or customer, you want to know and hopefully can rectify the situation before it gets worse.
Here are three tips that have limited fees:

Tip 5: Buy your own URL with your name. For example mine is http://www.suescheff.com/ . This can be as little as $7.99 a year through GoDaddy. Build yourself a small website and share with people surfing and researching the web about yourself.

Tip 6: Place your name. Literally you can give the gift of PLACE YOUR NAME with a professional service for as little as $49.95 one time fee. Let them position your name in the search engines, write a press release for you and more. All for one low fee.
Tip 7: Hire an online management service. Although there are many to choose from today, my personal experience is with ReputationDefender. If you know someone that is struggling with online slime, or simply needs a virtual presence or "online make-over" and doesn't have the time or the computer savvy to create their cyber image, consider giving them a gift of relief with an online management service. PS: This is also a great gift to give yourself. In my opinion and experience, Reputation Defender is the pioneer of online reputation management services and number one in my book. (I am not a paid sponsor for them and I don't receive any referral fees from them) I am simply a satisfied client. Costs vary according to your needs. Visit http://www.reputationdefender.com/ for their many services, as well as NameGrab, their latest addition.

Do you want more tips and practical guidance to help maintain your cyber profile? Don't forget to purchase Google Bomb, The Untold Story of the $11.3M Verdict That Changed the Way We Use the Internet (Health Communications, Inc. August 2009). This book makes the perfect gift for everyone and anyone that uses the Internet, owns a business, has a reputation to protect, applying to schools, looking for jobs and more.

No one is immune to having their Internet image ruined. So for this holiday season, give a present that gives you or the recipient a 'presence'.

Remember it can take 20 years to build up a solid reputation and today it can take 20 minutes of a few vicious keystrokes and a click of the mouse, and those 20 years are history.

Read more on Examiner.com

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