As a consumer, you probably think about brands all the time. Maybe you choose to do business with one company and not another because of their social justice practices. Perhaps you patronize a certain fast food chain and shun another based on their hiring decisions and charitable contributions. You may even pay more for a certain product if the company that made it has built an ethical supply chain or engages in fair trade purchasing practices.
All of these decisions are based in corporate reputation, but what about your own personal brand? If you work as an independent contractor or freelancer, your personal reputation and your brand are inextricably entwined, and damage to one could be harmful to the other.
Fortunately, there are tools available to safeguard and enhance your personal brand and avoid hits to your online reputation. Here are some reputation management tools every freelancer and independent contractor needs to know about.
Top Free Freelancer and Indpendent Contractor Online Reputation Management Tools
A Simple Online Search
You can learn a lot about your freelancing business, including how you are perceived and what former and current clients are saying, with a simple online search. Just enter your name, or the name of your business, into Google, Bing and other popular search engines and see what the results have to say.
This easy technique is one of the most effective reputation management tools there is, and even better it is all free. If you do identify a problem, you can take steps to rectify the situation, reaching out to unhappy clients, engaging on social media and explaining your side of the story to the world at large.
Like online searches, Google alerts are totally free, and they can also tell you a lot about your business and your brand. You can set up any number of Google alerts, including new mentions of your business, excerpts from articles you have written and anything else you think might be helpful.
As time goes by, you can fine tune your Google alerts, discarded searches that did not yield results and coming up with new queries to gather additional information about your freelancing brand and your personal reputation. The more you know, the better off you will be, and an informed freelancer is a successful freelancer.
Having a robust social media presence is an absolute necessity for freelancers and independent contractors, but keeping up with all those sites and posting interesting and useful content can be a real challenge. That is why Hootsuite should be part of your reputation management toolkit.
Think of Hootsuite as your one stop shop for all things social media. From this intuitive and easy to use platform freelancers can craft and schedule posts, keep tabs on their social media presence and even see what others are saying.
Reputation Manager app
This appropriately named app is a must for any freelancer's smartphone. The name says it all; the Reputation Manager app provides a simple yet robust platform where freelancers can examine their online reputations, read reviews and find feedback about their services.
You could do all this searching on your own, of course, but with Reputation Manager you do not need to. The time savings alone are well worth the download, so load the app on your smartphone and see what others are saying.
Working as a freelancer can be a real challenge, with demanding clients, long hours, complicated tax filings and other difficulties. Managing your personal and brand reputation is one more issue you need to tackle, but you do not have to go it alone. The tools listed above can make reputation management easier and more effective for freelancers and independent contractors, so you can get back to doing what you do best.