We’re all famous now. Thankfully not because our every waking move is tracked by the tabloids or in glossy magazines, but in the sense that it’s easy to track down information about us – both good and bad. Before the internet, we built our reputation through marketing, advertising or good old fashioned word of mouth. It made managing our reputation simple – do a good job, leave your customer happy and don’t get in the papers for the wrong reasons.

This has all changed. With the internet forming such an integral part of both our business and personal lives, we need to think very carefully about how we present ourselves to those within our networks, and beyond. That means carefully deliberating whether or not you want to share those photos from Friday’s pub trip on Facebook, or whether to avoid jumping into a particularly contentious conversation on Twitter.

So what’s the best way of doing this? Here are five tips for any freelancer or small business looking to manage their online reputation.

1. Third-Party Endorsements

Success stories are the best way to sell your business to others, so don’t be afraid to ask a happy customer to give you a recommendation for your website or newsletter. Ask for a photo too – an image of a job well done is worth a thousand words.

2. The Devil Is In The Detail

It might seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget to update your contact details when you get a new phone or change your email provider. When you update your tech, spend 5 minutes checking your online listings. You don’t want to lose prospective customers because they can’t get hold of you!

3. Have A Voice

First and foremost you use your website to advertise your work and help people get in touch with you. This is great, but if you want to showcase your personality, why not start a blog? Talk about issues in your field or news stories that have interested you recently – you’re an expert in this space, prove it!

4. Widen Your Presence

Keeping your own website up to date is of course very important, but it’s worth taking advantage of the opportunities offered elsewhere. Getting yourself and your business listed on directories and review sites is a great way to tap into a captive audience and showcase yourself to the wider world.

5. ‘Google’ Yourself

It’s worth keeping an eye on what is being said about you online, so setting up Google alerts for your company name is a great way of keeping track. If you are able to spot new things as soon as they appear you can make sure information is accurate and correct. If it’s not – don’t be afraid to contact the author and ask for correction or clarification.

Doing these five simple things is a great way of keeping on top of your online presence. Dedicating even half an hour to this every week will put you ahead of the pack. The result? More prospective customers, with a better first impression of you and your business.