Today, more and more professionals choose to become independent contractors; more commonly referred to as freelancers. As a result, the freelance workforce is slowly but surely taking over the U.S. job market. According to Tech.co, the percentage of freelance workers is expected to reach 42% of the entire U.S. workforce. Moreover, the same source claims that 65% of freelancers anticipate substantial growth of the freelance industry in the near future.
Special attention should be paid to the Gen Z (people born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s) portion of the freelance workforce in America. Reportedly, 73% of Gen Z freelancers have become freelancers by choice. This is also strongly influenced by the fact that this generation, as well as Millennials, are more likely to communicate digitally than in person. That’s why they choose the career path of a freelancer. Communication between a freelancer and a client is predominantly held online.
And this last point brings us to our discussion of online reputation management. As the majority of freelancers communicate online and choose online freelancing platforms to find work, having a spotless reputation is crucial for landing a sweet job. And for that, you need to know the foundations of online reputation management.
What are the other reasons?
- The freelance job market is rather competitive. And, apparently, doing your job well isn’t often enough. Maximizing your reputation by making the most out of your clients in terms of communication and cooperation is important if you want to outpace your competitors.
- You need a comprehensive presence. Online freelancing platforms employ a lot of freelancers every day, so much so, that platforms like Upwork even started to deny applications from newcomers and existing freelancers because the platform is so overcrowded. Managing your online reputation as a freelancer is necessary to stay relevant to this market.
As you can see, your online reputation as a freelancer needs your close attention. But, if you are a beginner, where should you start?
Here are some actionable online reputation management tips for freelancers.
online reputation management tips for freelancers
Tip #1: Focus on Search Results
If you’ve chosen to become a freelancer, you should be well aware of the fact that your online persona will determine your success and credibility. That’s why it is important to do a background check on yourself from time to time to see how well you are performing, in terms of your credibility.
In this day and age, when you can learn about anyone just by googling them, keeping your online reputation clean may be difficult, mostly because it is so hard to keep up with. Luckily, there are two great ways to manage your online profile and to track any activity for damage control:
- TruthFinder: used by many companies that hire freelancers, this tool can also be very useful to you as an independent contractor. This tool works in the U.S. only, and all you have to do is to enter your first and last name as well as the city you live in. This tool does a comprehensive search on you and includes information from your social media, your employment record and even police reports (if there are any). This is a great tool for damage control and online reputation management.
- Google Play apps offer a variety of tools for a background check. These apps also keep you updated if any new information appears online.
It is also possible to just use Google to check the status of your online reputation, although this is more time-consuming than using one comprehensive tool. It is also important to check websites like Yelp and other online resources where customers can leave their feedback to keep everything under control.
Tip #2: Keep Your Social Presence Consistent
Your social media accounts are no longer a private matter. Apparently, even when companies hire employees to work in the office, they do social media screenings. According to Business News Daily, 70% of employers performed social media screenings of potential employees, and 43% of the surveyed employees do social media screenings on existing employees.
If you’re a freelancer, a company will be even more inclined to learn about you as a professional and as a person in general. Many companies worry about their reputation, both online and off, and if your name will be often mentioned, there are even more chances that your social media presence will be checked.
HR specialists, who often perform social media screenings, advise freelancers to have separate private and work accounts. “Often people use social media to share private content with their friends and family members, it’s very common,” says Patrick Dickinson, the head of HR at Flatfy. “Our company frequently works with freelancers and we often conduct social media screenings, as we hire content writers, whose names will later show up on our blog. If you don’t want private information to influence hiring decisions, make your accounts private.”
Tip #3: Make Use of Online Reputation Management Tools
Online reputation management may sound daunting, as the Internet is overcrowded with information, new volumes of data are added each day, and it’s very hard to keep up. Luckily, there are actionable online tools that can help you keep track of your online reputation faster:
- Google Alerts: this is a very easy-to-use tool, which only uses your name to navigate you through any mentions of your persona online. Google notifies you via email each time your name is mentioned somewhere on the Internet.
- Social Mention: this tool performs a real-time analysis of your social media presence, including positive, negative and neutral mentions.
- Trackur: this is the most comprehensive online reputation management tool. It provides you with a thorough analysis of your online presence with graphs and result sources.
Using at least one of these tools will already help you automate online reputation management, helping you support your credibility as a successful freelancer.
Managing online reputation may be very time-consuming and labor-intensive, but it’s absolutely necessary for a successful freelancer. Hopefully, these actionable tips and tools will help make your online reputation management more easy and effective.
About the Author: Kate is a passionate writer who likes sharing her thoughts and experience with the readers. Currently, she works as a real estate agent at Flatfy.ro. She likes everything related to traveling and new countries.