Getting more exposure and publicity for your business is great, but not at the expense of your privacy. This guest post from Michelle Peterman shows you how to protect your private life.
Even if your business is you, it is important to keep your private life private. There is only so much you want someone you’ve never met to find out about you, right?
We’ve talked on this site before about protecting your reputation and in our post, “Tools to Monitor Your Online Reputation,” we gave you a list of web tools you can use to keep an eye on what people are saying and writing about you online.
In this post we’re going to teach you how to protect your personal reputation and keep it separate from your public persona.
#1. Get Off the Public Record
Did you ever wonder how complete strangers seem to find out where your clients live or how to get ahold of them on the phone — even though everything posted publicly on their websites and social profiles led to agents and managers?
It’s because those people paid $20 for it on one of the many public records search portals you can find on the Internet. These portals operate on a “do first, ask later” basis. This means anybody’s information is findable unless that person requests that it be removed.
Spend some time filling out and sending in the necessary paperwork to get all of your (or your clients’) information removed from those portals and databases.
Helpful Hint: Go to the source, the county records clerk. Many counties will allow people to substitute PO Boxes and omit phone numbers if having them on the public record would put them in danger.
#2. Separate Accounts
If you (or your client) does business under a pseudonym this will be easier than if business is done under your own (or your client’s own). You want to create separate profiles on the social media networks — one for your public life and one for your private life.
Yes, it’s a lot of work to post to two profiles, but if you want to be on social media as you and not have people figuring out how to access pictures of your kids, you’ll want separate profiles. The separation also lends you some legal oomph if you have to go after someone for stalking or crossing other lines.
Even so, on the private profile, make sure the settings are turned all the way up. You do not want anybody to be able to see your phone number, address, etc. Have an “ask first” policy about being tagged in photos or posts, etc.
#3. Protect Your Hardware
Anti-virus software for your computer or laptop is just the beginning. It’s also important to protect your smartphone and tablets — especially if they operate on the Android OS (open sourced operating systems are easier to hack than proprietary ones). According to Trend Micro, the best smartphone and tablet security doesn’t just protect the device itself; it will protect cloud access and other “open” lines of communication you (or your client) may use.
It’s also a good idea to encrypt your home and business networks and to set up some serious network firewalls to keep the “undesirables” out. The last thing you need is someone to publish something you or your client wrote in a private email to a family member or an embarrassing selfie that was taken as a joke!
These things might seem like a lot of work, but remember: this work is being done to help keep you and your clients safe. And the work you put into keeping your clients safe is work that goes into protecting everybody’s reputation.
Michelle is a former communications associate who transitioned into building her own freelance business. She enjoys sharing the knowledge she accumulated from her journey with the business community.
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies, which she's also using for her own bling flip flop company.
Did you enjoy this post? Subscribe now and get new posts either via RSS feed or your email. Please click on the RSS button below or type your primary email address below and click "Subscribe."