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Why Reputation Management Is Critical to Your Personal Brand

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following is the tenth in the series "Personal Branding For A Better Life," in which marketing expert Jim Joseph applies big brand marketing lessons to help you build a successful personal brand.

Never before have we been able to create, build and market our personal brand like we can today -- thanks to the digital world. But just like the big brands, we have to manage our reputation online and off. It's something I do every day.

The digital world has given me a voice for my craft. Every morning at 5:00 a.m. I write a blog post and share it on social media. People I would never otherwise come in contact with follow me all day long as a result. Without the digital world, I wouldn't have the reach or impact that I've built.

But it comes with a risk. Not everyone is going to agree with my point of view. In the business world, that can be polarizing.

Personal branding isn't just about getting noticed, published, and "known." This isn't about being Kim Kardashian at all. It's about being yourself and managing how people perceive you.

You can use the digital world to express your brand and stay connected with others, with no intention of fame or fortune. I look at the behavior of my two kids. Neither one has any intention of fame. But they use social media as a vehicle to express what's important to them and to connect with their network of friends.

The digital space gives us the opportunity to stay connected with one another, all the time. Among Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, I'm with my network of people all day long. I communicate with friends, family and colleagues from all aspects of my life -- literally from grade school right through to my current job, and every milestone in between.

When I see any of these folks IRL, it's like we've never been apart. Reunion events are non-events now.

#insert related here#

In many ways, these people are my brand just like your network is your brand as well. These are the people that have shaped our own individual experiences, built our careers, and made memories with us. These people are a big part of our personal brands and they have helped to build our own reputation.

The sum of all your social-media activity is truly a reflection of your collective brand, so manage it all with purpose. Your behavior on social media becomes your brand and builds your reputation. While the digital world is your platform, use it with care because there is a fine line between productive and destructive behavior.

When used wisely, social media can be a stage upon which you perform. If used incorrectly, it can damage your image and personal brand in a New York minute.

Be careful about what you post, be cautious about the photos you publish, and be purposeful about who you let into your circle. Every interaction is your brand, so be consistent with your personal brand positioning and with the followers you have gathered.

Just like with any big brand, consistency is key to managing your brand reputation, so choose wisely at each step along the way.

Even the people you follow can be a reflection of your brand, so be conscious with every like there as well. Remember that it's all a permanent record; once someone else shares it then it's been published into the world.

It's your reputation and your brand, so manage it … just like the big brands do.

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