Suppose you meet someone at a networking event, or your information is a passed along through your network as a referral. Chances are they will head straight to an online search engine to do their due diligence in researching who you are and what you do. So what will they find?
An online reputation is essentially the sum of how you are viewed on all of the touch points on the Internet. As an individual brand or a business (or both), it’s critical to pay close attention to what comes up on the search results for your name in order to control and shape your online reputation.
Consider all of your touch points online and what comes up in a search. Is your personal website on the first page, and what does it represent about you? Are your social media platforms – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+ – represented in the search results, and do they accurately reflect your brand image and professional expertise? Do the comments, feedback and reviews throughout social media or on consumer sites such as Yelp cast you in a positive light?
Here are five tips to ensure you are putting your best foot forward when it comes to your online reputation:
Claim your brand name. Optimize your website for search engines through Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and whether your brand is your name or a business, make sure no one else is controlling or misrepresenting a piece of your brand.
Manage your website design and layout. Ideally, this is on the first page of results. If your website is outdated or sloppy, it may lead others to think that about you.
Control perception on social media. Not only should you establish and build an online presence, but what you post on social media can shape your reputation. Post relevant, informative content on your industry on all channels to establish a positive presence.
Interact, engage but don’t overreact. Be consistently polite and courteous with everyone with your brand in mind. Be reachable for your clients and customers, respond promptly and don’t overreact to negative comments or feedback.
Monitor the flow of information. People talk, so it’s important to know what others are saying about you. Utilize alert tools to monitor your brand and when you are mentioned online. Ask happy customers to post reviews, and feature them on your channels.