Your online reputation can change from good to bad in seconds.
When was the last time you Googled yourself?
Recently, a gal who’s currently a job-seeker, Googled her name and a sad story of a little girl that was kidnapped in Europe came up. Same name, different person.
She asked me, “What can I do about it?”
Not easy. It’ll take a little work. If the kidnapping is not recent news, but she’s never been found, it’s still going to be in the search engine results. If there is an update to the news story, that will rank at the time it breaks and as long as it’s top news.
Be Pro-Active with Your “Brand”
What she — and anyone — can do is be pro-active. Create personal profiles in all the social networks — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, flickr, Picasa, etc. — with what you want people to know about you. Keep it positive, don’t brag too much. For a company, it would be business pages and profiles. (Related article: Keep Personal and Business Separate)
Do a short video introduction of yourself and upload it to YouTube and write the transcript of the video in the description — Google picks up the text not the video content.
Start a blog, write a post at least once a week. Make sure you have a “by line.” Add your name to the tags and create an “about” page.
The more common your name, the harder it will be to keep your information on the top.
I first started doing Internet marketing in 1995. When Google came around in 1998, and I googled my name, the only other “Giselle Aguiar” was a meteorologist in Brazil. Not anymore. There are several in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Make Sure that Folks who are Looking for you Can Find you.
All my life, people have misspelled my name. In the keyword <meta> tag on my personal website, I wrote every single misspelling of my name that I ever encountered. Also, put your school and university information on the networks so former classmates can find you — especially on LinkedIn.
Bury the bad with the good.
Monitor your mentions (reputation) on the networks and google yourself every so often. You can’t get rid of bad information with your name in it, but you can replace it with positive information and push it down on the search results. Create a Google Alert for your name and your company name and monitor anything written online. When you google yourself, your LinkedIn profile should come up first if you don’t have a website. Make sure it’s up to date with a current picture, title and job experience. Moreover, if you’re going to attend a business networking event, make sure your LinkedIn profile is current. I get frustrated when I meet someone, have their business card in my hand, yet I can’t find them on LinkedIn because:
- There’s no picture — so I’m not sure if it’s them.
- The company they work for doesn’t match the business card.
- Their city is not the one I’m in where I just met them.
- Their email addresses don’t match.
- They don’t have a company profile page.
Monitor Your Brand or Company Name’s #hashtag
A contributor for a TV news network tells the story that he was traveling to San Francisco on Delta Airlines and had an issue at the departure airport. He tweeted about it and someone responded, “retweet it using #Delta”. He did and when he landed in San Francisco, there was a Delta employee waiting for him at the gate with a gift certificate and an apology. How did that happen? They were monitoring “#Delta” – great customer service tactic.
Does it say –
- Hey, I’ve got my act together!
- I’m a work in progress.
- I am totally clueless. %-[
The greatest #EpicFail is a technology company or a web marketing firm with incomplete company profile pages, cut off logos and no cover graphics.
The “cobbler’s kid’s never has new shoes” excuse only goes so far.
First impressions and online reputations are the strongest element when it comes to branding. It can make or break a sale. Bad social media can turn a potential customer over to your competitor. You used to have 7 seconds to catch someone’s attention. Now, it’s only 2. If they can’t understand what it is you do or have to offer at first glance, they’re going elsewhere.
- First, each business social media profile page is a Free Billboard! Take advantage of it. Use quality graphics and invest in a graphic designer if you’re not graphically-inclined. Having an incomplete social profile is like having a sloppy lobby. Think of each network profile page as an extension of your website.
- Second, the “about” sections help potential customers find you when they’re searching for your product or service. Each network has it’s own internal search engine.
- Third, they are ways to engage with your target market, peers and strategic partners.
- Fourth, they help establish you as an expert in your field.
If you don’t have the time to do set up your social media profile pages correctly, hire someone to set it up for you! That’s what we do. How much is your time worth? You can’t keep putting it off.Follow Me: