When you have a meeting coming up with a prospective client or a vendor, what do you do to prepare? If you’re like most people, you spend some time searching the web to find out what you can about the other person.
The proliferation of information online has made it possible to very often discover a great amount of detail about another person’s life before you ever meet them in person, and this of course goes both ways. How often has it occurred to you that upon your first meeting with a colleague, client or vendor, you are most likely meeting someone who already knows something about you?
In this light, it is clear that you cannot afford to leave unflattering or discreditable information about you lying around out there. Who knows what another person might see that could turn his or her opinion of you sour without you even knowing about it?
Fortunately, there are things that you can do to manage your online reputation and, although you will never have full control of the information about you, it is possible to improve your reputation:
Find Out What’s Being Written About You Online
The first step you should take is to get an idea of what another person might see when looking for information about you. Do this by trying a few different searches on the web, including your name, your name and city, your name and job title, your name and company, etc.
Be sure to check the first two or three pages of search results, since you don’t want to overlook items that might show up for someone who is really looking for details about you. You can use this action to make a list of any websites or profiles that should be your primary target in a reputation improvement project.
Set Up Google Alerts for Your Name or Company Name
A free tool known as Google Alerts will send you notifications when your name is featured in new places on the internet, and this can be helpful for you to stay on the ball in managing your reputation. When you get such an alert, you most likely will be finding out about the citation before your colleagues do, allowing you to take remedial action where necessary.
Get Your Name Out There
It can be a problem if your social network profiles are sitting exposed to the general public, but on the other side of the coin you can cause yourself problems by not having the right accounts set up. Some people even have a tendency to be suspicious about someone who they cannot find online.
If you plan on networking, make sure that you have accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn and any other social networks or websites which may be relevant to your industry. Having a nice photo and a well-written intro can help you earn another person’s trust before you have even met them.
You may think of yourself as being someone who just doesn’t do social media, but the time has past when you could afford this attitude. Because so many people turn to the internet to get details about others they plan to have business with, it is in your best interests to engage on social media.
Don’t just regurgitate another cat video on YouTube; take the time to make sure that your posts are thoughtful and aimed at helping to increase awareness of the message you want others to have about you. When someone finds you on e.g. LinkedIn and sees that you have many contacts and have regularly been sharing posts, this recognition will help them to make a connection with you.
Get busy, get your name out there, and get in touch with the right people you need to help you move upward!
Fix Your Online Reputation by Fixing Problems in Your Business
At times it can seem to appear difficult to know what to do to improve your online reputation. However, there are a number of things that can be done that will do this and help your business overall. First and foremost, work to fix any problems with your business itself.
If you have negative online reviews on your customer service, beef it up. If there is another problem that keeps coming up, work out how to fix it. Also, take a look at your brand and what you can do to improve it. This could be as simple as getting more involved in the community, volunteer work, networking or helping others/righting past wrongs.
Your online reputation often says more about your business than anything else and working to continue to improve it will guarantee a brighter future for both you and your potential clients.