Imagine, you spend several days and nights preparing a presentation to pitch a top prospective client. He is one of the big names in the industry. If you land this client, it could dramatically transform your business.
Then, you pitch this client, and he loves your presentation.
Two days later, still no response from this prospect. What do you do? You call and email him, but still no answer.
You then hear from the grape wine that this contract went to one of your competitors.
You begin to wonder, why not us? What did we do wrong?
Did you know that 53% of vendors lose orders based on information found or not found about them?
The internet has been a revolution; it is a purely democratic platform where anyone can post anything online. Blogging and social media have become a place for people to express their views. However, people can also misuse this medium to post false information about an individual or a company.
In today’s world, anyone can spread false information, and it is essential to monitor your online reputation.
So what is online reputation? In simple words, it is the information that shows up when someone searches your name or company name online. Today, googling seems to be the number one method to get information.
Here are three ways to manage your online reputation:
#1 First Google yourself
Make sure you sign out of your Google account, turn your browser into incognito mode, and search your name or company name.
What do you see? A lot of people see their LinkedIn profile, their profiles on Facebook and other social media.
Do you like what you see?
The search results are either going to be positive, negative, or neutral.
If they are positive, there is nothing you need to worry about.
But if they are negative, you may want to write to the website owner, and ask him to pull down that information. If there is too much negative information, then you may have to hire a reputation management firm to do all the work for you.
In case the results are neutral, then you may need to work a little to show up on search results.
#2 Make a plan to manage your reputation online
A neutral search result about you means that you are not very active online. I’ve seen very successful people with little information about themselves online.
Some people will tell you to make a start by creating profiles on social media. That might be a start, but I suggest hiring a good photographer and getting good profile pictures clicked.
I think pictures matter a lot. It says a lot about you. Clicking selfies might make for good pictures on Facebook, but for professional networks like LinkedIn, you need professional clicks.
Once you have a good profile picture, there are websites like about.me where you can create a profile and write information about yourself. If you are not a good writer, then you can hire a good copywriter who can craft your story in beautiful words.
The next step is to sign up on a site like HARO where journalists are looking for industry-specific information. HARO sends queries from journalists almost three times a day, delivered right to your inbox, if any of those queries are relevant to you, you can then respond to these journalists, and there is a possibility of them quoting you in their articles.
If it is a major publication, it’s great publicity for you and your company to showcase your expertise. Even smaller blogs are good for your reputation. If you don’t have the discipline to respond to these queries, it’s best to hire a PR firm that understands the process.
Brands are built through PR, and not necessarily advertising. Even if you are an individual, you are a brand. You will get orders based on your reputation.
People looking to employ your services may not know how good you are until they hire you. So it’s essential to build your reputation before you ask for the sale.
#3 Be active online
A lot of people stay active online by blogging, commenting on articles, updating their social media posts, or even writing articles on LinkedIn Pulse. Anybody can post an article on LinkedIn.
Express your opinions, but don’t overdo it.
Write and comment about matters relevant to your industry, work or business. And spend time learning about the online world.
Industries like manufacturing might be predominantly offline, but it helps to build connections online as well. Who knows? A whole new opportunity might open up for you.
Online reputation management has become more important today than ever before. Most people search for information online before they purchase anything. Therefore, it’s vital to pay attention to your online presence continually.