Now that 2013 is in full swing, more than ever we are representing ourselves 24 hours a day, 7 days a week whether we realize it or not. Between Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs etc., our names are out there for the World Wide Web to see. To each entrepreneur’s benefit, this means MARKETING. How do you maintain a positive online reputation? One of the easiest ways is to steer clear from the mistakes that businesses make to RUIN that reputation. Below is a list of what TO DO and what NOT TO DO:
- Do you have a personal Facebook account as well as business account? Either be sure your personal page is strictly private or be your own monitor. You are selling yourself as well as the product/ service that your business provides. Anything you put out in the internet universe can never be removed. Deletion is an option, but once out there, it’s out there. Respect yourself and always keep that business hat on. Make sure that friendly banter between you and your cousin doesn’t cross the line and leads any potential customers astray. Same rule goes with all other social media outlets, if you would not represent your business in that light then don’t represent yourself in that light. You are your business, take pride in your posts.
- Have you ever entered your own name in Google or Bing? It’s ok, everyone does it. Next time you do, take the opportunity to see what others see: search your business name as well as your name. Make note of the results. Here at ElementsLocal we use a Social Media Manager to track communications about business. The search could produce anything from customer reviews of your business, to that old website you created back in 2002. Take the opportunity to cancel any old accounts and remove yourself from any unwanted attention. Interact with customers, thank them for positive feedback and respectfully resolve any negative issues.
- Do you feel very strongly about a current event? Don’t be afraid to express your opinion. Rule of thumb: stay positive. A close minded negative post could drive any potential customers away, but a positive opinion could open up your personal brand. Personable posts separate you from a faceless name. There is nothing wrong with healthy discussion about the latest controversy in the news. Negative rants on the other hand will likely steer people away. Once again, you represent your business. If you are negative, it will reflect on your business.
- On the note of your opinions: be weary of talking about yourself too much. When posting, take a minute to flip the script. IF YOU were online how much do you want to read about one individual? Personally, I could talk all day if you let me. How soon would you stop caring about what I have to say? How soon until I am that post that you skip or heaven forbid, unfollow? Not to say that you don’t have an interesting life and people aren’t curious about what you have to say. They are. Just not 100% of the time. You already know how to engage your audience, now keep their attention. What would interest you? What would keep interested? References to a new article or intriguing conversation that corresponds to your business or personal interest keep your persona fresh and your followers coming back for more.
All in all remember this: YOU create and maintain your brand. If you take pride in yourself and your business, your reputation will grow in a positive way.