Reflection seems to be in order as another year draws to a close.
What did we accomplish? What goals do we have? Where are we?
When pondering accomplishments for the year, the mind wanders to sales targets, planning the dream vacation, losing weight (the perennial). But a different sort of reflection might be in order this time: What do we look like online? When doing a Google search for yourself (or your business), what shows up? Nothing? Something negative? Or just the wrong information?
So how about a New Year’s’ resolution to improve your online reputation?
Perhaps a pledge to be more visible online or address that embarrassing (or worse) image that is floating out there (after all, we can put on a suit, clip our nails, and bring our IPad full of facts as preparation for a business meeting, but it’s all for naught if our online reputation is not up to par as a true reflection of our business or ourselves).
Get started by simply doing a Google search and honestly reviewing what you see while asking these questions:
- Do you like what you see?
- Does it reflect who you are?
- What’s missing?
- Does it set the right tone?
- Does it show you as an expert in your business?
When, with that in mind, how about some New Year’s Resolutions?
I Will be Aware of My Online Reputation, and Not Post Pictures of Myself Chugging Beer
Start simply by just being aware of what is said about you online by conducting a Google search. Look every once in awhile but at least monthly. With a bit more ambition, set up a Google Alert to monitor your name or business (it’s is easy and helpful). Also, pause before you post an image of you that might be embarrassing–or worse. In general, be cognizant of what you add online because like a tattoo, it’s awfully hard and painful to remove.
I Will Post On Social Media Daily, Really I Will
Be active on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Choose one platform to start with by posting things that interest you and that you want to share with others–but not overtly sell–and grow your Connections or Followers. Carve out fifteen minutes a day at least for this.
I Will Write (and Add) One Blog Post Weekly
This could be a big time commitment but writing a blog can be powerful. It helps get your site noticed by Google and, most importantly, by others, such as prospective clients by showing that you are the expert in your field. Concentrate on answering common questions that you get asked, and translate them into a 500-word discussion with a focus on your audience and on solutions. Be specific and targeted. Doing this will lead to more traffic and a larger online presence.
I Will Give Up Hope That The Negative Link Will Go Away and Will Repair My Online Reputation
This is a big one too, and probably requires the help of a professional online reputation management company. Some things can be done on your own, such as those mentioned above, but in reality, repairing a damaged reputation can require hundreds of hours or more–a part time job, really–to successfully complete. Start with the commitment to get it resolved as your resolution, and search out help, and take it from there.
I Will Be More [Authoritative, Giving, Humorous, Authentic…Whatever] Online
This is a bit advanced but is important since it’s attempting to change how people perceive you and how they feel about you. Do you want to be warm and fuzzy, the go-to authoritative expert, or present balanced views with a light touch? All are personal preferences but should reflect your personality and be a good fit for your business. Most likely, this requires a shift in your approach to writing content and to what you add to social media.
Remember, like all New Year’s resolutions, they are made to be broken. But don’t despair: start with the awareness that your online reputation matters, and try conquering one resolution. Keep it simple, and you could easily make some vast improvements in how you appear online next year.