If you run a business there is no avoiding the necessity of an online presence; being attainable via technology is no longer an option, but a demand among consumers. But how do you ensure that you and your company are being cast in the most favorable light? Below you will find 5 steps that pave the pathway to a perfectly polished online presence.
1. Access the Situation
Find out what, if any, information is already circling the web and access the current status of your online reputation. Try to see if unfavorable mentions can be edited or extend your effort and join the conversation. Be sure not to police these sites and people’s freedom of opinion; just try to (gently) add clarity and redemption wherever possible.
Then, set up Google alerts for you and your company’s name. Because Google will send you a link to any site that mentions you, you will be able to stay on top of what is being said about your business.
Once you’ve accessed the situation at hand, it’s time to speak on behalf of your business and build an authoritative presence that knows (and shares) the inner workings of your brand. AKA, it’s time to join some online platforms.
2. Contribute with Consistency and Completeness
Having two complete online profiles will beat 5+ half-finished profiles any day of the week. Completeness doesn’t just stop at your “About Me”; polish your profiles with Avatars, proper verbiage and interactive media (photos, videos) that compliment and complete your online image.
Keep in mind that in order to master a social media site, you need to be FIT.
- Familiar with the site’s conduct codes and etiquette: A lot of sites have unwritten codes of conduct that veteran users have come to expect. Take the time to explore each site’s unique rhythm with which people interact to avoid looking like a fish out of water.
- Interactive with audience members: “Likes” and “Re-tweets” won’t mean much if you leave them alone. You’ve got to interact and have a conversation if you want to make a lasting connection.
- Timely with posts: Loyalty among your viewers comes from active posting that they can learn to rely on.
3. Value Quality Content
Despite your interactive photo contest or Twitter campaign, providing your audience with quality content they can actually use is favorable for your online image. Push the sale aside and offer personal tips and lessons learned from past experiences.
Add a blog tab to your website where you can share this quality content, and establish yourself as an expert within your niche. By swapping out overt marketing techniques with usable content your credibility will build among online audiences.
4. Protect Privacy
While investing quality time in your online presence make sure to protect its privacy. Interact with sites’ privacy settings and understand exactly what information you’re making public. Stay on top of Facebook’s ever-changing privacy settings and remember that Twitter is considered the most public of all platforms (i.e. making your profile private won’t stop others from quoting you).
Additionally, be sure to set up a LinkedIn profile which the general public considers to be the professional counterpoint of Facebook; position it as reputable by posting your online portfolio and prompt past contacts to provide you with testimonials about your work.
5. Stay Genuine
This might seem contradictory considering this article is encouraging you to present the best version of yourself online, however, reminding the world that you are a human and not a flawless robot is a huge element of having a successful online presence.
Show humility, be humble and admit to mistakes with an honest and forthright approach. Social media blunders are inevitable in life; keep audiences on your side by reminding them of your unique human nature and everyone’s ability to be flawesome.
What other ways can we create an awesome online presence? Share your tips in the comments below!