Hang on tight, social entrepreneurs. You are, in fact, judged by more than the company you keep.
Hard to believe that messy breakup from your once strong 20-year relationship could thwart future business dealings, but it happens daily. That arrest for public indecency during Mardi Gras could prevent tremendously lucrative deals from closing successfully. But you’re a better person now – more refined in your sociality, and much smarter when it comes to keeping your online repute squeaky clean.
How, then, can one’s social reputation gain momentum after Google displays nasty information about past business dealings you had little, if anything, to do with? Can you really release demons from your past debaucheries and build future businesses on social media platforms based off past mistakes? You can – and here’s how.
Step #1: Perform a thorough social audit
Google, as mentioned before, optimizes their algorithm for every person, place or thing in existence. This means government documents, adoptions, Google+ profiles and anything with “John Doe” in title will probably rank extremely high, with mentions of your name following close behind. Locate the sources of discerning information, jot them down or copy into a blank notepad document and prepare yourself for an uphill battle moving these items down.
Facebook wall posts, Tweets or blog post you’ve written under your Google Authorship profiles at various blogs can be remediated rather quickly with your ‘Delete’ key should they be problematic. Government documents, such as sentencing outcomes, would need specific court orders sent to Google or Bing for removal. Same goes with newspaper articles outlining your arrest on ‘such and such’ day.
Step #2: Beef up LinkedIn presence
Any entrepreneur’s best friend is LinkedIn. That being said, weak profiles are congruent with laziness, lack of respect for your field and the blatant disregard of positive relationship building. Turn your LinkedIn profile around by including full disclosure of experience, work history, personal biography and top everything off with a nice face shot.
Once completed, join groups that cater to your interests and business goals. However, do not join groups because they’ve got 50,000 members you can spam your car insurance quote website to. Remember, impressions are everything online and off; engage in conversations, offer personal experiences and prove yourself to be a valuable asset to whichever group, or groups, you’ve joined.
Step #3: Purge negative influences from Facebook, Twitter
Those individuals who are fun to party with yet have six-mile long rap sheets are prohibiting forward progress in your business dealings. Many new business partners will want relationships with you on Facebook and Twitter; regardless if you hide your friends from public view, you cannot hide the words of those who impart negativity. More important thought: associating yourself with what others say, or are about, will eventually catch up with you in some fashion – it always does. For example, take the embattled insurance niche; companies offering long term care insurance find that battling social media issues can be daunting at best; however, insurance companies also have killer phone support to back up any social media snafus.
Consider this step your ‘social cleansing’ of sorts. If you’re serious about pursuing business partnerships, obtaining an awesome career or perhaps getting seed funding, you need to approach this social media ‘change of venue’ seriously, too. If you'd been discussing your findings on various adult site with friends, perhaps now is the time to decide what you really want and change direction.
On Twitter and Facebook, join forces with individuals that are forward thinking. Bright minds with promising goals, inspirational posts and provide useful industry-related information indicative of where businesses, or entrepreneurs like yourself, need to be heading when tomorrow comes.
Step #4: Don’t fear full disclosure
At some point during this social media purging, you’ll have someone Google your name. Although indirect attacks may happen such as an obviously fake Ripoff Report, new clients won’t know things they’re reading about your online are facts or falsehoods. This is where an old fashioned phone call would clear any confusion; honesty doesn’t hurt, regardless if you’re given the job or partnership - or snubbed. They’ll appreciate your honesty, and perhaps share that token of good faith with others.
When criminal records, accusations or derogatory forum remarks come to pass, explain the situation that led to these incidents. Again, your honest can only kill the deal, yet will not obliterate your future thanks to a warm welcome from Ms. Karma.
Step #5: Let business social media work for you
To be frank, one must stick with 'their own pack' if any hope of increasing tomorrow's business acumen should exist. This means immersing your entire business in business socialization - which is right in WinWin CEO Jay Bernstein's wheelhouse. This remarkable social media for business startup, born on Independence Day, is driven by an intelligent group of eclectic business personas that can help businesses establish their identity through synergy.
WinWin's principles go back to the 'every good turn deserves another' ideology - help me push 'x' across to businesses, and 'y' will reciprocate. This should be your first stop before LinkedIn, quite honestly.
The Plain Truth
Frenemies. Bromances. Social media's evolving culture has created many new slang terms - some which you'd rather not associate yourself with unless your business actually calls for such sarcasm. Possession is 9/10th's of the law, right? This goes for your social profiles as well, people. Start taking responsibility and clean them before they consume your business endeavors.
Take your reputation, namesake and entrepreneurial goals seriously today to avoid funding hangups or missed opportunities tomorrow.