If someone were to search for you on the Internet, what would they find? Would they find things that make you look good or bad? Your Internet persona is extremely important and protecting it is critical to your success.
There is a tremendous amount of information out there. It is very important that what people are reading about you makes you shine and that they want to interact with you and build a relationship with you because of what they learn about you. The first impression is a very important one and it will last forever. Your reputation and that of your business are both at stake. The concept of a web presence that is above reproach applies to every part of your life and it is critical when you have your own business or if you are trying to find a position in someone else's company. Your online reputation should be a positive emulation of who you are and what you are capable of doing. Additionally, you need to present yourself in a way that is unique, exciting, and who you are should hopefully make other people choose to do business with you rather than your competition.
Having a strong reputation
You can never hope to truly stand out above your competitors if your web presence isn't strong. The first (and most basic) thing that you can do is to make sure that all of your social media profiles are complete. You won't be noticed if you don't give people enough information to hold onto and to relate to. If you allow people to share who you are, you will allow them to get to know you as a person and to start to interact with you on different levels. Your goal when it comes to the strength of your reputation is to get your rankings on the search engines to be as high as possible.
How do you begin to make this happen?
- Start with one social network and complete your profile completely. LinkedIn is an excellent first choice since you are trying to cultivate business relationships. LinkedIn has a great deal to offer. You should explore every page and every tab.
- One by one, start to add other social networking sites to your portfolio. If you aren't sure (and most of them can be used for business), a good place to start is with the most popular ones: LinkedIn (which has already been discussed), Facebook, and Twitter. Beyond those sites, you can ask other people which sites they feel are the most effective or you can do some research on your own and figure out which ones fit your business the best.
- Become a blogger. Blogging is an excellent way to increase your reputation and web presence by sharing valuable content with other people and interacting with them in a discussion on various topics of interest.
Ensuring that everything is above reproach
If you have anything online that is in any way questionable, it needs to be removed immediately. This is commonly referred to as "digital dirt." Some examples of digital dirt might be:
- Questionable associations or memberships
- Any hint (whatsoever) of unprofessional behavior
- Information about your professional background that can in any way hurt you
- Any professional conflicts of interest that might come out
A really effective way to eliminate residual effects from the past is to build up so much positive content that the past will totally be forgotten. You can bury it so deeply that it will never surface. It isn't that you are doing something wrong at this point, it is just that you have a right to be judged by who you are presently. Of course, if you feel that it must be addressed, you are taking your chances with the person on the other end of the conversation. No doubt your honesty and transparency will be respected; however, you may or may not come out with what you want in the end.
Your web presence is critical to the success of your business. You need to make sure that the content that is on the Internet is met with a positive and favorable reaction from other people. Relationships (personal as well as professional) are delicate at times. If you are sincere, honest, and hardworking you will achieve your goals and enjoy success in your business. You need to have a great deal of pride in what you are offering to other people. If you respect yourself and your business, other people will feel the same way.