How often do you check to see how you look online? Maybe a few times a year when you run a Google search out of interest? The rest of the time you’re using social media anyway so you have a rough idea of what you’re saying I expect.
Monitoring yourself is not as self-indulgent as it might sound, as there are good business reasons to get this right. Here are just a few that we can think of:
Being found easily on Google for your name can help to bring in business.
People remember names and it’s often easier to search for a person than a business name. If you’re on LinkedIn you should be returned high up in the search results, making it simple to be found, as it’s a highly optimised social network.
Social media provides an insight into your company
How you appear on social media reflects on your business. This includes personal as well as business social profiles as you’ll appear in search results for both is your privacy settings are open.
What goes onto the Internet stays there
Even if you think that your personal brand in business is not that important now, it might be in five years time. Unfortunately that embarrassing blog you wrote five years ago can still appear in search results!
Personalities are driving new business
Social media has allowed us all to develop a more public persona. Whilst we have to be clear about what is private and shouldn’t be easily found, professional profiles are increasingly important. It’s now more common to see more than one blogger in a business, each of them within their own area of expertise. Sharing professional viewpoints can bring really positive PR and those people in your organisation that are able to develop a strong profile can bring real benefits.
Things to consider:
Bearing those points in mind, it’s time to check how you appear online. Whilst Company Facebook Pages, Twitter profiles and LinkedIn Company Pages all have their benefits (don’t stop these), personal brands are now equally important. Your website is still useful for outlining profiles for each of you but it’s quite static. And anyway potential clients will check your website and then look for profiles on social media to find out more about who they might be working with.
So…first of all, get everybody’s LinkedIn profiles up to date, as it’s the number one social network for professionals (there are now 12 million UK LinkedIn accounts. Think about how you differentiate yourselves so it’s clear what everyone’s specialties are.
Secondly, take a fresh look at your business and decide if there are potential bloggers, or people who should be representing you across other social media platforms such as Twitter. Try searching for examples to see how this can be done – Caterpillar has an online community for example and they do this really well: http://caterpillar.lithium.com/
Think about organising training sessions and developing guidelines for employees to help develop the right sort of profile.
Finally as businesses, it really is time to embrace social media rather than avoid it!