What Your Digital Reputation Tells Customers
The Internet is the first place people turn when they want to learn more about something or someone. Think about it. What’s the first thing you do after thinking “I wonder…”? You type the thing you’re wondering about into Google or another search engine. This is the same thing others will do when they want to find out more about you.
Your online reputation is what people are going to use to judge you and decide whether or not they want to do business with you. So when they Google (or Bing or Yahoo!) you, what do they see?
What Others Think
Obviously. When you search for something/someone online, some of the first things you are going to find (after the website that you spent months getting on to the first page of Google) are reviews, articles, posts, etc., that talk about you and what you have to offer. They will see what others have experienced when working with you and what they thought of that experience.
How You Respond to Criticism
What do you do when someone posts a negative review or a piece of negative feedback about you? The first thing someone is going to do when they find that review or article is check to see what kind of response you have to it. How you handle a situation that is not entirely within your control says a lot about you and what kind of person (or business) you are to work with.
Your Commitment to Your Community
People want to know how community-oriented you are. Sometimes this is literal: They want to see if you do volunteer work or help people who need it. The rest of the time, they want to see how much time and effort you put into giving to others. Is everything you post a thinly veiled sales pitch? Or (preferably), do you put at least as much effort into simply entertaining, informing and helping your audience? Do you give more than you try to take?
Who You Are Personally
When someone types in your name or your business’s name, they are undoubtedly going to come across some information and evidence of who you are outside of work (your personal Facebook page, for example). Remember, humans are inherently curious creatures. They want to know as much about you as possible—they’re going to click on your personal social media links, blogs, etc.
Your Competition/Campaign Style
What you say about others, particularly those who compete against you in the marketplace, says a lot about you. Do you put a lot of time and energy into trashing your competition? Or do you acknowledge them as worthy competitors and simply work hard to make yourself look as good as possible? A potential customer is going to want to know why you think you’re the best and how you address that question says quite a lot about who you are.
Each of these brushes helps paint the portrait that is you. Before you let that freak you out, think about this: You do have some say in what kind of online reputation you build for your company. You are in control of what you put out into the world. What you put out into the world has a direct impact on your reputation. Make sure you’re putting your best foot forward!
About the author:
Erin Steiner is a writer and vlogger from Portland, Oregon. She has written extensively about small business, personal finance and internet related topics.
Image ‘Social Network’ courtesy of Renjith Krishnan/FreeDigitalPhotos.Net
Image ‘Malice’ courtesy of Rattigon/FreeDigitalPhotos.Net