In today's digital world, there are no hiding things - we have our phone in our hand that connects us to a global interweb of clients, businesses or customers, whether we are with them in person or not.
In a competitive market, never has it been so important to maintain not just an impactful, but a squeaky clean presence. What do people find when they Google you prior to "meeting" you for the first time? Yes, we all do it. Many love playing 'Sherlock Holmes' and they research you from the comfort of their home or office.
This may influence decisions to:
- Hire you for their company.
- Invest if you are a startup.
- Influence business decisions e.g to partner with you, refer business to you or use your service.
- Reconsider going on a blind date with you.
- Reconsider your business meeting.
I, myself, have been influenced - I once spoke to a CEO of a digital marketing agency on the phone and loved her business mentality, but decided not to meet her after I saw her Instagram. Her photos were all pouting bedroom and car selfies. It hardly screams 'professional,' right?!
A negative Online Brand Management (OBM) can have a severe impact on a person or brand's reputation and REVENUE.
But, OBM isn't just about ensuring there is no negative impact on your brand, in fact, having no online presence can be just as bad. It may make you appear unestablished or give the impression you have something to hide. This goes for both companies AND individuals.
Social media isn't just used to build brand awareness, drive leads and generate traffic, it's also a powerful CRM and customer communication tool- we can use to announce product launches, events and new initiatives. Also, to engage with customers and build relationships.
Much of senior management now understand having their own personal brand online can help them leverage new and better clients.
In fact, a recent article by Forbes suggested that many have allocated budget towards it this year.
OBM can be broken into 2 categories:
Consider your target market when positioning your brand; conduct lots of market research - what's your USP?
Have an integrated and creative social media strategy. Create content that adds value to engage with new and prospective clients, also called 'inbound marketing.' What informs them, 'edutains' them and excites them? What problems do they face that you can solve?
Have a personal website. The good thing about a building your own personal brand is it can never be taken away from you, even if you change profession. Add all your projects, blog posts on topics that interest you and achievements.
Monitor what's said about you on the web. Keep track of your brand mentions for anything that may be harmful and that may tarnish your reputation. Set up a Google Alert for your name, business and product. To keep track of social media, use Social Mention.
To measure engagement and response use Google Analytics and Social Media Insights. What works for my brand won't work for your audience. Tweak and reposition.
Avoid uploading anything to do with politics or religion on your social channels. Often, many of you professionals contacts are likely to add and follow you these days.
Always adhere to your company and personal values. Put yourself in your audience shoes - do they really want to see a video of you on a wild night out?
If you manage your company and personal brand in the right way, you can open yourself up to a magnitude of career, thought leadership and business opportunities, new and higher paying customers. More revenue.
Author Bio: Briar Prestidge is a personal brand strategist with an international career spanning over NYC, London, Australia and NZ. Her agency, Briar Prestidge Consultancy, works across-industry and at all levels. Clients of hers include TEDx speakers and top regional professionals. She also runs the online business platform and networking community Deals in High Heels.