A business reputation can no longer come only from a firm handshake and a confident demeanor. Instead, the reputation of principal employees and the business is formed from an online presence. A potential business associate can look up information online, perhaps from your social media accounts, blog posts, organization affiliations or anything that is written about you. If the information they find does not give them the right impression, you’re likely to lose the potential connection.
For an in-person networking event, the rules are common sense. Practice good personal hygiene, dress professionally, and be friendly. The online personality has a different set of rules. Here are five tips to follow for developing your online reputation.
- Use a well-chosen email address. Ideally your professional email should have the business domain. If you don’t have a website for various reasons, then a second alternative would be a Gmail referencing your name or business. Avoid unprofessional or personal phrases like “littlepiggy22”. The email is vital for building business credibility.
- Keep the email signature sufficient, not extravagant. The options for dressing up an email including template, fonts, colors and inserts can be overwhelming. The feel of your email should be representative of your industry. A good default is informative and simple. Avoid the background art as it can be difficult to read through and print. Instead, include your name, title, and contact information. Font and color should be simple and not overpowering. A scaled down business logo could be added.
- Website should be kept current and fresh. Remember, that what is seen and written creates a feel about your business. Make it worthwhile and helpful. A customer will use the information you post to make a decision about you and your company. Thousands of quality templates and WordPress have made it incredibly easy to set up a clean website.
- Always be conscious of your online reputation. A simple Google search with your name, an associates name or the business can reveal a great amount of history to a potential client. A comment to an article, reference from a blog post, or social media posts will display; for years back. Conduct a search of your own to see what you find. You might consider using a service to make positive results display at the top.
- Make an impressive social media presence. Choose the platform most appropriate to your business, and invest time and thought into creating a clear and decisive representation of who you are. This will help in directing searches to the content you want the customer to see.
An oversight in any one of these areas may have a marginal impact to your business, but a coordinated effort of all five segments can create a strong and confident impression; encouraging potential customers to utilize your business or service.