Does your online image say “expert in your field”? Or does it say, “Doesn’t know what they’re doing!”?
You might that think social media is not really important, but it actually is. The consumer is searching for information when they need or want it. What do they see when they stumble upon your Facebook business page, your LinkedIn profile, Google My Business page or Twitter profile?
Here are Some Social Media Online Image Blunders I’ve Seen:
Google My Business (GMB): A local business that hasn’t been verified. They haven’t posted anything — pictures or promotions. Videos on YouTube are years old and they come up in Google searches! These things are huge. If you’re not a verified local business, you’re not going to come up in Google maps – hence you don’t exist. If you’re not posting regularly to your GMB page, Google may ignore you!
Social Media Cover Graphics: The social media cover graphic is a free billboard. Take advantage of it. Folks should know at first glance what you do. That’s part of your online image.
Take the example here, this is a Facebook page. What do you think they’re about? Gardening? Tropical vacations? Herbal products? None of those.
They have a clothing line made from sustainable materials.
You have 2 seconds to catch someone’s attention online! They need to know immediately what it is that you do!
No cover graphic — lazy, unprofessional. Fuzzy graphic — doesn’t care. Again, it’s a free billboard — use it. About section incomplete — not an expert in anything. This is free space to insert keywords and sell your product or service. Don’t use flowery language. Describe what you have to offer. Use up all the space.
Send Message call-to-action (CTA) & you don’t respond quickly or at all — I don’t want your business. Put a link to your website. That will help increase traffic. And, put “Learn More” rather than “Visit Website” — it’s more of a command — a better CTA.
Zero tweets. No picture or logo. That says newbie or fake account. If the “handle” (username) has your company name, it says that you are not an expert in anything.
Bio with personal information on a business account — I’m not serious about my business. I don’t care how many kids you have (unless you’re a mom blogger) or that you love to go fishing. I want to see what information you have to share. Keep personal separate. You can have more than one Twitter account as long as you have 2 separate emails.
Incomplete profile, no picture – unprofessional, untrustworthy. Read: How to Market your business on LinkedIn.
No company profile page — you’re not legit.
People buy from those they know and trust.
Setting up social media accounts and not posting on them daily — you’re not in business, you don’t care about your customers, you don’t want to connect with your customers. If you’re not going to use your social media accounts, close them. Moreover, take off the links from your website.
How about the Online Image on Your Blog and Website?
Blog: Last post was more that 1 month ago — Lazy, no longer in business.
No social media buttons – you don’t want to grow your following or you’re not with today’s culture. Furthermore, you make me work to connect with you — not interested in my business.
Free Blogger or WordPress site with no domain name — this is a hobby and not a real business. Cheap. It doesn’t cost that much to have a domain name and a hosted WordPress site and blog.
Links that don’t work on your website (404 Page not Found) — incompetent, not tech savvy. You don’t care about user experience. Your website is way more than a pretty online brochure!
Having an incomplete social media profile page is like having a sloppy lobby.
Social Media and Your Personal Online Reputation
Your online reputation can change from good to bad in seconds.
When was the last time you Googled yourself?
Recently, a gal who’s currently a job-seeker, Googled her name and a sad story of a little girl that was kidnapped in Europe came up. Same name, different person.
She asked me, “What can I do about it?”
Not easy. It’ll take a little work. If the kidnapping is not recent news, but she’s never been found, it’s still going to be in the search engine results. If there is an update to the news story, that will rank at the time it breaks and as long as it’s top news.
Be Pro-Active with Your “Brand”
What she — and anyone — can do is be pro-active. Create personal profiles in all the social networks — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, flickr, Picasa, etc. — with what you want people to know about you. Keep it positive, don’t brag too much. For a company, it would be business pages and profiles. (Related article: Keep Personal and Business Separate)
Do a short video introduction of yourself and upload it to YouTube and write the transcript of the video in the description — Google picks up the text not the video content.
Start a blog, write a post at least once a week. Make sure you have a “by line.” Add your name to the tags and create an “about” page.
The more common your name, the harder it will be to keep your information on the top.
I first started doing Internet marketing in 1995. When Google came around in 1998, and I googled my name, the only other “Giselle Aguiar” was a meteorologist in Brazil. Not anymore. There are several in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Make Sure that Folks who are Looking for you Can Find you.
All my life, people have misspelled my name. In the keyword <meta> tag on my personal website, I wrote every single misspelling of my name that I ever encountered. Also, put your school and university information on the networks so former classmates can find you — especially on LinkedIn.
Bury the bad with the good.
Monitor your mentions (reputation) on the networks and google yourself every so often. You can’t get rid of bad information with your name in it, but you can replace it with positive information and push it down on the search results. Create a Google Alert for your name and your company name and monitor anything written online. When you google yourself, your LinkedIn profile should come up first if you don’t have a website. Make sure it’s up to date with a current picture, title and job experience. Moreover, if you’re going to attend a business networking event, make sure your LinkedIn profile is current. I get frustrated when I meet someone, have their business card in my hand, yet I can’t find them on LinkedIn because:
- There’s no picture — so I’m not sure if it’s them.
- The company they work for doesn’t match the business card.
- Their city is not the one I’m in where I just met them.
- Their email addresses don’t match.
- They don’t have a company profile page.
Monitor Your Brand or Company Name’s #hashtag
A contributor for a TV news network tells the story that he was traveling to San Francisco on Delta Airlines and had an issue at the departure airport. He tweeted about it and someone responded, “retweet it using #Delta”. He did and when he landed in San Francisco, there was a Delta employee waiting for him at the gate with a gift certificate and an apology. How did that happen? They were monitoring “#Delta” – great customer service tactic.
Does it say –
- Hey, I’ve got my act together!
- I’m a work in progress.
- I am totally clueless. %-[
The greatest #EpicFail is a technology company or a web marketing firm with incomplete company profile pages, cut off logos and no cover graphics.
The “cobbler’s kid’s never has new shoes” excuse only goes so far.
First impressions and online reputations are the strongest element when it comes to branding. It can make or break a sale. Bad social media can turn a potential customer over to your competitor. You used to have 7 seconds to catch someone’s attention. Now, it’s only 2. If they can’t understand what it is you do or have to offer at first glance, they’re going elsewhere.
- First, each business social media profile page is a Free Billboard! Take advantage of it. Use quality graphics and invest in a graphic designer if you’re not graphically-inclined. Having an incomplete social profile is like having a sloppy lobby. Think of each network profile page as an extension of your website.
- Second, the “about” sections help potential customers find you when they’re searching for your product or service. Each network has it’s own internal search engine.
- Third, they are ways to engage with your target market, peers and strategic partners.
- Fourth, they help establish you as an expert in your field.
Don’t Skimp on Your Image.
I teach classes regulary for Greater Phoenix SCORE: Look for "Planning Your Online Marketing", "Social Media Marketing 101" and "How to Get on the First Page of Google" at the Workshop page. SCORE also offers other Marketing topics like branding, copywriting and more! Check the full calendar here.