What does your online ‘brand’ say about you?  What is your online brand anyway?  Your online brand has many component parts – it is not just your website and your blog.  It is not just your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles either. Your online brand is everything and anything that anyone says online about you, your company or your products.  It is what shows up when people do a Google on your name or company name.  In short your online brand is your digital reputation.  

Why is it so important?  Because more and more people use the internet to research people before they decide to do business with them.  Of course you may already have someone’s business card but more often than not people will just “Google” their name to find their contact details – it is quicker than searching out their business card.

If there is any negative or defamatory entry about you or your business on page one of the search results do you think it likely that those people will still contact you?  Your potential customers will no longer search your name just for contact details, they also want to know how good you are, what others are saying about you and what you think about topical issues relating to your sector.  These people will look at how you represent your brand online via social media channels to see how you respond to comments and how you handle any disagreements.

Building your online brand requires effort.  It is vital that you manage and optimise your online brand and both yourself and all members of your staff must be professional in all online exchanges. The internet is largely ‘un-policed’ and as such anyone can say almost anything about anyone else online.  What you do and say online stays online forever so it is important that you understand a few of the basic ‘rules of engagement’:

Be in the Know – Set Up Alerts

It is essential that you keep yourself up to date about what is being said about your ‘brand’.  To track what others are saying about you, you should set up Google Alerts.  Google alerts is very easy to set up and manage.  Each time your name is found on Google, you will be emailed the link so you can see what is being written about you.

Image is Everything

Your online image or brand is the first impression many of your customers and prospects will get about you and your business.  Your online image is made up of what you say about yourself (profiles), what others say about you and even what the design and content of your website and blog says about you! Your image also includes your Twitter tweets,  your Facebook posts and which LinkedIn groups you belong to etc.  Make sure you have a consistent brand that gives a consistent message in all your own social media networks, your website and your blog. 

Use a Memorable name

If you have a fairly common name you can add your middle initial as well to make yourself more readily identifiable.  John Smith can become John M Smith and if that is still not clear enough add your business name as well i.e. ‘John M Smith WSI’  – now you will be found much more easily.  This is also a good ploy if you want to separate your personal brand from your professional one. 

Optimising your online brand should be done as part of your Social Media Marketing strategy.  You can definitely increase your visibility online and reinforce your online brand.

Please leave a comment below if you would like more information about the importance of your online brand or visit WSI IMS – WSI Internet Marketing Services for UK Businesses.

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