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Your digital footprint is under the microscope and I’m sure right now, as you’re reading this blog, someone will be looking at your website, your Facebook page, Twitter profile or LinkedIn profile to learn more about you and your business. They’ll be looking at how you communicate and connect with your clients, your customer experience and what others are saying about you. They’re looking at your online reputation.

This is important because a positive online reputation builds trust, credibility, long-term relationships and a successful business.

Your reputation isn’t under your control, it’s based on the way others perceive you, however, what you can do is ensure you communicate, behave, act and work in ways that will build trust with your community, strengthen your brand and build a strong online presence. This doesn’t happen overnight. Building your online reputation takes rigorous work and it must be managed daily. It can take years to build credibility, influence and a strong brand, and we all know it can take minutes to lose. Issues scale fast online and if you don’t manage them properly you run the risk of losing everything you’ve worked hard for.

Building a positive online reputation

Social media is powerful for building your reputation and it must be top of mind every single day so you consistently connect, communicate, engage and build relationships in ways that are aligned with your brand.

How healthy is your online reputation? Consider these questions 10 questions.

Do you put your community first?

If your social profiles are all about you, you won’t build trust or relationships and you run the risk of losing people’s attention forever.

Do you engage and build relationships?

A successful business is built on relationships so take the time to invest in them. Personally connect and get to know people within your community and allow them to get to know you. Social media and business is about people. Make them a priority, put them first.

Do you proactively help others without expecting something in return?

There are so many opportunities online where you can answer questions, provide feedback and support others in your community. Be kind and show others you care about them without any hidden agenda or expecting anything from them in return.

Are you open, honest and transparent in your communication?

No matter what the situation, always engage in two-way communication and be open, honest and transparent with your community. This is equally important if something goes wrong. Your community will value your honesty and authenticity in all your communication and they will be the first to notice if you’re not.

Do you follow through and deliver on your promises to your clients, team, business partners, suppliers and your community?

Make a point of following through and focus on creating an exceptional customer experience for your community online and offline. Follow through and go above and beyond what is expected of you.

Do you show up every day and put in the work?

Consistent work every single day is critical for building and managing your reputation and your brand. There is absolutely no quick fix.

Do you create and share valuable content that will help your audience as opposed to content you want to create?

Take the time to understand your audience so you can deliver what they need? Social media is about your community and how you can be of service to them.

Do you have social proof?

Social proof creates influence, increases brand awareness and allows you to reach a wider audience. Social proof like recommendations, testimonials, reviews and endorsements are powerful for showcasing your customer experience and building your reputation in the market.

Do you have internal processes and a social media policy in place for your team to ensure social media is used in the right way?

Internal processes, systems, and policies will help streamline your social media activity and they will manage the way social media is used in your business. They’re absolutely critical for managing risk and your online reputation.

Do you represent yourself well and communicate appropriately on your personal social media profiles?

As a business owner, you represent your business 24/7, there is no off button. Having a strategy around your personal social media activity is critical because what you post can have a big impact on your business and remember; once something is published online it’s out there forever and for everyone to see.

Managing your online reputation

Understanding how you’re perceived in the market is essential for business success so take the time to monitor and manage your reputation as well.  Tools like Google Alerts, Social Mention, Mention and Hootsuite are a great place to help you track mentions of your name, your business, your team and your website. There are lots of tools around to help you monitor your brand online.

Having a positive, strong online reputation will build trust and credibility and it will allow you to deeply connect with your community. Your community will notice the way you present yourself online and offline, and their perception can have a direct impact on your business.

‘All you have in life is your reputation: you may be rich, but if you lose your good name, then you’ll never be happy. The thought will always lurk at the back of your mind that people don’t trust you’ – Richard Branson.

How does your community perceive you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Debra Sinclair | Business | February 23, 2017 | Reputation

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