Remember the saying: “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names [words] will never hurt me”?
It was something my friends and I used to chant in the playground when we were being teased.
Now, as an adult I have to wonder – who on earth coined that phrase? I’d like to tell them that they were wrong. Very wrong!
I only have to watch the negative impact on my children’s mental wellbeing when they’re at the receiving end of a nasty comment or taunt.
And, I only have to watch my social media feeds in horror as I see what business owners are writing and sharing with their communities. They are using words, which have the potential to seriously tarnish their credibility.
When words are not chosen carefully they can damage your reputation, which will ultimately impact your career and your business.
Here are some examples:
- A freelance journalist, who after writing and sharing her thoughts on Twitter caused so much of a stir that one of her major client’s (a large Australian newspaper) terminated her contract.
- An executive who was about to sign a significant contract with an employer however found himself back in the job search queue after a reference check showed up negative comments and a situation that this employer did not want to be associated with.
- A prospective client who was about to hire a Virtual Assistant promptly changed his mind after he saw her write on Twitter: “I have so much work to do but you know what? I just can’t be bothered.”
Three separate examples of situations where ‘words’ have impacted negatively on someone’s reputation, resulting in the loss of a client/work.
So, when was the last time you did a brand checkup to confirm the words and information being posted online about you and your business is building (and not destroying) your credibility?
Monitoring your online profile is critical and will allow you to:
- Ensure that every piece of communication is professional and on-brand and therefore continues to influence your credibility and reputation in a positive way.
- Go into damage control should you find something that is negative and potentially harmful to your brand.
- Respond and engage with people who are commenting about your products/services.
- Monitor the conversation about your industry to see latest developments. It’s also a great way to keep track of what your competitors are doing.
- Source great comments from happy customers, which can later be developed into testimonials (social proof) – with the author’s permission of course.
Here are four (free) tools I recommend that will enable you to start monitoring your online profile:
When’s the last time you googled yourself? Go on – be honest! No, it’s not narcissism but a highly recommended online profile management strategy.
Make sure you Google yourself regularly to remain informed of what other people will find should they search for you on this platform.
The search terms you’ve entered into Google Alerts will be emailed to your inbox as often as you have requested.
Search for conversations on Twitter about you and your brand. You can also search for various topics (ie hashtags).
Similar to Google Alerts, Twilert will send you a report of all your relevant search terms directly to your inbox as it appears on Twitter.
Here are some tips on how to build a strong online brand/profile:
- Get totally clear on your signature brand and your authentic brand voice. This is how you are going to stand out from your competitors.
- Get clear on your brand message. What do you want to become known as an expert/specialist in? Being uncertain and posting about a variety of topics will only weaken your brand/information and confuse your prospects.
- Only share relevant, on-brand information. Wouldn’t want a prospect to read something – don’t post it! Watch your words CONSTANTLY!
- Have a solid brand communications plan and how you’re going to raise brand awareness.
- Take consistent daily action to communicate your brand.
Was this helpful? Are you using some of these tools already? What other tools do you recommend? Feel free to add your suggestions in the comment box below. I love reading your comments.
Also, if you found this post helpful please Like, Tweet and Share it with your colleagues. I really appreciate!
Managing your online identity and brand is a must for every businessman or freelancer. As you mentioned using the wrong words on social media or anywhere on the web can really hurt your carrier or business so it is very important so you should use them wisely…
Hi Kostas, yes, it certainly can. I’m often surprised about what I read online. Some people just don’ realize that they are potentially creating digital dirt that could turn a prospect away!