28 Apr Your Personal Brand Online Could Put Your Business at Risk: Here’s Why
As an entrepreneur, your personal brand online can have a major impact on the success of your business – for better or worse. Even if there currently isn’t any negative content about you online, the sad truth is that this can change at any moment. From a one-off mistake, to a former employee with an axe to grind, negative search results can happen whether warranted or not.
I spoke with BrandYourself.com CEO Patrick Ambron, who outlined the importance of a solid online brand as an entrepreneur and why proactive planning trumps reactive managing:
Your Brand is Your Business
Picture your company as a house. As an entrepreneur, you care about maintaining the internal comfort, health and structure of the home but the curb appeal is just as important. The first thing that people (think, investors, clients and press) will see when they look at the house is the facade. In this case, that’s the most visible person associated with the company – .
Even if you prefer to stay out of the limelight, your business’ reputation is influenced by your own. Say you’re seeking a round of investment, a partnership with another brand, or are courting a potential client. All parties will do their due diligence to determine you and your company are the best fit for what they’re looking for. In today’s age, this includes an in-depth Google search.
We all know that a series of bad business reviews can poison sales, but what about negative info written about online? As the face of your business, negative search results ranking for your name can be just as damaging to your bottom line.
Negative Results are Bound to Happen – Be Prepared for Them
With all the benefits that comes with the growth of your business, you’re also more at risk for receiving some negative attention online.
Negative reviews will happen. Sometimes you’ll have made a mistake. Other times, unwarranted negative press, emotion-fueled posts from an ex-employee or a competitor’s efforts may appear on the first page of your Google results.
It’s bound to happen.
That’s why you need to prepare now. When you have control of your online image, you decide what your personal brand stands for, and how it translates to your business. Instead of scrambling to clear your name of wrongful negative results, you already have a solid foundation of positive content about you online to stand up against it. This positive foundation helps to minimize the impact of anything negative.
Think of it like this: let’s say you’re a business owner and the only thing about you online is a Glassdoor review that describes what a nightmare it is to work with you and how the quality of work suffers. Valid or not, this single review is what people will see when they look you up and it is the only thing speaking for you online. Now, let’s say that Glassdoor review is still showing up when people Google you, but it is surrounded by really positive content – your personal website, a blog you keep updated with industry info, a strong LinkedIn profile that shows your connections & influence, a Twitter that shows you engaging with customers & other industry experts, etc. You are now telling a more rounded story. That person looking you up is now much more likely to chalk up the Glassdoor review to a one-off issue or a disgruntled former employee.
A Positive Online Presence Helps You as Much as a Negative One Hurts You
As much as building a positive online presence can combat negative search results, it can also help grow your business. As an entrepreneur/business owner gaining traction in your respective industry, you are uniquely positioned to establish yourself as a thought leader and industry authority.
Every time you publish an interesting article, directly address a consumer issue, or engage with your peers in a public forum, you are creating engagement. If people find value in what you say, they will want to learn more about what you do. A percentage of these interactions will result in tweets, posts and other online write ups about you your business. This can translate into major growth for your business.
By actively engaging with others online you become more accessible and someone that potential investors, partners, clients and employees to work with.
What to do About It
The key to maintaining a positive online reputation is proactivity. While you can’t anticipate a negative search result, you can prepare by building a strong online presence. This includes having a strong foundation of websites and profiles that you keep updated with content relevant to your industry, business, and other interests.
Learn How to do It!
Join BrandYourself.com and Likeable Local March 3rd, 12pm EST for a free webinar on “5 Hacks to Turn Negativity Online Into Rave Reviews.” We’ll tackle how to handle negative search results online and better leverage your online brand as an entrepreneur to grow your business. Can’t make it? Register to receive the recording.
How do YOU manage your online reputation? Please let me know in the comments section below!
Don’t forget my new book The Art of People: 11 Simple People Skills That Will Get You Everything You Want, is due out on March 15th. Pre-order the book here and get free goodies!