Updated: Feb 7
Why build a great Personal Reputation online? Have you Googled yourself lately? Or looked even deeper?
You can be sure others have!
A 2010 study showed that "70% of U.S. recruiters and HR professionals have rejected candidates based on information they found online". Imagine what it's like now?
With so much information available online, it's no wonder that having a great Online Personal Brand and Reputation is so important.
Building a Personal Reputation Online yourself can be a long process. You won’t always see the effects overnight. But the rewards are well worth the effort!
Remember also, it’s not only a question of business reputation. Since the internet has made businesses more transparent, surgeons, entrepreneurs, and leaders are often called upon personally to represent the values their businesses want to project.
Professionals must now be as mindful of their own Personal Brand, AND, that of the companies or practices they represent.
It’s a competitive market and your Personal Reputation matters. Especially online. Now more than ever you should be actively engaged in your Online Reputation Management (ORM).
Your competition could be down the street, in the next room, or on the other side of the world. You must commit time and effort to develop a solid Personal Image, online and off. Now. And let me tell you why...
People have always formed opinions about someone by their reputation or image, often well in advance, or instead of, actually meeting them. Then of course, if meeting face to face, we knew that “first impressions count”.
Well, those impressions are now often created digitally and can be shared with thousands of followers at the click of a button.
Make the “wrong” statement on your Twitter account one day and face economic ruin and public ridicule the next. Unemployment lines are filling up with former corporate high-flyers who’ve upset one group or another with a late-night tweet. Gone are the days when “today’s bad news is tomorrow's fish and chip wrapper”.
What you say and do, online and off, is now recorded in minute, high def and permanent digital detail. Although you cannot please everyone, all the time, YESpbm has come up with a few basic steps that can be followed in order to enhance and positively grow your Personal Reputation online, and off.
1) Be reliable and dependable
Being present and “showing up” when needed, online or off, helps build trust and respect. Similarly, you should respond when your clients or your team need you most, professionally and without delay.
Try being the first to enter the Zoom room for online meetings and be prepared. Have your pen and paper ready, a glass of water, and as basic, as it sounds, make sure you’ve already been to the bathroom. No one needs to wait for mid-meeting, staring at your blank wall through zoom, while you rush off to attend to basic bodily functions.
If you’re meeting face to face, never ever be late. For anyone. The old adage that 10 minutes early is on time is as true today physically, and digitally, as it ever was. Nothing builds trust and confidence like showing you are ready to go on time. Nothing also screams disorganised like saying “sorry, I was stuck in traffic”.
Finally, if you say you’re going to do something. Do it.
No excuses, ever. If you say you’ll send an email to your team about something, do it, or that you will return a client's call “later today”, then don’t go to sleep until you have. A quick hack here... don’t say you will do something that you may not be able to. A few of those, and the people around you, or online, will begin to see you as unreliable, or worse - a liar.
2) Build your image
Many people we come across already think they have a professional online presence, often it's simply not the case.
A professional profile is vital, especially if your goal is to make money from your personal or professional image. Anyone willing to invest in you, or your business, would want you to have a glowing (and clean) Online Reputation, meaning; You can't afford to have any negative content online.
Whilst YESpbm is practiced at removing this negative content, and it’s the main reason a lot of professionals approach us, it’s often not as simple as just making sure there’s nothing bad about you online.
It’s a highly competitive global market, without borders. It’s as easy for your employer, or investors, to hire or work with someone remotely from LA, Paris, or Delhi as it is to work with you locally. You need to stand out from the crowd and add value.
Creating a constant stream of excellent content is as vital as it is when eliminating the bad.
It’s easy to miss this, and it’s the first tip we share with our clients. Think Donald Trump. For every piece of bad content online around his brand.. there are 2-3 good pieces. Or at least the same amount. That way the reader/viewer is left to use their own filter and make up their own mind as to whether to believe or trust in him or now. And many do.
It never hurts to have images of yourself on your own blog or social media engaged in the community, helping others or with your children. Perhaps achieving a personal goal like running the London Marathon, playing a friendly game of football, or visiting the Taj Mahal. Plus of course - save the political Tweets for the politicians.
Content like this is easily overlooked but enough of it creates a brand image of you. Who you are and what you stand for. Even better, it’s a great talking point for your next meeting or interview. Imagine interviewing someone yourself; would you rather chat about their trip to the Taj Mahal, and how they lugged themselves around the London Marathon, OR ask “where do you see yourself in 5 years”?
3) Always go beyond what’s expected
Peoples expectations can be difficult to meet sometimes. The higher they are, the less likely you are to meet them. So manage those expectations. Never promise, or offer something that you cannot guarantee you can do or deliver. Then do it if you can and exceed their expectations.
a). Connect with your Clients
In today’s digital world, it’s easier than ever to connect with your audience in order to grow your client base. Connect with clients through customized interactions and active responses to show them they are important.
Don’t overlook the physical connection, but remember that as Covid-19 shook the world; People are looking for places that provide more safety & hygiene - "67% of the consumers say they wouldn't use a business if they didn't have Covid-19 health and safety measures in place."
Sending a personalised message though wishing a client a happy birthday or a speedy recovery is a simple step. Be real and be human. They've seen enough automated emails claiming to care.
Most importantly - don’t forget to call! Everyone else seems to have forgotten (unless they’re selling you insurance etc..). A genuine phone call “checking in” to see if they are happy will almost always be well-received. Opening with “Hi XX, just a quick courtesy call to check in”, is always an easy start.
It’s easy to overlook the benefit of a phone call when we are all so busy messaging and emailing. The great news is, as everyone else seems to overlook it, your friend, team member or client will almost certainly be available to chat. No more “please hold”.
b). Walk the extra mile
Think about the best customer experience you have ever had. It probably involved a company or representative doing significantly more than what was expected of them. Doing so not only helps to build a great reputation and attract new business, but it also builds customer loyalty.
Building customer loyalty is key. It’s the most significant and economical way of marketing - "92% of consumers around the world now say they trust word-of-mouth or recommendations from friends and family" - Nielsen.
Showing you appreciate someone taking the time, or spending the money to do business with you is easier than you think. Why not send a bright bunch of flowers with a brief thank you note, or even just a thank you card to a new, or repeat client. As corny as it can sound, we’ve not heard of anyone sending back hate mail, or trolling online because they received a handwritten note saying “thank you so much for joining us”.
There are many ways to show you care but remember, be genuine. Showing you care is great, but it really helps if you actually do!
4) Be consistent
No-one wants to fly with a temperamental pilot. Or go under the knife with a surgeon who’s flustered or clearly having a bad day.
What you do, with every minute of client interaction counts. Whether online or off. The more consistent you are, the more confident your customers, friends, family or team will be.
If you are great in a particular environment but rude or cold in another, your reputation will suffer. Like a surgeon who is abrupt with a patient face to face but fantastic with a scalpel. People are more likely to share negative memories than positive ones, and negative information spreads quickly.
In a world-first, YESpbm recently completed a detailed survey of online reviews left for the elective surgery industry in Canada, the UK, NZ, and Australia. The survey found that a massive "49.49% of all bad reviews posted relate to poor “quality of care” provided by a doctor and other staff at the practice".
To put it simply, half the negative reviews posted related to factors concerning how happy the patient was with the friendliness or helpfulness of the staff and doctor.
If the doctor was concerned, or their staff had been consistently pleasant and helpful, then half of the negative reviews wouldn’t have been there, or better yet, could have been positive!