In our last post, we talked about the importance of managing your brand online. One of the points we mentioned was to keep you personal brand in line with your business brand. This point is important enough to devote an article to the topic. Search is a part of our world, so your personal brand or online presence, is irrevocably connected to your business. Let’s look at some possible issues and ideas on how to tackle them.
Issue: negative press. We decided to tackle the toughest issue first. Once you’ve been in business for a while, it’s inevitable that some negative commentary will find its way into your search results. The employee you had to fire, a customer you simply couldn’t satisfy, or a competitor looking to disparage your brand to gain some market share. But keep in mind that any interchange you engage in through your personal social sites can also show up in search results.
Suggestions: make a point to search your name and business periodically. Respond quickly and professionally to negative business comments wherever possible. You might consider scrubbing your personal accounts to clean up comments you made that might be poorly worded or offensive in any way. You may not want to self-censor, but you should consider whether your personal comments are worth the potential loss of business.
Issue: personal tops business. Search results show your personal activity, like recent wedding photos or a trip to Europe, before your business activities. Good press about your business shows up below the fold or even worse, not at all.
Suggestions: Time to put more emphasis on your business brand. As we recommended in our last post, keep your website content updated and fresh with an eye toward SEO, make blogging a priority and be sure to push good content out to your network through social sites whenever possible.
Suggestions: This can be dangerous for both personal and business brand primarily because of hijacking. Make sure you own all the domain names related to you, your name and your business. It’s a small investment to ensure that others, like competitors, can’t hijack your Google search results. Same goes for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. It’s best to set up accounts to secure your identity and establish ownership for your names. We also recommend using your real name so it can easily be tracked back to you instead of an alias like ‘GolfProSteve’.
Be thoughtful about how your personal and business brands interconnect online. You and your business will enjoy the long-term benefits of a unified approach.