Your online image isn’t something to ignore. What you look like on the Internet and what people think about you are extremely important if you’re going to operate a business, whether the business itself is online or offline. Many people don’t think that others can track what they do on the Internet, but this is a huge mistake. Let’s take a look at what you need to do to build your professional profile image online, without running into problems.
Everything you say and do is going to have an effect on how people perceive your business, even if it’s in a non-business forum. Each time you get involved in a forum, are rude to a customer, or take your time getting your site updated, you’re making an impression, and it isn’t a good one.
On the other hand, every time you go that extra mile to help a customer, send a thank you note, or let rude comments pass you by, you’re making another kind of impression – the kind that will have your customers recommending you to their friends and family.
It’s important to make sure that everyone you encounter online has a good experience with you, if at all possible. There will always be some unreasonable people, of course, and you’ll have to set limits on how much you’re willing to do. Just don’t let it get personal. Be firm and polite at all times, and you’ll be surprised at the quality of response. Remember – it’s hard to be anonymous on the Internet, and it’s especially hard to be anonymous as a businessperson. You’re going to be associated with your company, whether you like it or not.
So, what can you do if your professional profile is a little bit tarnished? Maybe you’ve made some mistakes in the past that have resulted in an image that’s not as good as you’d like, but you want to change things. The first thing to do is start acting like it. Get out of any entanglements that aren’t good for your image (are there disreputable sites linking to you, or have you spammed forums trying to get traffic?) and take the high road from now on.
Be polite and professional, and don’t use any underhanded tactics, even if they’re advertised as being sure ways to drive traffic to you or bring in customers. Most people are smarter than this, and they’re not going to appreciate it. You need to be willing to treat your customers and everyone you deal with in a respectful way if you’re going to clean up your image. After a while, even the people who disagree with you will start saying that you’re not so bad, after all.
The last thing you should do if you don’t have an image you’re proud of is to clam up. After all, nothing ever goes away on the Internet, and discussions or other situations that make you look bad will be out there for everyone to see – even people who might become customers. Clean up your website and make it more navigable and easier for search engines to find. Show up in forums, blogs and other informative sites and behave yourself well. That will push those black marks off the search engine charts, so that the information that turns up about you makes up a much more attractive professional image.
Everyone wants to look their best when it comes to the professional world, and the Internet is a huge part of that. Behave yourself appropriately online, and take steps to make sure you and your product or services get noticed, and you’ll have a profile you can be proud of. It can be easy to slip, but even the worst reputation can be cleared up if you know what you’re doing and take the time to change things. It doesn’t have to be all that hard. Never forget – on the Internet, everyone is watching. You can have a great professional profile, as long as you’re willing to conduct yourself as a professional at all times. It’s that simple.