Online Reputation Management

4 min read

In my view, Online Reputation Management is simple. It’s not about big PR campaigns, or paying someone to big bucks for SEO services. For me, it’s focused on your referral universe: the well-defined circle of people you know and the people they know and the place where the most valuable opportunities often come from.

People Know About You Before You Know About Them

If you’re in dire need of referrals, there is one major thing you need to recognize: The people you are getting referred to will hear about you before you hear about them.

They are embarking on a journey through which they discover who you are to find answers to a critical question: Do they want to work with you? On this journey, they will form their own image of you. They take ownership of this image and believe in it.

People Know About You Before You Know About Them (tweet this)

Any experienced buyer of services is going to Google you. You want them to see your page and other professional websites in order to deliver a positive experience for the person who eventually may want to hire you.

Google yourself. It’s not about vanity, it’s about curating the experience you are delivering when people are checking you out online. You will find that you have quite a bit of control over that content.

Consistency, Consistency, Consistency

Many professionals simply cannot offer a 30-day money back guarantee. Your clients have to choose to work with you without really knowing how great of an experience it will be. To lessen their risk, they will replace the experience of actually “trying your product” by getting a sense of how it might be to work with you. In a buying cycle people will use a proxy to compensate for the lack of trying the product. This proxy is often the consistency of the experiences leading up to the buying decision.

Why? Consistency makes us feel safe and in control. When buying something we truly know nothing about, we want to feel safe. If you can make people feel safe via a consistent experience, you might end up winning the deal over the next guy.

You may be wondering what this has to do with Online Reputation Management. It’s simple: most people deliver positive in-person experiences – but most have not ensured that future clients would have an online experience that is consistent with that positive in-person meeting.

After hearing great things about you, having a poorly managed, inconsistent online reputation leads to a dip in how you’re perceived from positive to neutral, or sometimes even negative, even if the rest of the experiences they have with you are great.

Given that the investment is minimal, why not make the effort to eliminate that risk?

The Likeability Factor

One thing that most will agree with is that we always enjoy finding things in common with people we know or meet. This holds more weight than you may think. It links to how our brain processes these common interests.

Here is an example [albeit geeky]: I am a huge fan of launching model rockets with my kids. I have a conversation with Dave, who asks me what I did last weekend. I launched some rockets of course! Then I find out that Dave shares this passion as well. One simple question led me to discover that this is something we both have in common. Your brain tells you “I am like Dave” and Dave thinks, “I am like Patrick”.

When I think, “I am like you”, I am saying nothing else other than “I like you”.

The way our brain processes this kind of likeability goes back to the time that we were living as tribes. We had to learn who was a part of our tribe and the same is true today. By finding common ground, we instinctively invite people into our tribe and that drives likeability through the roof. Likeability is one of the most underutilized concepts in business, but it may contribute to increased opportunity.

The “Links” section of your Backstory is the perfect place to put your true self on display, simultaneously upping your likeability and delivering a consistent online experience. Share things that show the kind of work you do, but don’t skimp on personal pieces that showcase your interests.

The bottom line is that when people like you, whether they know why or not, only good things can happen.

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