Your online image is a huge component of your business reputation. Just because you haven’t (hopefully) been embroiled in any controversy or involved in a major business showdown that made you come out smelling anything but roses, it doesn’t mean you don’t have a bit of polishing to do. Let’s face it, we all need our fair share of grooming. You don’t take a shower and then think you’re good for the next decade.
First and foremost, you need to make sure you are projecting the image you want to present to your audience. Everything, from your website to your LinkedIn page to your Facebook page and beyond, should be consistent in your branding but also be putting out the business image you intend. If your company places a great importance on the environment, are you displaying that green `image to your audience across all platforms? If your company is fun and snarky, is that snark obvious on your LinkedIn page? Again, you want consistency, and you want to make sure the image that you want to project is obvious via all your online interactions.
Next, keep in mind that it’s easy to miss out on things when you are so close to them. Ever whip something up – a paper, a blog post, a marketing idea – and just know that it was awesome? And then you read it later, and it’s still got its awesomeness? And then later, someone points out the most glaringly obvious typo ever? In your head, everything was in its awesome glory, looking perfect. But things happen and our fingers aren’t always as fast as our brains. Or we just leave a little something out. And no matter how many times we look, everything looks fine. It takes an outside pair of eyeballs to catch it.
The same rings true for your online presence. You can easily be too close to your websites and social media profiles and not see what is looking you right in the face. The solution to this is easy. You ask an “outsider” with a fresh set of eyes to take a look. This can be an employee from a department that doesn’t work on anything online. Or it can be by a trusted colleague outside of the company. But by asking one, or perhaps more, set of eyes to take a look you may receive some in-depth feedback with thoughts and ideas that never would have even occurred to you.
The evaluation should encompass both words and images. Both have impact on your audience’s senses. Your words should be your own (don’t ever take someone else’s work and pass it off as your own) and your images should be properly attributed. Everything might look “pretty,” but if it’s not yours by either copyright or proper and clear attribution then you are most certainly damaging your business reputation, and that’s something that is so difficult to recover from.
Your online image is often the first your audience comes into contact with. It’s important for you to stay on top of things and keep that image polished in order to put your best online foot forward.