It’s the turn of ‘G’ in the #AtoZChallenge and today I’m exploring the importance of ‘googling’ or searching for your own online existence in any of the search engines. Have you ever googled your own name? What did you find? Of course, it will depend on whether your name is relatively popular or fairly rare. If you are using social media well, anyone searching for you should be able to see evidence of your abilities and of your following as your sources should show up on or near the first page of google. For example, if someone googles ‘Lorna Sixsmith’, what shows on the first page are both my websites, my twitter account, images, my linked in profile and three blog posts where three bloggers reviewed my book. These are all links that I am happy for anyone to see and it is evident that I have a reasonably good following on social media. When I google ‘Amanda Webb’, although it is clear there are other ‘Amanda Webbs’ out there from the images provided, all but one of the links are for Amanda’s twitter, pinterest, website and linked in accounts. If your name is a popular one, you will have to work even harder to ensure your accounts are shown.
Your Online Profile
It is important that your own content shows in a search for your own name as it will show you in your best light. You have some amount of control over what people will see and this is important whether you are going for a job interview or if you are meeting a new client.
Having a following on social media is also seen as crucial for many industries now. For example, if you are an author hoping to land a good publishing deal, most publishers are going to want to see evidence of a good following on most of the social media channels which would include a blog, facebook page and twitter.
If you happen to share a name with someone who is not that favourable (and it does happen), then you don’t want to be confused with him or her. It is even more important that you work hard to ensure positive links are shown on the first page of google searches for your name.
Not Enough Hours
Do you feel there aren’t enough hours in the day for social media on top of everything else? However, not only is social media becoming increasingly important in terms of increasing brand awareness and generating traffic to your website, but it acts as an online curriculum vitae in many ways.
You need to prioritise the social media networks you partake in. For example, all business people should have a Linked In profile that is fully complete and it is important to log into Linked In on a weekly basis to network online, take part in group discussions and ensure your skills are up to date. If your target market is business people, it is even more important that your Linked in account is impressive and that you use this network well.
If your business is B2C (business to consumer), then having a facebook page is also a good idea. Even if you don’t use facebook, it doesn’t mean that your target audience aren’t on there. Whether you are a local or an international business, you can find out if your target customers are there. See this post on ‘How to find out if your target audience is on Facebook‘ by Spiderworking for full instructions on how to do so.
Twitter isn’t just a place to send tweets with links to your website. In fact, twitter works best if you use it as a conversational tool having found your relevant audience to follow. People buy from people and twitter is a wonderful place to converse, to build connections and to find relevant content.
If you have an ecommerce store or if you have beautiful images on your website and blog, Pinterest is for you, particularly if your target market is American mums. That’s not to say that Pinterest doesn’t work for other businesses or audiences (for example, Pinterest sends more traffic to this blog than any of the other platforms) but it is particularly effective in those areas. Pinterest boards also show up in google searches as will your own Pinterest account.
Some businesses perceive Facebook as providing them with a mini website, that they don’t need to invest in their own site. However, if Facebook closed down tomorrow (admittedly that is unlikely), they would be left with very little web presence. Facebook is great for communicating with and reaching your audience but one of its main aims must be to drive traffic to your website. It doesn’t improve the SEO of your website in any way but your compelling updates and links across to the website will encourage people to click the links. Your blog and website should be the hub and the other platforms (e.g. twitter, google +, pinterest, facebook and linkedin) should be used to showcase your products or services on your website, drive traffic to your blog and convert them to business.
Admittedly, it all takes time but it is a case of deciding which platforms suit your business best and get started with them, do a social media course so you know you are operating them effectively and then evaluate. Your social media is your online curriculum vitae, use it wisely for good effect.
Do go and ‘google’ your own name – let me know what you think of the results. Are there any surprises?