It’s not easy being a high profile professional in the age of social media and rating apps. Let’s be honest; after a fifty-hour work week (if you’re extremely lucky), who wants to spend time worrying about what your online presence is like? Any free time you do have is going to be spent eating and sleeping. But unfortunately, that mindset won’t serve you well. What today’s professional needs to do is rethink what is considered essential to his or her career and what is frivolous. Think your Facebook profile or Google Places listing aren’t important? Think again. Whether it’s networking or SEO, managing an online presence should be near the top of every professional’s priority list. Here are five reasons why you should take your online strategy seriously.
1. How is anyone going to find you?
If you work for or run a law firm, search engine optimization might not be the first thing that comes to mind. After all, there are many other aspects of the business that come first, no? Yes, but don’t lose sight of the fact that about nearly half of the population use the internet to find out about local businesses. And of those people, a majority uses search engines. Without any effort put into SEO, how are people going to find you? Which brings us to our next point…
2. You’ve never had more competition.
Whether you’re an accountant or a graphic designer, the competition has never been more fierce. If you search for your profession and area in Google, you’ll no doubt come across a whole bunch of results that aren’t you. If you see a dozen names before yours, guess who is picking up the business? Personal referrals aren’t enough these days. It’s time to take your search engine results seriously.
3. Social media profiles are an expectation, not a luxury
Much has been made of employers scoping out potential employees by poking around their Facebook page. Don’t think potential customers aren’t doing the same. In fact, the expectation is that you’ll have some sort of social media account that you can be reached through. Many of the biggest businesses do most of their PR through their Facebook/Twitter etc. It offers a cost effective way to deal directly with customers.
4. If you’re not writing about yourself, someone else is
The hard truth about reputation management is that the internet has made it even harder to keep control over your brand. Whether it’s disgruntled customers, your competition, or someone with an axe to grind, people can publish whatever they want. You must remain diligent and crowd out the noise by providing a steady stream of your own content.
5. You’ll gain recognition from industry insiders.
A great way to improve your recognition in your industry is to publish consistently. Write a blog, ask to guest post on other people’s blogs, and interact on social media. The higher your profile, the more your online presence will naturally increase and you could come across more leads. Respect from others within the profession is just as important as your reputation among your customers.
Whether you run an accounting agency or a law firm, search engine optimization and social media outreach are crucial to success. Don’t lose leads to the competition.
Tim Haverford is a blogger and small business owner who focuses on how technology affects success.