Social media presents a unique opportunity for anyone to develop a personal or business reputation to further their careers or boost sales and profits. The key is understanding how to be successful in leveraging the tools of the social Web to effectively build your online reputation so you’re appropriately positioned to meet your goals.
Following are 10 ways you can be successful in developing your own online reputation, so you can achieve your short and long term objectives rather than waste time:
1. Be aware.
Continually listen to conversations happening across the Web related to your career or business and learn from the content you read, listen to, or view online. Social media success depends as much on listening as it does on publishing.
2. Be focused.
Define your niche and focus the majority of your social media participation on conversations and content related to that area of focus. A focused brand is more powerful than a broad brand. Read The Power of Owning a Word to better understand the concept of brand contraction. Always lead with your strengths on the social Web and be consistent in your content and conversations in order to successfully build your online reputation.
3. Be authentic.
Your social media participation is useless if your content and conversations read like corporate rhetoric or a promotional brochure. Instead, be real and be human. Imagine you’re speaking with your audience in person rather than online and adjust your content and tone to match your target audience’s needs and expectations for you based on your brand promise.
4. Be trustworthy.
Honesty is an essential part of building your online reputation using the tools of the social Web. Transparency isn’t just a buzz word, it’s a strategic imperative, which should apply to your social media participation as well as all other aspects of your career or business.
5. Be meaningful.
The content you publish on the social Web must be useful and meaningful to your target audience or there is no reason for them to read it or start a dialogue with you about it. Furthermore, if your content doesn’t add value to your audience’s lives, they won’t talk about it and share it with their own audiences. In other words, there will be little opportunity for your content to spread across the Web, and the growth of your online reputation will be limited.
6. Be “non-self-promotional.”
No one will want to read your content or interact with you on the social Web if your content and conversations read like a marketing pitch. Follow the 80-20 rule of marketing and spend 80% or more of your time in social media activities that are not self-promotional and only 20% or less on activities that are self-promotional. When you do want to directly try to get more exposure to build your online reputation, you can do so without annoying other people. For some ideas, read 5 Steps to Generate Blogger Buzz about You or Your Business.
7. Be accessible and responsive.
An important part of building your online reputation via social media participation is understanding that it’s not all about you. Instead, you need to spend a great deal of time acknowledging other people on the social Web in order to build a relationship with them. In other words, they need to understand that you care about them, too. You need to respond to questions, comments on your blog, tweets, and so on.
8. Be reciprocating.
You can’t expect people to reach out to you and share your content on the social Web and not return the favor. If someone engages with you on your blog, Twitter, Facebook or another social Web destination, then you can’t ignore that person — just as you wouldn’t ignore someone in a face-to-face situation. For example, you also need to leave comments on other people’s blogs, share their content on Twitter and Facebook, and more. You can’t operate in a silo on the social Web and expect to be successful. You can read 12 Tips to Get the Most out of LinkedIn for some ideas to get you started.
9. Be uncontrolling.
The thought of giving up control and letting your content, conversations and name spread across the Web can be frightening. However, without the sharing of content and interactive dialogue that happens on the social Web, your online reputation cannot develop. You have to be willing to give up control and let people share and talk about you and your content in order for your online reputation to grow. Don’t worry about negative buzz about you, your brand, or your business. There is always a way to react to negativity on the social Web. Read Fight, Flight, or Flood for suggestions.
10. Be involved.
Don’t spend all of your time in one place. While quality is more important than quantity when it comes to building an authentic reputation online, you do need to spread your wings and be social. Fortunately, you can read 5 Guaranteed Ways to Establish Yourself as an Expert in Your Field via Social Media to learn how to do it.