Managing Your Online Personas

Being online means growing and sharing all that you do under the watchful eye of the public. It isn’t just your business that is impacted; every single person in your organization can have an influence on how people view what you do.

Imagine an employee constantly whining about having to work for your company on Facebook. Over and over, they talk about the drudgery of the job, how unfair management is, how little they are paid. That can impact a company in a big way. But it also influences any future opportunity for the person as well.

We all make judgments based on what we see and hear. If a human resource director can easily find a few negative comments about a previous employer, or witness first hand through video about your wild weekend nights, why wouldn’t they use that as a basis for employing you, or in the case of a customer, choosing to invest their hard earned money with you?

While you may have thought somewhat about your company’s online persona, have you considered how your own personal persona plays into your branding? And equally important, how your employees’ personas play into it? Here are a few important tips to move your business forward:

Social media is a necessity, not an option

Social media is no longer just for entertainers or big businesses vying for airspace. Social media is a necessity for anyone trying to build a business. Whether you are simply trying to build a network, or are working to close a sale, there is no question that a person will Google you to find out all they can about who you are and what you do. Are you trustworthy? Do you have a good reputation? How do you handle the negatives as well as the positives in the online world? That is why it’s important to keep all of your news, awards, acknowledgments, activities and events up to date throughout your online profiles and sites.

It’s more than marketing

Have you ever found a competitors newsfeed or website where all they do is sell? Not very exciting. And in most cases, their prospects and customers feel the same way. That’s because people today want more than marketing; they want to build a relationship with those they choose to do business with. What’s the story behind your company? What made your company what it is today? What do you give back to your community? It’s important to post videos, photographs and links to give you a more personal feel, and help people see beyond the business side of what you do. People buy from people; if they can see it, they’ll probably buy from you.

Learn and grow

By all accounts, social media is still a very new phenomena. And while many businesses haven’t considered how to market through social, and may still be experimenting with it themselves, there are plenty of great examples out there. Like a few of your favorites on Facebook. Follow them on Twitter. Then take note of the posts and campaigns you like best. Use these to emulate within your own campaigns, and continue to build over time.

Develop a social media policy

Do you speak with your employees about online safety? Do you have written guidance on how you’ll handle the good and the bad in the online world? Social media is not something you can choose to leave to chance. It happens whether you talk about it or not. It may be time to hire someone either internally or externally to help you understand all the power social media has, and to help both you and your employees learn how to manage their personas now and into the future.

Social media today is as much of a daily business as answering phone calls and sending out emails. Remember, you’re not wasting your time with a post or a tweet – if you realize the potential it has on your future.