Making Sure Your Company Leaves a
Proper Online Legacy
Recently, I had the distinct pleasure
of sharing a meal with Erik Qualman,
an MBA professor and author of the
bestselling book Socialnomics. Erik
made a point to reframe an old adage
with a modern twist. The original adage
goes like this: “If you don’t position
yourself, then your competition will
position you in an unfavorable light.”
Erik’s twist was one with even deeper
consequences. Referring to social media,
Erik emphasized, “If you don’t get into
the social space, customers who are there
could leave you with a permanent digital
shadow you won’t like.”
Coincidentally, that week I received a
message from the marketing manager in charge of Niles’ social media accounts that
read something like this, “Mike, just saw a Twitter post regarding someone asking for
help. I’m not sure what to suggest, but I’d like to respond soon.” After reading the post,
we reached out to the person, asking what we could do to help. What came back from
that exchange was an email with enough detail for us to deduce that a component
selection was causing a problem. After a few emails back and forth, we were able to
get the right components into that client’s system programmed and working beyond
his expectations. And guess what happened next? We spotted a glowing tweet that
enhanced the positive digital legacy I want
others to see about Niles Audio.
So what can you do to be sure that your company’s digital shadow defines a legacy you’ll be
So what can you do to be sure that your
company’s digital shadow defines a legacy
you’ll be proud of?
Here are four things that Erik suggested:
1 Listen like it matters. There are a variety
of websites that help you hear what others
are saying about your company online. And
there are others that will rate the content of
your website for relevance. Monitor these to
gain important insights. Use Twitter Search
(http://twitter.com/#!/search-home) to see
what is currently being said, Google Insights
help rate web search interest, and HubSpot
Grader (http://grader.com/) will rank your
website for relevance. Be sure you know
where you stand.
2 Interact in a meaningful way. Try to see yourself through your
customers’ eyes. Don’t talk about yourself or sell hard. Rather,
provide value by answering questions, offering your knowledge in place of
self-promotion. In doing so, it’s likely that you will be viewed more seriously
and will build credibility in the eyes of your potential customer base. To
learn techniques for adding value online, check out some of the tutorials on
3 Ask for something
in return. Once
you provide value,
never let a thank you
go by without asking for
something. It is human
nature to give and
take. There is nothing
wrong with requesting
an endorsement in
the form of a positive post, email, or letter that you can show to future
prospects when someone recognizes something you have done for them.
You can place these on your website, and Facebook and LinkedIn pages.
Who needs perfect spelling when you can cast a digital
shadow on Twitter with an endorsement like this one?
4 Align your social spaces. Remember there are several places on
the web where customers will look when qualifying you. Certainly
your website and Facebook and LinkedIn pages matter, but what about
YouTube? It is one of the most used search engines today and more
companies are posting videos as a way of highlighting their capabilities.
You can check it out for yourself. Type “home theater” or “outdoor
sound system” and see the array of videos available. What? You’re a
custom installer, not a film director. I get it. But I’ll bet if you call your
local community college, you can find a student intern who can do a great
job of capturing the magic that you provide to clients every day. It’s almost
free advertising and gets you instant credibility.
Remember, taking charge of your digital shadow isn’t like playing poker.
With poker, you decide when to play.
In the digital space, you are at the table
whether you like it or not, and you can
win big. But you’ve got to be all in.