Casting Your Digital Shadow - ResidentialSystems.com

Casting Your Digital Shadow

Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of sharing a meal with Erik Qualman, an MBA professor and author of the bestselling book Socialnomics.
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Making Sure Your Company Leaves a Proper Online Legacy

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Mike “Sparky” Detmer (mdetmer@nilesaudio.com) is president of Niles Audio

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.

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So what can you do to be sure that your company’s digital shadow defines a legacy you’ll be proud of?

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 (www.google.com/insights/search/#) can 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 Mashable (http://www.mashable.com/).

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.

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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.

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