Between the rise of social networks, cloud apps, and 24/7 wireless connected solutions, online reputation management is now an essential topic to keep in mind when managing a personal or professional online brand. Luckily for meeting planners and industry vendors, maintaining a positive and professional image needn’t be as difficult as it seems – even in an age where access to virtually anything you could want to know about anyone or anything is just a click or tap away.
Below, you’ll find expert hints, tips, and advice for more effectively projecting a positive image to an increasingly high-tech and connected world – topics we explore even further in new book Netiquette essentials, an all-new guide to modern manners and online, social, and high-tech etiquette.
- From a personal branding standpoint, as with real-world personas, your online persona should also be respectful, professional and courteous. Make sure any public posts, pictures and videos convey the same impression. Unsure of how you’re being perceived? Google yourself to get a sense of what recruiters, employers, colleagues and prospective customers or partners are seeing – and take action accordingly. All online presences – even on social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – should further match the persona or brand image that you project in real-life, and be consistent across platforms.
- Use a polite, professional tone and considerate demeanor, as well as proper spelling and grammar, while communicating online, even when engaging in personal exchanges. All may be visible to the public at large and influence their perception of you. Note that especially on social networks, embarrassing and unflattering photos or videos should not be captured or publicly shared by yourself or colleagues, as they may present unwelcome and unrepresentative images of your personal or professional characters to observers. It will also help to configure social network settings so that personal information is kept private, and separate from work-related activity.
- Seek out ways to establish yourself as an online thought leader and generate goodwill, and to give back to the larger online community. Making a positive impact is both personally rewarding and helps you generate a positive impression. Simple ways to generate great feedback and rapport include the posting of time-, effort-, and energy-saving “how to” features or other service-related articles, or creating and moderating communities around topics of common online interest. Don’t have the time to research and publish content yourself? You can also serve as a helpful and welcome resource by curating news and trends from your industry, adding helpful personal insights and opinions where appropriate.
- When establishing a corporate social media or digital outreach program, make it clear to employees what is okay to share online and what isn’t, how and when to do so, and the most appropriate manner in which to conduct outreach efforts. Social media training should further be formalized and include learning through real-world, hands-on practice (e.g. by allowing employees to participate in sample exchanges over internal corporate networks). Be straightforward and specific about with your online brand ambassadors in terms of what’s expected in terms of tone, attitude, end-results and output, and regularly monitor and assess how we’ll they’re aligning with and meeting these goals. Providing running feedback and commentary to help them grow and improve is a vital way to bolster performance in these areas.
- For sake of clarity and assurance of appropriate conduct with regards to maintaining an organization’s online brand reputation, also post formal guidelines for communication within your own blogs, communities and online venues, public-facing or otherwise. Having established guidelines in place helps set expectations up-front, provide level playing field, and help you address any issues that may arise, such as having to ban argumentative users or remove inappropriate posts.