If you “Google” yourself – do you know what pops up? Is it flattering? Unflattering? Do you even show up? Some people joke that if you’re not in Google, you don’t exist – do you agree?
Let’s put this in perspective. You’re in the market for a bike and you meet a bike shop owner at a coffee shop and he hands you his business card. Awesome, that’s convenient. That night, you want to learn more about this person and his business, so you….?
But, the search results return zero findings? What’s your gut reaction about this alleged bike shop?
Skepticism? Uncertainty? Why is the bike shop not online? What does it have to hide?
Also, will you still seek out information on this particular bike shop or will you continue your online search with bike shops that did appear in the search results?
Or, what if the search results return unaddressed negative reviews? Gut reaction? Distrust? Doubt? Why would the bike shop not address customer concerns?
These sentiments ring true for any business, brand or individual. People, consumers, recruiters rely on the Internet and social media for information, advice and guidance. And, whether a business or individual likes it or not – people have opinions and they are sharing them online.
“Google isn’t just a search engine; it’s a reputation engine…78 percent of recruiters do reputation searches for job candidates, and 63 percent check social media sites.”
“People don’t ask for character references anymore, they ask Google. And what Google shows people — accurate or not — is your reputation.”
“Nearly all (93 percent) of recruiters are using LinkedIn to discover talent.”
“92 percent of employers are using or planning to use social networks for recruiting this year (2013).”
“89 percent of recruiters have hired through LinkedIn.”
By not shaping your online presence you are (1) allowing others to do it for you and (2) missing opportunities to build your network, advance your career, and strengthen your reputation.
The Internet, social media in particular, is an open, democratic environment, and while you can’t control the content being shared, you can manage it. Friday’s article, April 12, will build upon this topic and examine the first, and potentially easiest, steps to establish and/or strengthen your brand online.
You only have one time to make a first impression – if you’re not managing your online presence, you don’t have control over what that impression is.
Dorothy Crenshaw, PR Daily
Dan Schawbel via Business Times