I’ve been talking about this for a while, but this is the first chance I’ve had to put thoughts into words properly, so hopefully it will ring a few bells with some of you!
We’re all pretty much aware by now that one of the first things a potential client does when considering working with you is to ‘Google’ you – they’ll head off to Google and type in your company name, maybe your director / owner’s name, and probably look through a few listings to see what others are saying about you.
The results that are shown here form the basis of what I call your ‘Circle of Credibility‘. Your Circle of Credibility is the extent to which you appear to be credible online. When someone searches for you, what’s the impression they get?
Without a doubt your company website should be appearing on the front page of those results, whether the search is for your company name or your boss’s name, but what else can appear in that search result to help compound the good feeling the potential client is going to get? And just as importantly, what can appear that can make you look bad?
– Your company website. Ideally your website will be in the number one position, and if you’re lucky, you’ll have prominent links showing to the main areas of your website, including testimonials.
Your website is probably the first thing someone will be looking for, so make sure it contains some great testimonials / reviews, and shows you at your best. Case studies, examples of work and quotes from happy clients are great for showing you in a good light.
– Your blog. Whether your blog is attached to your website, or a separate entity, it gives any potential client a flavour of your thoughts, opinions and expertise. A quick read through a corporate blog can often tell you much more than a company website, as a blog tends to be more informal and have more of a ‘personality’ – make sure yours is visible and showing the side of you that you want people to see.
– Your Twitter profile. Of course, this is only a good thing if you WANT people to find it, and if you’ve thought about your company image and brand while posting tweets If your Twitter profile is full of ‘Got a hangover and don’t know the name of the man I woke up with this morning’ then it’s probably best if you give it a different name
However, if you use your Twitter profile as part of your company brand then having it show up as one of the results for your company name is a good thing.
– Your LinkedIn and online networking profiles. Along with places such as UK Business Forums your LinkedIn profile shows that you appear in places online that are related to business. These profiles, especially if very active and up to date, show that you’re not just a fly by night, and that you can be tracked down in the event of any problems. This is especially important if you’re a ‘virtual’ company, in my opinion.
– Articles you’ve written. Whether they are articles on your own site, or articles published on other authoritative websites, having your content easily findable shows you spend time promoting yourself, and those articles could be the difference between you showing your expertise or becoming just another ‘also ran’ in the competition for someone’s business.
– Interviews. If you’ve been asked to do interviews and the transcripts or audio files are online, then they’re a great way for a potential customer to learn more about you – if you’ve not been asked to do interviews, start making it known that you’re available!
– Videos. Whether it’s your very own YouTube channel, or videos on your site, having videos show up in the search results for your company name is a good thing. Not everyone likes reading reams of text about how great you are.
– Your Facebook profile and / or Business Page. This is only a good thing if you’re aware that your Facebook profile could be seen as part of a ‘fact finding’ mission by potential customers. If your profile is available to all (and Business Pages are by default) then make sure it shows your best side, not just your wild and possibly drunken side!
Basically, you want the search results for your company or your name to show a well rounded promotion of your company and services. When people see your website, your blog, your Twitter profile and Facebook Fan Page, numerous articles written by you, interviews, videos etc, they see that you’ve been around a while, that you’re not going anywhere and that you’re probably the person that they want to deal with.
That’s why I always recommend to my clients that they have up to date profiles in as many places as possible, that they blog and write articles regularly, and that they bear in mind their Circle of Credibility, no matter what they’re doing online.
Need help with some of the things mentioned above? Drop me a line to firstname.lastname@example.org