We were kindly advised to evacuate the hotel terrass within 15 minutes. The waitress looked pretty serious and pointed to the sky. The rain radar was predicting heavy rainfall with thunderstorm and we’d better move indoors.
We decided however to wait a while and not immediately follow her sincere advise. While we continued our conversation I thought I felt a first raindrop while temperatures were close to 30C and getting very humid. But nothing happened and it stayed dry for the rest of the day. Well, at least in Amsterdam, while other places got the full rain menu.
The rain radar tool is supposed to predict rain. A no-brainer. Predicting rain at a specific time and location. But it’s apparently not very accurate where the delivery will take place. Aren’t we focussed too much on our smartphone and at the same time getting dependent on information from our electronic devices? Why not check things with our own eyes and study the skies instead of our screens.
Here’s my analogue weather approach: check the position of birds flying high or low (flying low is due to low pressure). Smell the air of plants discarding their waste at low pressure, producing the smell of compost. Sudden low pressure is known for predicting bad weather. Can I recommend a combination of digital and analogue assessments for future local weather predictions? It might save your outdoor meeting.
It’s slowly dawning on business people – when everyone is checking out everything online, the same surely will happen to me as a person. But why are they not bothered about it yet? As always, business people will consider ‘will I lose any business from it?’ I’m sure you will, but let’s stay positive: how about gaining new business?
Let’s face it: we have all become part of a reputation economy and Google is the new background check. Even for you as a person. So when your online presence is not in sync with your off-line-me or simply not appealing enough, sorry, no investment or alas, no job offer. VC’s and Hiring Managers move on to a better candidate.
We increasingly are invited to speak about this new phenomena and how to harness yourselve against it. We usually start by telling attendees to google their own name first. And then imagine yourself before an important meeting, say as a hiring manager, or a start-up investor – would you do business with ‘you’? Because who is this person applying for the job in real life? What is happening outside his or her polished LinkedIn profile? Does he have any hobbies or other personal interest? Who in fact are we dealing with? No answers, or at best, a blurred image can mean no next step.
Checking a name on LinkedIn can be too direct and obvious, so Google as most popular search option is used without you even being aware. Google page 1 with the 10 hits are offering a quick snap shot of what a person stands for. It can generally produce three options: 1.You are not present at all – do you really exist? 2.You have a pretty blurred image – no, totally not you. 3.You are in sync with your other profiles. When a choice can be made between candidates, who would you prefer?
People like to do business with people. Not just with good looking profiles or shining images. Make sure you are represented well online. If you don’t do it, social media and Google as search indexer will do it for you. Better get ahead.
All your posted online content like blogs, comments, pictures, videos and social media posts draw a picture of who you are. It will greatly determine whether people want to meet and eventually do business with you.
Are those images really you? Or you, but in a shady situation. Or totally not you because you didn’t tag your own pictures well. So when you are googled (and people do that all the time) does the image people get from Google page 1 fit with what differentiates you in the current market?
Online Reputation Management (or: ORM) is all about creating a strong online presence, one that enhances the ‘off-line me’ and helps create your current business. But even more importantly, it will help your next business goals. Where do you want to be in five years? Positioning yourself should not just be based on your current business successes and skills, but also on other dimensions in life. You are more than just your job title.
Look in the online mirror. Go and google yourself.
Somebody explained to me recently that being found on search engines is vital for one’s business, especially when you are a sole-trader or freelancer. Make sure your name pops up easily when search is done on keywords and business terms in your sector. Or by contributing to discussions on platforms. And then also make sure the right impression is formed by writing various and regular blogs about your business, adding value to your personal brand.
For that reason, I decided to let my personal branding site Leerling.biz be overtaken by my mini-blog site on WordPress (rodricleerling.wordpress.com). It contains small blogs, mostly about my sports hobby as football referee. Intertwined with business experiences, like this one today. By always adding my slogan ‘Sales Power Provider’ in the tags (and my name, key words for the story etc.), I am now listed on page 1 of Google, along with energy power providers!
Today, another dimension in this ‘being found process’ was brought to my attention. Apparently, it’s even better to publish your blogs on LinkedIn and it’s channel dedicated for this: Pulse. Google’s ranking is simply less easy to influence than this platform, where your direct network is more present. I’m keeping an eye on this and in the meantime keep writing.