We have all heard the saying, “Your reputation precedes you.” The adage means that what people know of you or have read of you oftentimes shapes their first opinion of you.
It’s true that many of today’s young entrepreneurs grew up in the age of the computer and the internet. It’s likely that their business depends fundamentally on online communication. It’s also very likely that their cell phone – or cell phones – is always an arm’s length away.
Despite having an understanding of just how powerful the internet is, many of today’s young entrepreneurs are unaware of the internet’s impact on their business and business aspirations. More specifically, many are unaware of how significant search results in today’s top search engines (think Google) can be to their goal of being a successful entrepreneur.
In a recent survey conducted by Vendasta, 88 percent of respondents reported trusting what’s said online about people and businesses. This means that almost 90 percent of the population believes what is posted online to be 100 percent true.
But, what if there are negative reviews, comments or links in your search results? And what if you as an entrepreneur are trying to secure funding for a new business? Or if you’re in the process of trying to expand your company’s base of clients?
In today’s internet and mobile centric world, the likelihood that a potential investor will Google an entrepreneur, especially one they want to partner with, is incredibly high. Needless to say, an investor’s trust – not to mention their investment interest – will plummet if they see something negative about an entrepreneur on Google.
The same can be said for potential clients.
The good news is that, as search results have become more influential in shaping an entrepreneur’s reputation and the reputation of their business, tools have been developed to make it easier to monitor and protect one’s online reputation.
Consider SocialMention, a media monitoring tool that should be included in any entrepreneur’s reputation monitoring toolbox. Rather than focusing on Google search results, SocialMention concentrates on what’s being said about you on the wide spread of social media outlets out there. That includes blogs, as well as the big time social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Using a deceptively simple user interface that’s similar to Google, SocialMention lets users enter a desired keyword into a search bar. After that, the site provides a detailed list of recent mentions of the keyword on social media. SocialMention also provides an opportunity to do a deeper dive as to the details of these mentions.
While monitoring and discovering what’s said about you on social media is important, it’s only one half of the equation. Keep in mind that, as an entrepreneur, regularly monitoring your Google search results and having an ability to accurately view what’s on your first page of Google is just important.
But, this is where the kicker lies.
As those who are more technically-inclined know, Google doesn’t present the exact same search results for everyone, everywhere. Instead, Google’s algorithms tailor search results based on our internet history, our physical location, the cookies on our computer, and a whole list of other factors.
Unfortunately, that makes it more difficult to see an unpersonalized, “generic” version of our results. It also makes it more difficult to get a feel for how others see us on Google (think investors and clients).
Pinpointing a need, last month Reputation.ca, an online reputation management firm that’s helped clients with online reputation issues since 2010, released new software that gives everyone the opportunity to see their depersonalized Google search results.
Reputation.ca’s online reputation management software is free and available for everyone to use. Besides giving a true look at how you appear on Google, Reputation.ca’s monitoring tool also provides a hassle-free way to see how your search results change over time and whether particular websites lower or rise in rankings.
SocialMention, Domain.me, Rankur, Google Alerts, Reputation.ca’s monitoring software, indeed the list of reputation management tools out there is long and many of them are free and conveniently accessible with a click of a button. For busy entrepreneurs, it’s not a matter of a lack of tools, but taking the time out of meetings, appointments and hectic schedules to regularly check how your first page of Google looks.
The success of your next client or investor meeting may depend on it.