You have got to own the information on line about you – or someone else will. That is definitely the bottom line for any small business. Right now, go to Google and Yahoo or Bing (same search technology) and do a search for both you and your company. If the top results are not YOU, you have a brand problem.
As you are working your message, there will be many times people catch part of it. That might be your company but not your location, your name but not your comany, etc. If that person wants to buy, they are going to go to their favorite search engine and try to find you. Even if they are holding your business card or material, they may want to go out and search for you to see what comes up. It is vital you know what they will find and control it as much as possible.
The easiest way to own the information is to spend three hours building your profiles. And yes, this does take time the first time you set everything up. So what do you set up?
Facebook – Facebook is up to you – many people prefer to separate their business profiles from their personal (myself included) but having the profile means you get found more often.
Google Profiles – these are great and we’ve talked about them before. You set up a profile for yourself and they are almost always first page results on a Google search.
Google Local Business – Another great tool, this is a business listing with your information.
Jigsaw – A directory of business contacts. By enterng your contact details you will get to download a name of someone you wanted to find!
LinkedIn – Set up both an individual profile and your business profile. Fill them out COMPLETELY. Your LinkedIn profile is a marketing tool so write to help answer why YOU are uniquely qualified to help your customers.
Naymz – This is the same as Plaxo. Use the same information and help get more connections.
Plaxo – Much of the information you post on LinkedIn can be used on Plaxo as well. Plaxo does a nice job to make sure your profile comes up high on search engines.
Spoke – A directory of business contacts. Again, be sure your information is correct.
Wink – Wink is a social network search engine and building a profile will help users find you.
Yelp – Yelp is a local business listing service that allows users to post reviews. If you do business locally, getting those recommendations can be gold. But you need to be listed first!
ZoomInfo – ZoomInfo has just added a company profile section so you can own both. Be sure to claim your personal information and make sure it is accurate.
There are many more places you can choose to list, but doing these will ensure when someone finds you, they are finding YOU and not information someone else put up about you. Owning your information is the first step to managing your on-line brand.