Colin Walker

on social media, tech, blogging and the internet.

So you’re not an internet marketer? Think again.

When you think of internet marketing you conjure up images of consultants giving SEO advice or in house designers planning a new web advertising campaign. The average person therefore thinks “what has internet marketing got to do with me?”

The truth of the matter is that anyone with an online presence – even if they are not a marketing professional – is to some extent an internet marketer and, as such, should take some time to learn a few ways that we can use the web to help manage and promote our identity.

Who is an internet marketer?

As I said, anyone with an online presence is effectively an internet marketer – it’s all a matter of scale. Just because you are not performing SEO for a large organisation doesn’t mean you can’t leverage the web to your advantage. Rather than promoting a company or product you are promoting yourself in order to give the best impression that you can. As I said in my post ‘Stand out from the social crowd‘ you are selling you so must make the most of it. No-one else is going to do it for you unless you are very lucky.

Whether you are a blogger, a user of social media, have a LinkedInprofile or upload your details and CV to a job search website you should be making use of the principals of internet marketing to bolster your personal brand. 

The key is to monitor your online reputation. In order to understand how someone may perceive you it is imperative that you know what’s out there. What have you posted on the web? What are others saying about you? Could there be any potential problems due to someone with the same name having a bad name?

Manage your reputation

Start with a simple search on Google, see how well you feature in the results and what information sources have been flagged. This gives you the opportunity to respond to what people are saying about you – positive or negative. It will not look good, for example, if a prospective employer does some background research and you are both unaware of what they find and consequently have no response.

Make connections and build relationships with your peers, give them a reason to say complimentary things and you are half way there. Set up some Google alerts to notify you in real time of any new reference to your name or web address. Show that you are on the ball and, if necessary, be the first to react to any mention you may get good or bad.

While your at it perform a search on your social networking services to track conversations. See who has been talking to you using something like Tweetscan for Twitter. Have you missed something important whilst offline? Has anyone said anything that could give a wrong impression or are they waiting for an answer and may be upset if one is not forthcoming? Try not to miss a trick; any answer is better late than never – people understand that you have a life away from the web so apologize for the delay and give them what they want.

Expectations

Not only in business, expectations are vital for creating the right impression. We hear the phrase “under promise and over deliver” time and again but usually fail to live by it. Expectations must be managed correctly so always try to aim above the mark – if necessary set the target lower than you know you can achieve so that you will always appear to be doing more. It is pointless promising the earth when you know you are unable to deliver, you will just develop a reputation as being unreliable and ineffective.

Be realistic

The internet is a vast place and is growing all the time so we cannot possibly hope to control everything that is said or written about us but we can make an effort to understand how others see us. The similarities between life both on and offline are stronger than most people think and you should therefore treat any interaction online just as you would a face-to-face meeting. You may not get a punch in the face but a bad reputation may come back to haunt you at a later date.

Your turn

What do you do to monitor your online reputation? How do you create a positive impression?

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May 5, 2008 - Posted by | Social Media |

8 Comments »

  1. I do searches with my name and see what comes up. A few times I have caught a few websites with incorrect information… the sites that sell your information to search consultants/recruiters. I contacted each site and both times and both were happy to to remove my information. I agree that we cannot control the information but we should try to cultivate a positive internet. 🙂

    Thanks for your blog. I enjoy reading it.

    Cheers,
    Charlane
    http://www.charlanebrady.com/

    Comment by Charlane Brady | May 5, 2008 | Reply

  2. Worrying when the first Google result for a search of my name is a bebo profile picturing some guy drinking beer (…who isn’t me). That can easily have a negative impact as a first impression, for all that other Google appearances are more positive.

    Another useful piece of advice I heard recently was to register your name, even if your online presence is largely as a brand. So register your name as a URL, create a Twitter account, etc. Even if you’re not going to use them, better to have them in your possession so that they can’t be used in the future in ways that can harm your reputation.

    Last blog post..Three Great Twitter Sites

    Comment by Robin Cannon | May 6, 2008 | Reply

  3. […] So you’re not an internet marketer? Think again. :: Colin Walker – a well written post that makes most bloggers reconsider whether they are in fact marketers or not. Fact is if you consider your blog and your activities on the net as part of building a brand then you most definitely are marketing. […]

    Pingback by WinExtra » From the Pipeline - 5.5.08 | May 6, 2008 | Reply

  4. Charlane, thanks for stopping by.

    Robin, good idea – take control of your identity even if, as you say, you aren’t going to be using it.

    Comment by Colin | May 6, 2008 | Reply

  5. At this point I do have some Google alerts set up, plus I do search on Technorati occasionally to see what comes up. I’m below most people’s radar at the moment, so it’s not something I worry about much… although I do occasionally flinch if I Tweet something particularly stupid…

    Besides, as I once said on Twitter:

    “There is only one thing worse than not being talked about and that is not being Twittered about. – apologies to O. Wilde”

    Last blog post..Welcome to Twitter Club!

    Comment by Mark Dykeman | May 6, 2008 | Reply

  6. The first thing we learned as a company is to be careful what we posted in forums under our company name. We could be involved with a geeky conversation and perhaps coming off as very unprofessional at times. So for forums, memberships and anything that requires an account, we take a little longer in choosing an account login. But for the most part, we just keep a close eye on Google. 🙂 Here’s a good little article here:

    http://tinyurl.com/searchengineland

    Comment by Internet marketing agency | July 11, 2008 | Reply

  7. It seems to me that that “identity management” matters most if you’re marketing to the IM niche.
    Otherwise, I don’t see anonymity as a detriment.

    Frankly, I’m not in the IM niche, do not market as an “expert” and prefer to stay pretty much under the radar.

    I hope any IM’ers viewing this will find this useful: http://InternetMarketingForumsSearch.com

    Comment by Simon Randall | August 14, 2008 | Reply

  8. I completely concur with your statement about managing client’s expectations and our own promises. This has caused me problems in the past because certain jobs have not been sold well. I started spending alot more time educating my clients on our service before the actual sale.

    Last blog post..10 Must Read SEO Articles

    Comment by Jason | August 14, 2008 | Reply


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