More and more, a client’s first impression of you may be provided by the internet. With seemingly whatever information someone could want just a few keywords away, people increasingly look to online searches as their first source of guidance, including when choosing an agent.
So how can you make sure that potential clients find the best, most up to date information about you and your business?
Make sure information online is accurate – Look up your name or your business name using a popular search engine like Google or Bing and make sure that things like the phone number, address, and office hours that it pulls up are accurate. If not, submit a correction to the search engine or update your website to reflect the current information. You’ll want to perform the same search with other major sites where people may search for you, like Facebook and Yelp.
Claim your business’ pages – Many different websites may have pages already set up for your business, including Google Business, Yelp, and Facebook. Most give you the option to claim the pages as the owner so that you can add or correct information, so take advantage of this whenever possible.
Set up a Google alert – Google alerts allow you to have any news items that include selected keywords emailed to you automatically, and are one of the fastest ways to find anything mentioning you and your business online. Whether positive testimonials or more critical reviews, mentions of charity work or event sponsorships, or business profiles, this information can provide valuable feedback and may be useful on your own social media profiles. You can set up Google alerts at google.com/alerts.
Search review sites – Seeing results on sites like Yelp and Angie’s List will clue you in to potential issues you can resolve or things that you do well. Every client’s issue may not be fixable, and you may not be able to recreate the most positive client experience for everyone, but these reviews can show you if there are any trends. What do people like? What do they not like? Find the commonalities and work to leverage the good and resolve the bad.
Search on social media – Tools like TweetDeck and Hoot Suite allow you to save searches to be constantly updated if someone mentions you or your business. However, avoid the temptation to use any kind of automated response to anyone mentioning you or your business. It borders on spam.
Be respectful if you reply to comments – Comments made on people’s personal social media accounts that come up in searches should only be responded to if there is a very specific issue to be resolved. Otherwise read what’s been said and take it as coaching for the future. Responding to every negative comment can make you seem thin skinned, and it can feel invasive to clients to get a response from a business or professional contact on a personal post.
A few searches on a regular basis and a few tools can make you more aware of what clients are thinking and can help you take control of what prospects may have as their first impression.