“Jeff, I’d like to meet with you, get to know you and pick your brain. Do you have time for lunch next week?”
I periodically get calls that sound just like that. As I’m listening to the caller, I’m Googling that person. I want to know who I’m dealing with and what he or she is all about. This may not be fair, but if nothing or very little pops up after I Google someone, I’m unimpressed. My assumption is that they don’t have much going on; they’re not involved in their profession or community.
It’s safe to assume people are Googling you, too. When that happens, you MUST have a presence. A number of positive things about you should show up in their search results. To be safe, I recommend you Google your own name at least once a month.
If you are not satisfied with your search results, start building a better online presence now. Deliberately build a “Google trail” that people can follow to get to you. Here are some ways you can do just that:
1. Maximize social media. Postings, links, photographs and videos show up in many searches.
2. Become a blogger. Write interesting articles about your area of self-marketing expertise. You can also comment on others’ blogs.
3. Also be a curator of articles and insights that others would benefit from you. If you point a person to another site, you’ll get recognized in a larger community.
4. Once you have a blog, submit your articles to the countless websites that publish articles. Just make sure your writing is of high quality.
5. Tell everyone about each of your new blog articles via Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
6. Create short but interesting videos related to your area of expertise and make them available on YouTube.
7. Post messages using your real name on discussion forums that relate to real estate or your target clients’ industries. Just make sure the forums are legitimate.
8. Write reviews of products and services on various websites using your real name. Obviously choose products that have something to do with your industry. Business books are a great choice.
9. Develop your own personal website, where you post articles, photos and information about yourself in a flattering way.
10. If you are an officer in an organization or if you sit on a board of directors, see if the organization will include your name, bio and photo on its website.
11. Start a regular podcast.
A few words of caution are in order as your build your social prospecting machine. You must keep all social media activity in line with your brand. Here are a few other things:
1. Don’t succumb to the temptation and do anything online that would undo the hard work you put into building your personal brand.
2. Never slander or libel anyone.
3. Consider disconnecting from anyone whose online behavior is unprofessional.
4. Carefully manage how you’re depicted in photographs. Keep in mind that undesired photos of you may appear in someone else’s social media. Un-tag yourself from anyone’s post if it doesn’t portray you professionally.
5. If you want to participate in non-professional discussion forums, use an alias or a pseudonym.
6. Stay away from politics. I’m amazed at the political posts that so many people make. Regardless of whether you sit on the right or left side of the political spectrum, about 40 percent of the population is going to disagree with you. Why would you risk alienating 40 percent of your prospective clients? This is especially important right now in this hyper-charged environment in which many people are consumed with political emotion.
Omaha, Nebraska-based Jeff Beals helps CRE brokers find better prospects and close more deals. He is an award-winning author, international speaker and accomplished sales consultant. Beals is creator of the DEALMAKERS Commercial Real Estate Online Sales Training Program.