By: Melissa Lichtenheld, Wragg & Casas Strategic Communications
Often business owners are so busy looking out for customers they take little time to look out for themselves. As we move toward 2015, take the time to review your public image. Are you at a place where you are known in the community and connected to prospective clients?
Whether you are a one-person business or head of a firm with 50 employees or more, it’s important to think strategically about your company’s image and message.
Once upon a time, the only sources for reliable information were television and newspapers. Today, messages – both reliable and unreliable – are transmitted by the nanosecond around the world through social media.
In today’s climate of information overload, it’s crucial to be in control of your image and the message you want before existing and potential clients. Google algorithm search results often are their first impression.
Strategic communications should be a vital part of your business plan to expand South Florida connections, manage your reputation and stay on the road to success. Here’s a checklist of the basics to find out if you are on track:
Be active: Take on leadership roles in local professional, networking or nonprofit groups. You will earn respect for the work you do and your public presence will gain visibility for your firm. Word of mouth is as important as ever.
Be social: Your image on the Internet is as critical as when you shake a person’s hand. Start with the company website: Is it time for a fresh look? Does it accurately convey your brand? Is the content creative and of high quality? In this digital marketing age Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter also are necessary tools to help control your message. The numbers tell it like it is: Every month 1.35 billion people log on to Facebook.
Be on the map: Are you signed up for Google My Business? The free service allows customers and clients to find you on the Internet no matter what device they are using. Even better, you control the information that you want your customers to see.
Be prepared: Even beloved institutions like the Red Cross can come up against charges of incompetence. Allegations from an NPR investigative story traveled like an electric current through newspapers, TV and the Internet. Is your plan in place to protect your image and business from irretrievable damage should a crisis occur?
If you checked off all four, you are in good shape. If not, it’s time to put an effective plan in place to ensure the staying success of your business.
Melissa Lichtenheld is senior account executive for Wragg & Casas Strategic Communications, 1221 Brickell Ave., Suite 730, Miami, FL 33131.