44 – Look the part. Part 4. Your Online Presence
99% of people will look you up online before they meet you. So, give them something that you want them to find.
Start with your website. There is really no good reason not to have a website these days. Basic websites can be obtained for as little as $20 or $30 per month. These can look a little cheap, though, so spending a few thousand dollars on a simple, clean, good looking site can be a very good investment.
Once you have a website, use it. Make it a place for people to come for information about a range of financial issues. Update it so that it does not become stale. If you write well, use a blog or write actual articles. If you do not write well, use links to people who do. Links are good because they let you claim some credit for the words but it is clear you have not plagiarised.
By the way: never plagiarise. It is really easy to identify in the digital world.
One of the best aspects of having your own website is having your own email address. No matter how professional everything else is, using ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ as your email address will do some damage.
One simple option is to register a domain name from www.panthur.com.au. This costs $24 for two years. www.iinet.com.au then let you use an email address and that domain name for as little as $2.95 per month. Google have a version of this as well, costing $5 per month.
If you do not want your own domain name, then Google’s @gmail.com is the best-regarded of the free email choices. An ISP domain name such as @bigpond.com or @optusnet.com.au can also work well. Just remember to use either your name or the name of your business. Make things as easy as possible.
If you use Facebook, be careful with your settings. You might find that liking your friends’ photos of their recent kangaroo shooting weekend does not impress your clients or potential clients. Liking the Hells Angel’s page won’t help much, either.
Many people have a private Facebook page and another page for their business. This is a good idea. Let your friends and family communicate privately, and keep the business page for just that: business.
Social media can be really useful. You can post articles or thoughts or share articles or thoughts and generally create a substantial amount of content for people to read, all of which is a way of bringing people to you. And your clients are welcome to like and share your page among their Facebook friends.
While you are about it, check out Dover’s: https://www.facebook.com/DoverFinancial/
There are of course, other social media sites such as instagram and twitter. If you use twitter, make sure you express yourself well and that your comments are always and only positive.
But there are some rules around twitter. Don’t criticise and never tweet or post in an angry or frustrated moment. This can lead to a lifetime of regret. For the same reason, don’t tweet or post if you have been drinking. Leave your smartphone with your car keys: at home where they are safe.
Anything you write in the digital world is there forever.
And remember, be careful with pictures.