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John Joe McGinley: Engage with social media to protect your brand

Every day Google handles over 400 million web searches and it is just one of the many search engines that power the web.

The internet and the emergence of sites such as Google, allows your existing and potential clients to research what they are looking for without involving you directly. I would go so far as to say that the internet has reshaped the financial paradigm, meaning everyone involved in financial services must revaluate the way in which we interact with clients. Those that will not may not be around for the long term.

Businessowners now need to ensure that their business is aligned to take advantage of the changing consumer habits. If an existing or potential client was to Google you or your business would you be happy with what they find? Would what they find sell the value that you add? Would what they find make them more or less likely to engage with you for the long term? Would what they find make them willing to pay for your advice, or would they find nothing at all?

The time when any business could tightly control its brand messages and funnel in clients through a linear process is long gone. The web is literally a spider’s web of information where clients can access details about individuals and businesses from a myriad of sources. The web and more importantly social media has fundamentally changed the client decision journey.

Personal decision making is now increasing being driven by the opinions, prejudices and experiences of a larger global pool of friends, colleagues and trusted influencers.

Let’s look at some facts on social media activity:

  • 70 per cent of consumers listen to others buying experiences online

  • 53 per cent will actively compliment a brand if they receive a positive experience

  • 47 per cent of consumers share incentives and offers

How involved is your business in this dialogue? How are you ensuring that any social media search of your business provides a positive review of your business and the service proposition you offer clients?

It is vital you take some immediate steps if you have not done so already.

  1. Ensure your business biography is up to date, powerful and more importantly truthful. A well written LinkedIn profile can give you this.

  2. If you have a Facebook account decide if this is personal or business. Is it wise to fulfil both purposes?

  3. If you have a Twitter account ensure your profile is completed

If you get social media right then whenever someone googles your name or that of your business, what they find should consolidate the existing relationship or enhance the chances of establishing a relationship. Remember, the worst thing anyone can find when they Google a business is nothing at all.

John Joe McGinley is head of Business Brain at Aegon

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