Every once in a while, it's a smart idea to take a few minutes to see ourselves through the eyes of people we hope will hire us.

That may sound very elementary and obvious but many - in fact most - of our clients are surprised and fascinated when we research and describe their current online presence to them at the start of a project. It's not the market data or sharing trends that catch their attention, it's the basic stuff anyone can recognize by simply searching for your company like your customer would.

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So do that. If you think most of your customers are going to find you on Facebook, search Facebook and follow the path you think they will follow. If it's Twitter they'll find you on, search there. But make sure your search includes a Google search because that is still the #1 way the world discovers new things online.

Community or Promo?

Two things that matter most for you to look for are:

1. Do you find a community? Are OTHER people talking about you, sharing your stuff and saying nice things about your business or are search results finding only your own corporate marketing materials? Other people validate our existence and our value online and provide the tentacles into the social world where we want to be. This is called social proof, specifically the 'multiple source effect'.

2. Is it obvious how people can contact you and do business with you? You need to know what you want people to do when they find you and make sure they can easily do that. Contacting you is an obvious list topper.

Checking In Is Important

There's a lot of advice available to fix what you find when you do a simple search like this but you need to start with these periodic checks. Your online profile changes over time depending on how people interact with your content, interact with your competitors content, and even in how they look for you. Check in occasionally so you know.

Next week: do the same search for your competitors.

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