Stop. Don’t just jump onto social media thinking it’s your magic potion for selling your products or services. Slow your roll. Instead, let’s clean up your online footprint, and then we can move forward with deciding who you want to reach online, where these prospects are spending their time, and what you hope to accomplish. If you want to succeed with social media marketing, here is where you need to start.

Polish up your online presence

“In a digitally connected world, a byte of data can boost or bite your brand.” – Bernard Kelvin Clive

Your online reputation matters, and here’s why:

  1. What happens online is forever.
  2. People go to the Internet first for information.
  3. Your customers are online.
  4. Word of mouth spreads quickly.
  5. Private data can become public.
  6. There are growth opportunities online.

Have you assessed your current online reputation? Have you done a Google search lately on yourself and/or your business? Before jumping on social media, search for what is out there about you, and don’t forget to search for your maiden name, too. Do you have an old MySpace account that needs to be deleted? Are there public Facebook photos from your college days that aren’t so professional? If so, it’s time to clean these up! Once you decide to put your name out there professionally, clients and potential clients will be going to Google, and you want to make sure this only reflects the very best about you. 

If you find something less than favorable on an account you don’t manage, contact the webmaster and ask them to delete it or contact Google. 

Manage your online presence

“Your brand name is only as good as your reputation.” 

After you’ve done some clean-up, it’s time to manage and protect your online presence. To do this, sign up for Google Alerts. It’s free, and you can be alerted when there are new online mentions with your name. This is also an excellent tool for you to use for your business or competitors’ businesses. You can choose daily or weekly digests sent to your email.

Essentials for building an excellent online reputation

After cleaning up, it’s time to begin posting the correct type of content on your profiles. We all have people on our Facebook feeds that complain or only talk about politics. Do you want to be that person? Begin posting content that is positive, encouraging, and authentic. 

Keep your private information private. Decide what is appropriate to post. I call this the Diane Keaton test. In all movies, Diane Keaton is wearing a turtleneck, even on the beach. She’s private and modest. When it comes to social media, are you like Diane Keaton, or are you more of a bikini/Speedo type of person? Whatever your comfort level, ensure your privacy settings match this, and your posts are appropriate for the image you want to portray to the outside world.

Who are you trying to reach?

You’ve done the leg work. It’s almost time to jump into the social media world, but it’s a big one, so let’s decide first who you want to reach. It’s important to know your customer. Let’s pretend you are a new real estate agent; define your buyers’ and sellers’ personas for your niche.


  • How much are they spending?
  • What is their home ownership experience?
  • What Internet channels do they use?


  • Are they moving to a new city?
  • Are they looking for a bigger home or a second home?
  • Are they motivated to sell, or are they testing the market?

Once you have a clear picture of your target market demographics, you can decide which channels to develop and what you hope to accomplish online. Not every social media platform is suitable for every target market, but it begins by knowing who your audience is, and then we can pinpoint where they spend their time online.

Which platform is right for your business?

Next, I’ll share how to decide which platform is right for your business and how to create SMART goals for success. Subscribe, and don’t miss out on this next blog post!