Before the Internet, making a good first impression often meant face-to-face interactions at business meetings, conferences and lunches. With so much commerce now taking place online, impressions are a given in cyberspace. Successful online business people must be proactive in cultivating business on their own by creating a positive public image, being authentic and likeable.

ORM

Online Reputation ManagementThis is where ORM, or online reputation management, comes in. ORM is the practice of making people and businesses look their best online, where there are only virtual handshakes. People need to control their search results because they often contain outdated, inaccurate or misleading information. To keep this from happening, companies like Reputation.com, provide ORM as well as Internet privacy protection to clients. Reputation companies also works to protect a person’s privation information from being made public.

BusinessNewsDaily.com quoted Michael Fertik, CEO of Reputation.com, as saying the number one reason companies use reputation services is for companies to proactively manage it’s reputation. He continues, “It’s a lot cheaper to avoid a problem before you have it. If you’re not proactively managing, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to neutral or unhelpful information.”

Get Real

Inc.com suggests not using pseudonyms or generic addresses and instead providing real telephone numbers and e-mail addresses to be authentic. Adding a photo or introduction video adds to the business’s believability. A privacy policy can’t hurt either. For more credibility, testimonials can be placed online so customers can help with the business’s marketing. When criticism does arise, though, business people should provide comment, context or correction, Inc.com advises.

When people do try to reach businesses online, there should be a quick response. Not responding is the same as not answering a telephone call. People want to be valued if they are going to give you there business.

Another way to build authenticity is to provide interesting details about a business, such as how delivery and customer service are handled. Video, audio, blog posts and pull-quotes can help achieve this.

Be Likeable Via Social Media

Having a good business at the start should eliminate most negative publicity, but sometimes bad Internet feedback results from truly poor service or customer experiences. Or people will post a malicious review because of a misperceived slight. ORM is all about search engine optimization. ORM companies can decrease visibility by pushing negative results lower on a search-engine results page.

And since bad news travels fast on the Internet, eliminating as much of it as possible is essential, whether the target is an individual or a business.

Make Social Platforms Unanimous

Again, thinking ahead is essential for having a positive online appearance. Social media can be used effectively, Inc.com adds, by having company employees keep their LinkedIn profiles up-to-date. YouTube, Twitter and Facebook are other ways to create a virtual presence and cultivate a following. Having those social media accounts updated regularly also helps individuals while seeking a job.

Time mentions a 2010 study by Microsoft and Cross-Tab, a market-research agency, which found 78 percent of surveyed U.S. companies examined the search-engine results of prospective hires. Also, the study discovered 86 percent of employers reported a positive online reputation factors into their hiring decisions.

About the author: A legal and financial consultant for artists and celebrities, Carrie Bauer is a hardworking woman who believes that work is pleasure.