Are you having trouble landing housesitting assignments? Do you feel confused because homeowners reject your applications repeatedly? Even if you feel you’re doing everything right you could be overlooking something that is a deal breaker for homeowners, a bad online reputation.
It’s human nature to want to find out as much information as possible before inviting a stranger to care for your home and pets. Do you know what a homeowner would find if they searched your name on the internet? What about things you’ve posted on social media, do they reflect a kind, trustworthy person? There could be things that exist online that portray you in a negative light.
So what can you do to project a good professional persona online?
Here are five ways to cultivate and maintain a good online reputation to gain the trust of homeowners and start landing more housesitting assignments:
1. Understand proper etiquette or more accurately, netiquette
Communication online conveys a feeling of anonymity. Many people feel less inhibited on the internet than they do in regular life. This feeling of inhibition sometimes leads people to lower their standards of common courtesy or decorum.
Good online behavior or “netiquette” amounts to three basic principles: Always remember there is a person at the other end of all communication, be respectful of others, and don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t be comfortable saying face to face. Being yourself, with the same standards of decorum you have in the real world beyond cyberspace is the best way to start to cultivate and maintain a good online reputation.
Search your name online. What comes up other than what you’d expect to see? Maybe it’s something you posted online long ago and forgot about or something you commented on that you now feel differently about. Think about how what your finding would look to someone your meeting for the first time and ask yourself “Is this the impression I want to give?”
Addressing your findings goes a long way to righting something that may look wrong to someone who doesn’t know you. Respond to older negative comments in a positive way: apologize, make amends, and state new opinions online if you have them.
3. Start fresh and participate in relevant online communities
Building a good reputation in online communities is a great way to develop a positive online presence. Search out and participate in house sitting forums and social media groups. Look for other communities online that support your interests that could help build a homeowners confidence in your abilities as a house sitter. When you’re in these online spaces, ask questions, offer helpful advice and be polite and honest in your comments.
Social channels are the spaces where perceived anonymity leads people to say things they would never say in person most often. Is there anything on your social channels that’s inflammatory or insulting? Is your Facebook page a true representation of how you behave in the real world?
Remembering there is a person at the other end of all communication, being respectful of others, and not saying anything online that you wouldn’t be comfortable saying face to face is important on your social channels too. Being yourself, with the same standards of decorum you have in the real world is the best way to cultivate and maintain a respectable reputation on social media.
5. Garner references that relate to your abilities as a house sitter
Anything online that speaks directly to how good you are with animals or trustworthy you are is good to build a compelling house sitting profile. Having professional references online will help you land more housesitting assignments.
What can you do if you don’t have any housesitting experience? Apply for a house sit in your hometown. This is a great way to land an assignment and get your first review. The chance to meet a potential house sitter face to face is very appealing to homeowners. Meeting in person is better than an email or phone call and gives homeowners more confidence when deciding on the right house sitter.
Another way to garner online reviews is with the sharing economy. If you’ve ever stayed with an Airbnb host or used any other service where you’ve earned a good review online include that in your profile or offer a link to specific reviews when applying for house sitting assignments.
If you’re having trouble landing the house sitting assignments you want it could be because of a bad online reputation. Remembering the three principles of good online behaviour will help you build and maintain a good online persona.