Managing your Personal Brand Online: 4 First Steps
If you read our last post you’ll know that everyone who is active on social media is growing a personal brand. For some this is very deliberate, for others entirely accidental. You have the ultimate influence on how others perceive you online and now is the time to take charge! Here are four first steps to managing your personal brand online:
Step 1 : Google Yourself
It is now widespread practice for a potential employer to “Google” you. Whether pre- or post-interview, your online self will be under scrutiny. So why not get there first? Type your name into any search engine and analyse what comes up. As well as a general search, make sure you check the images too: embarrassing pictures from a night out long ago, or swimwear photos from a holiday with an ex can all be dealt with.
At the other end of the scale to over-exposure is drawing a complete blank. If you’re nowhere to be found that can set alarm bells ringing too. Having no online presence at all can be just as off-putting to a potential employer – what are you hiding? Why don’t you want to be found? Even if you’ve never tried it before, setting up a good LinkedIn profile could be the difference between you and another candidate.
Step 2. Clean up!
Don’t leave it until after your interviews before you clean up your social media content. If there is anything online that you think may have a detrimental effect on your chances, then get rid now! We had a great candidate a while back – let’s call him Jim – who aced every interview for his dream job. With only one stage left to go our client googled him and found several online posts that were enough to raise questions about his integrity and cause major concern for the company. Fortunately, a massive social media spring clean and a significant amount of grovelling got Jim back in the running, but not without several hairy moments. Don’t let that be you!
For those of you who are not very active on social media it can feel daunting to begin, but don’t let that put you off being present. Pick two or three platforms (we would recommend making LinkedIn one of them), take some time to fill out your profiles properly, with all relevant information and a suitable picture. It’s not necessary to post daily, but be active at least once a month, share interesting articles and develop a recognisable imprint of the things that make you tick. The quality and quantity of your content online is up to you.
Step 3 : Enhance your Personal Brand
By making small changes online you can enhance your personal brand and optimise your presence. Here are two simple ideas:
- Customise your URLs where you can. On LinkedIn you can edit your public profile so that instead of a lengthy incomprehensible URL it uses your name at the end like this http://www.linkedin.com/in/janepsmith
- Link your social accounts. Often different platforms showcase different facets of your personality: LinkedIn is all about professionalism, Facebook tends to be more personal, and twitter is somewhere in between. By linking these up you present a more rounded and strengthened view of “brand you” and by creating and sharing plenty of positive content now, that picture of you downing shots on holiday will be driven down the feed.
Step 4 : Keep things Private
The most important part of an online reputation is understanding what is private and what is not. You need to put strict privacy settings on any content you don’t want to share beyond your circle of genuine friends, and if you have very loose connections you don’t know for certain you can trust on any social network it may be worth cutting them loose. As Facebook and other sites’ privacy settings change regularly it is hard to keep up with this, but it can be done. Keep a very particular eye on photos posted by other people. If caught in a potentially compromising photo you can remove the tag yourself or even request that it be taken down. Our Golden Rules when posting on Social Media are:
- Only post what you’re happy for the world to see – once something is “out there” on the internet it’s very hard to truly remove!
- Say online only what you would have the courage to say in person
Got a question about how to manage your personal brand online? You can email our team to find out more.
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