With approx 56% of people using at least 1 social network, the internet has become the number 1 resource to research others. Whether this be a prospective employee, a potential business partner or simply a new online acquaintance. Your ‘online self’ is now more important than ever, as is maximising it’s effectiveness.
1 Check and clean your current online identities
The average person is a member of numerous social networks. Checking each of these to ensure that there are no inappropriate images in which you are ‘tagged’, no controversial views are expressed publicly and that your profile privacy settings are correctly configured, should be your first task.
2 Profile avatar
Make sure that the image that you have chosen to represent you online is appropriate and, on sites such as LinkedIn, is professional. A clear photo of you is a must. If the current image is unclear or blurred, change it. On sites such as Facebook and Google+ many people use photos of them at a party or out on a Friday night. This is all well and good, but remember that these profile images can be seen by potential employers or professional contacts.
If possible, use the same image for all online profiles to create a consistent personal brand.
3 Personal summary
Most social or networking sites will include a personal summary as an option within your profile. Think carefully about how you would like to portray yourself online before completing this. Include keywords for the areas that you would like to be found under when others search the sites. Try to keep the summary to an acceptable length. Most people won’t spend much time reading this and so you need to keep it uncluttered, informative and brief.
Getting involved in the different networking groups that many sites include is a must. Speaking to like minded professionals or individuals is a great way to network and build your online influence. LinkedIn groups for instance are a great way to discuss topics of interest and meet professionals, Facebook pages also allow similar interaction on a less professional basis.
5 Concentrate on what you know
Keep to your strengths and build on these. Knowing what you are talking about, and discussing these topics will help to build your influence and reputation as an expert. Answering questions from others in your field is a great way to build influence and trust.
6 Stay active
Maintaining consistency in the networks you are a member of is important. Stay involved in groups and take part in discussions regularly. It may take a little while to build your influence and reputation, but it will be worth it in the end.
7 Be gracious
Showing gratitude to others and letting people know that you are human is important to building relationships. If someone shares an article you have written or shared, thank them. This will show that you are human and not just an entity that just exists online, posting information. Thanking people in this way will increase the chances of them sharing your news again in the future.
8 Spread the word
Create contacts by sharing their updates. If a contact has written a great article, share this with your network. This will be appreciated and improve relationships. Sharing stories on sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter is a simple one click process, but the benefits can be substantial.
9 Get recommended
Ask for recommendations from your LinkedIn contacts. Endorsements are all well and good but they don’t carry the same weight as a thoughtful, well written recommendation. Be sure to ask only those contacts that you have actually worked with, to provide a recommendation. Asking those that you have not had direct dealings with is not beneficial as the recommendation will not include relevant information.
10 Think outside the box
Sharing original information or looking at a trending topic from a different viewpoint are great ways to get noticed. The articles and updates that get noticed online are those that are new and make people think. Simply expressing the same view as everyone else will not get you noticed.