Employers are more aware of your online presence than ever. So, wherever you are in your career, and whatever career you’re in, your online reputation is vital to your future. This guide provides advice on making your online self just as professional, impressive and sophisticated as you are.
The first step is an obvious one: have a look at what everyone else can see. Much like in your everyday life, there may be things you’d prefer to be kept in private. Think carefully about what employers may think of what they come across. Turn on the privacy settings in your social media accounts, and delete anything that you’re unsure of. This is particularly important when you’re looking for a new job; don’t give employers a reason to doubt you.
Without followers, friends, connections and interactions, it will be impossible to build a solid online reputation. Above all, you need to get networking.
Different platforms offer different routes to success:
- Twitter gives you instant and easy access to almost any business you’d like to work for. Within a few clicks you can be following them and even having a meaningful dialogue. The search function also allows you to find the people talking about the subjects you’re interested in
- LinkedIn is undoubtedly your most important tool for online networking. In a matter of minutes, a profile on LinkedIn can expand your contact list exponentially. Recommendations on LinkedIn are very powerful too, and an excellent way of extending your network. If you want to be a freelancer or work flexibly, LinkedIn will be enormously helpful
- Because Facebook is fundamentally built around friends, you’ll use it in a different way – but that’s not to say it isn’t useful. For example, if you’re looking for a new job or are seeking out contract work, announce it on Facebook and you’ll be surprised by how many people can help
- Blogging is a great way of showcasing your expertise, but also consider that more than 150,000 new blogs are created every day. This means that quality must be your top priority. Write only about subjects you have an in-depth knowledge of, and where possible, try to offer new and original content or perspectives
Be remarkable and relevant
To build a reputation online you have to be active, and you have to regularly engage with others – either by creating and sharing content or communicating directly. You’ll also know from experience how saturated your news feed can become with content that’s neither remarkable nor relevant to you. But the content that stands out – the content that you or your peers share – usually manages to be both. It sparks interest and adds value – which are both precious commodities in a crowded environment. Every time you create or share something, run it through the ‘remarkable and relevant’ test, and you’ll quickly build a strong reputation.
It doesn’t matter how good your blog or Twitter feed is, if you post every day and then stop suddenly for a month, you’ll lose interest. Content on the internet has an extremely short shelf-life, and users can be very impatient. Be disciplined and post regularly. Assess what works best (how regularly, what time of day etc.) and stick to a plan. Conversely, posting too much can irritate followers and connections too; so, make sure you find a balance.
Create and join groups
Success online is about being proactive and not reactive. On social media platforms like LinkedIn, you’ll be able to find and connect with likeminded people by joining groups relevant to your interests or career. Contribute content to group debates, and better still, create your own if you notice a potential theme that your peers may be interested in. By creating a successful group that others choose to join, you’ll become a trusted expert within your specialist area.
Organise your social media platforms
If you’re using multiple platforms it’s vital that you keep on top of any and all developments. When questions are asked or comments are made on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere, you need to respond quickly and thoughtfully. To manage this efficiently it may be wise to use social media management software such as Hootsuite.
Put everything in one place
If you use a number of different platforms to promote yourself and what you do, it’s essential that people can find what they’re looking for easily. There are now a number of free and user-friendly platforms that allow you to put everything in one, simple place, such as Tumblr and WordPress.