I love social media. There, I said it. It’s what I do for fun and for work, in the morning and in the evening. It’s definitely an integrated part of my daily life. Which means that I see a few people with really well-executed online presences and loads of people whose online image needs at least a bit of tweaking. Want to be in the former category? Read on for my 10 tips (most of them quick, easy and free) on how to optimize your online presence.
- First things first—Google yourself. Note what comes up first and go through the first 5 – 10 pages to see what other people would find if they were looking for you. Next step? Setup a Google Alert for your name. It’s free and it’s an easy way to monitor your online presence.
- Do you have a LinkedIn profile? If not, get one setup stat. If you do, go through and make sure you’ve filled out all the sections and that your profile is complete—this will help you to better match in searches.
- Use a professional profile photo. If you’re looking for (or already) work in a formal corporate setting, a suit and tie is the way to go. Working as a personal trainer? Workout attire might be your best bet. Long story short? Dress in a way that is cohesive with your work attire. Invest in a professional photo if possible.
- Build consistency across profiles. Your LinkedIn profile should have a similar message/image/feel as your Twitter account for example.
- Check your privacy settings. I can’t emphasize this point enough. Certain social networking sites (ahem, Facebook) are known for their frequently changing privacy settings. A good way to safe guard your online image? The easiest is to never post anything you wouldn’t want you employer or potential employer or mother to see. The second easiest way? Set a reminder on your calendar to review your privacy settings once a month. It takes all of five minutes and is worth the peace of mind knowing that you’re projecting your desired image. Setting specific groups can also be a helpful tool. For example, I might want to share an album of college photos I’m uploading with my close college friends, but not my entire network. This is entirely hypothetical of course.
- Include relevant contact information on all of your profiles. If you never check certain email addresses, don’t list them. It’s common sense, but widely neglected for social media profiles, particularly Facebook as the default is a facebook.com email address.
- Claim you domain name if it’s available. Better yet, create a simple WordPress site for yourself and link to your relevant profiles. For just a few bucks a month, you have your own dedicated online space which can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish it to be, without any of the restraints of the major social networking sites. It’s a worthwhile investment.
- Review your current profiles. Deactivate networks that you aren’t regularly posting to and streamline your online image by keep things up-to-date. A good rule of thumb is three major social networks max. If you work in journalism, PR or social media, you’ll obviously be breaking this rule, which in that case makes perfect sense.
- Claim your personal URL on your social networks. It’s a nice touch to show that you’ve made a bit of effort and are socially savvy. What would you rather see? www.facebook.com/YourNameHere or www.facebook.com/3jf98ujo30i8?
- Be social! It’s called social media/networking for a reason. Reach out to others and show interest. Build connections based on common ground. While the initial connections may be digital, being socially involved online has led to so many additional opportunities for me in real life. It can do the same for you.
Kristine Page is a social media strategist at the Rady School of Management. When she’s not tweeting, sharing photos on Instagram or writing Rady stories, you can find her sipping iced coffee and expounding on the merits of the latest Facebook changes to anyone who will listen.