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Five Do’s and Don’ts for Managing Your Personal Online Brand
By: McBee|Gibraltar
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If you are between the ages of five and 95, you likely have an online presence. Whether you are applying for your first job or are a seasoned professional dusting the cobwebs off of your LinkedIn profile, there are ongoing steps that must be taken to ensure that your online reputation accurately reflects your personal brand. A one-time sweep to untag questionable photos on Facebook is not enough. You need to be proactive about monitoring and managing your presence to ensure that your personal online brand supports your personal and career objectives.

DO

  1. Revamp social sites on a regular basis: Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, or Flickr, make sure there is no content that paints you in a negative light. The key is continuing to monitor every once in a while — you never know when people will search for you (job interviews and school reunions come to mind).
  2. Learn about SEO: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or webpage when included in a search engine’s results. Google yourself, see what is out there, and see what people are saying about you. Brand Yourself is a free resource that does a great job of scanning your name online and helping boost relevant links to the top of search engine pages. Low-ranking content or a lack of content could mean that you are missing out on a huge opportunity to stand out in the crowd, so start creating positive, visible results.
  3. Actively use LinkedIn: According to this infographic on the breakdown of a person’s Google results, LinkedIn ranks higher than all other profiles including other social networks and website builders. Maintaining a professional profile will bode well in search results, along with being a valuable resource to make professional connections and stay on top of industry news.
  4. Stay current, stay consistent: Just like your resume, keep your work and education history up to date online to avoid discrepancies in the future. Keep bios consistent across all social media platforms and link pages when relevant to create a holistic brand.
  5. Maintain a balance: Join relevant online social groups, follow industry news, show unique passions — be real. Creating a personal website or blog that is centered on your interests is the perfect place to paint a positive image. It also shows employers who you are as an individual along with showcasing your writing skills. A few examples of places to create your own site are WordpressAbout.meWeebly, and Wix.

DON’T

  1. Bash a current/potential job or client: Even if you do not explicitly name an organization or company, it is generally easy to figure out who you are talking about. It is also smart to avoid publishing negative comments about past jobs, which could deter potential employers. If you have nothing constructive to say, do not say it at all.
  2. Post anything unprofessional: Even if you are not connected to your boss online, inappropriate content such as raunchy pictures and videos can resurface or get circulated among your coworkers. First impressions online are crucial, and this type of content can haunt you, especially when taken out of context. A general rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t want your grandma to see it, don’t post it.
  3. Engage in online rants: Offensive statements and rude comments not only reflect poorly on you, but also on your employer. Learn how to express yourself tactfully even when you have strong opinions; you don’t want to contribute to an online persona that will restrict your opportunities in the future.
  4. Assume privacy settings are foolproof: Despite the privacy settings on sites like Facebook, once content is made available online, it is difficult to get rid of it. Don’t assume that just because you untagged a photo or removed yourself from a group that something cannot be traced back to you.
  5. Ignore the conversation: Your online brand is an ongoing process requiring engagement and attention. Don’t just listen to what others are saying about you; dive into the conversation and be proactive about engaging with and responding to others.
This post was written by Melinda Boisjolie, an Account Associate at Gibraltar Associate, and cross-posted on Gibraltar LLC's blog.

   

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About the Author
McBee|Gibraltar is the strategic communications solution on the McBee Strategic Consulting platform, based in Washington, D.C.. Forged in 2013 between McBee and Gibraltar Associates, McBee|Gibraltar provides communications counsel and services to global corporations, smaller public and private companies, investment and professional service firms and high-profile individuals. www.McBeeStrategic.com
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