It’s clear that social media has dramatically changed the way we communicate, network, shop and conduct a job search. Social media experts say if you can’t be found through Google, then you don’t exist. Pretty harsh, isn’t it?
The good news is you have control over your online image just as you have control over your physical image. The key is to make sure they both tell the story you want, are consistent and stand out. Now that just about everyone is online, ignoring your online presence will only hinder your future success. First impressions matter online as well as in person.
So how do you want to be viewed by the world? Have you Googled yourself lately? Are you digitally distinct or a digital disaster? Most people end up somewhere in between. Those individuals who focus on their online presence and image are the ones who become digitally distinct and gain an advantage over their peers.
Here are some tips to start you on the right path:
Do your homework. Evaluate where you stand today. Google your name and see what content shows up. Do it every few weeks to ensure the content is pure. (In other words, that it is relevant content you want associated with your name.) There may be 10 people with your same name. Make sure you eliminate any content that isn’t related to you.
Eliminate any digital dirt you may find about yourself. This includes inappropriate photos, derogatory blog comments or any content you don’t want tied to your name.
Determine which social media outlets will work best for you. You don’t need be on all of them but you do need to develop a presence. Once you figure out where you want to be, the visuals and content need to be consistent across all mediums.
Invest in a professional headshot. It’s the first impression someone receives when viewing your profile and it helps people immediately connect with you.
Find your voice. Start writing and posting content or videos about your business or industry. Create an engaging Linkedin summary. Join groups and comment on blogs and or articles that others have written. Remember you are developing relationships and you want people to get to know the real YOU.
Begin thinking about your personal brand. What do you want to be known for in your industry? What sets you apart from your peers? Begin communicating these messages through your social media outlets.
Following these six tips help boost a positive online presence and are key steps to becoming digitally distinct.