Using Social Media to Build Your Online Reputation

Online Reputation

Using Social Media to Build Your Online Reputation

By: kjc11
  5984 reads

Believe it or not, you can actually use social media to build your online reputation. Your social networking profile will usually be near the top of the results page if someone - for instance, a potential employer - searches your name online. Social media is likely here to stay, so you might as well use it to enhance your online reputation.

So how can you properly use social media to enhance your presence  online? Here are some tips I've collected both from personal experience and  from research:

  • Think  twice before clicking "Send". Sarcasm  usually doesn't translate well online. A joke which may seem funny to you or to  your friends can be taken out of context. Before posting content online, take a  second to think about how it can be interpreted. If there's any chance that a  potential employer may misinterpret what you mean, consider re-wording your  message or not sending it at all. 
  • Take  extra care with pictures. A picture,  they say, is worth a thousand words. If you're thinking of posting a silly  picture that your friends might find funny, you might want to give that a  second thought. Once a picture is posted online, it pretty much stays public.  Someone can save it and share it with others before you can delete it.
  • Build  your personal brand by communicating your expertise. A lot of people use  blogs or their status updates to let everyone know about their daily adventures  and frustrations. While there's nothing wrong with wanting to express yourself,  if your blog or profile appears on Google when someone searches your name,  having a story there about your spring break misadventures may not be the best idea.
         
    Consider using your blog to write about causes that you care for instead. If  you have a certain expertise, blog about that subject and show potential  employers what you know about it.
       
    Also, try not to talk about work through your status updates or blog posts. For  one, you don't want to inadvertently share confidential information online. Also,  social media is not the right channel for venting about your frustrations;  talking to your boss in person is likely a more professional way of addressing  work issues.
  • Check  your friends list. Who you're following or who you're friends with online  can tell as much about you as what you write in your profile. Similarly, if  you've joined groups or affiliations online, make sure that what they accurately  represent your views.
  • Open a  LinkedIn account. Think of LinkedIn as the professional's equivalent of  Facebook. A lot of employers now use this site to find out more about potential  employees. In addition to letting  everyone know about your professional experience, you can use LinkedIn to ask for  recommendations from former bosses or colleagues. If there's one social  networking profile that you'd want potential employers to see, this is it. LinkedIn is free to use, so consider opening  an account before you apply for a job.  
  • Fill out  your profile thoughtfully and accurately. When filling out your profile in  any of the social networking sites, take an extra second to think about what  you write. A well-written profile should succinctly communicate what you're  passionate about. Think of it as a way to build your personal brand  online. It's also a good idea to include  your contact information, links to your blog/LinkedIn profile, etc.
         
    If you have a nicely-written profile, you shouldn't be afraid of placing it  public. Other things you should consider placing public (provided you've taken  the time to fill them accurately) are your education & work information,  professional affiliations (which may help in networking), and contact information.

If you think that these tips would be challenging, you  should set your privacy settings as high as possible. And because social  networking privacy is still evolving, make sure you check your settings  occasionally to ensure that any content that you don't want to share are not accidentally  made public. But even if your privacy settings are high enough, be cognizant of  the fact that your friends can easily grab your content (for instance, by  taking a screenshot) and place it elsewhere.

Maintaining a professional image online through social media  can mean the difference between almost getting  that dream job and actually getting it. Take the time to review your profiles  on various social networking sites and to search for yourself online to make  sure that you're not giving employers the wrong message.

Beyond the Article:

Are you an entrepreneur? Watch this cool  presentation for tips on how social media can help you reach more potential  customers. (This presentation was created  by Kemp Edmonds, one of the presenters at the Venture Meet-up Series.)

Posted on March 04, 2012