Whether it’s a prospective client researching your value or a potential employer gauging your suitability, they will make decisions based on what they find, or don’t find. Ask yourself this, am I going to be advantaged or disadvantaged by my digital footprint?
Here are ten things you may want to consider:
- Have fun and be yourself. Your online reputation should represent who you are. Think seriously about your own personal values and apply them to everything you do, online and offline.
- Nothing online is private or confidential. Keep personal networks as private as possible but remember casual conversations or shared images with friends have the potential to be seen by anyone, anywhere and at any time. Never commit anything to the web that you wouldn't post on a motorway billboard.
- The Social Web doesn't differentiate between you and your employer. As you develop your online presence be sure that work life and personal life has a clear delineation. If the lines have the potential to become blurred have a conversation with your employer to get clarification on policies, best practice and expectations.
- Respect the opinion of others. You have the right to an opinion but treat people online with the same respect that you would as if it was face to face.
- Listen more than you speak. No-one likes a blabber mouth so be sure to pay attention to what others have to say. You never know who is inside your network or what influence they have so adopting a one direction broadcast mentality will prompt people to delete you from their world.
- Create lots of relevant and valuable content. Giving is the name of the game, share your knowledge and you will gain the respect and ultimately referral from those you connect with.
- It’s not a numbers game. Building your online networks takes time. Choose platforms that suit your personality, industry and interests. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn all have differing values and potential. Choose the ones you can commit to and that add value to your existing commitments. Be consistent in your frequency and content theme. It’s not about volume, it’s not about the number of fans or followers, it’s all about genuine and authentic engagement with real people.
- Know what is being said about you. Use the tools available to scan the matrix of online conversations. Set Google alerts with your brand or name and use TweetDeck with Twitter searches for your name or notifications for mentions so you can respond promptly to personal references or enquiries.
- Don’t buy into the hype. No-one should tell you having an online presence is compulsory. You have to be sure you have a clear understanding of why you are doing this before what you do comes into play. A personal communications strategy plan may be a good investment of your time to begin with. (I know easier said than done)
- Integrate Online Marketing into your Business: It’s just a fad, we don’t have time, there’s too much risk, staff will waste time… They said the same about the telephone and email after that and yet they are now integral to modern business communications. Barriers to using social media come from fear, lack of experience, lack of authority or low priority. Don’t try to convert the doubters, find ways to use emerging technology to improve productivity, save time or remove long term issues. Only then will it will make sense to everyone involved making online marketing and communications a valuable tool and giving you the opportunity to make your mark on the World Wide Web.