This is a guest post by Joanna Gaudoin. Joanna helps individuals and organizations with their image and impact. Here, she talks about how to find out what's being said about you online, and how to make a strong impression on different online platforms.
The internet is truly amazing, for most of us it has changed our lives in terms of how we do lots of things - job searching, shopping, researching, booking holidays and managing money. Although for the younger generation, that is how it has always been done!
It gives us a fantastic opportunity not only to pull information but to push it too. For younger generations, they are very used to having a very public profile on-line. The question is - what does the internet say about you?
What happens if you Google yourself? When I had a more common surname and certainly before I ran a business, quite frankly, not a lot! However, now I have a very unusual surname and run Inside Out, you can see a lot very easily.
You can't help but have an image, the perception people form of you when they encounter you. This applies on-line too. Your on-line image plays both a primary and secondary role. As a business professional, whether running a business or being part of one, people may be searching for companies/people that do what you do. You may appear in their search. This is what I would call the primary role.
What will they see? Will what they see encourage them to engage with you in person too?
The secondary role I refer to is when they have met you at a meeting, an interview or an event. They are likely to look you up on Linked In (and hopefully connect!), go to your website or read something you have written - a blog or a paper perhaps.
The question at this point is, does what they see on-line corroborate the person they met? A clear and consistent image is very important in the professional world. Once you've done the hard work in person, it's a case of your on-line image not letting you down but reinforcing and building on what you began in person.
For both primary and secondary roles, you need to think about all the places you appear on-line and make sure the ones which are professionally related are consistent in how they communicate you.
Sure, there is likely to be some personal stuff on-line too. It's best to make sure this is saved for appropriate platforms such as Facebook. Check too that your settings are in place to make sure only personal contacts see the content that might not be appropriate for your professional image.
Remember you can't and won't appeal to everyone. It's about building the image you want and being consistent to represent yourself and your company well.
Here are 3 tips for getting started on checking your on-line image is along the right lines:
- Google yourself to see what's out there. You can be sure others will search for you for one reason or another!
- Make sure you are ‘officially’ present on LinkedIn at the very least
- Review each of the on-line platforms you are present on and check what you are communicating