Whether you’re a business owner, a community manager for a brand, or you’re looking for a job, your personal profile matters. Like it or not, what you say when you’re not speaking on behalf of your company will reflect on your brand’s reputation. And if you’re looking for a job, you better hope your personal brand doesn’t conflict with that of the company or their clients because you might lose out on the opportunity.
If you’re considering an online presence (hello, it’s 2018, this should be a no brainer!) or you’re just expanding your current network through events and other face-to-face meetings, here are a few things to take into account as you build your profile.
Know who you’re dealing with
If you are having a conversation with someone and you start badmouthing a mutual acquaintance. One of three things could happen:
- The person actually likes this acquaintance and you have just offended them.
- The person really doesn’t like this acquaintance either and you have just bonded over something really negative.
- The person feels very uncomfortable and thinks, “if you can so easily talk about them, are you badmouthing me as well to others?”
In all three cases, you have just opened your mouth without knowing what the response will be, and in all three cases you get a negative outcome. Even though you agree in #2, do you really want to get a reputation like that?
The same can be said for your personal profile online. You should be putting out what you want to get back. Have you said something offensive about specific brands or an industry on social media? Better make sure that agency you have approached for a job doesn’t work with those brands or industry. You won’t be called back.
Your values should align with the brands you work with – you are acting as an extension of them. If it’s your own company, you need to be a beacon for your brand. And if you work for someone else, make sure you believe in the organizational values enough that you want to live it.
Be aware of what you’re putting out there
Thinking of posting a long rant about how much you despise your political leader? Maybe don’t. Having a politically charged, intelligent discussion is very different than posting your disgust of the latest spending habits or their intelligence levels. It could make you seem like one of those conspiracy theorists who is a little unstable.
Or how about that time when you were REALLY angry with a company because they treated you poorly? That thread of ten tweets where you threaten to never use their products/services again might make you feel a “skinch” better, but don’t expect them to want to ever work with you if the opportunity arises. A fact-based, calm inquiry can actually get you further than yelling, and it leaves you open to opportunities down the line
If you complain a lot, you’ll also find that people will stop wanting to work with you because of the negativity. While, you might find a small group who will go down the rabbit hole with you, they will likely not get you far when it comes to reaching your ultimate goals!
Things on social media are very visible. Employers will check out your activity online and so will clients. Be mindful of the bigger picture of your personal profile. This doesn’t mean you can’t be authentic and that you have to put forward a contrived brand, but when it come to inappropriate messaging that could be seen as offensive or hurtful, think about whether it will give the right impression.
Clean it up
We go through so many changes throughout our lives, and your digital profile reflects that. From teenager, to university student, to professional, as we age our values and opinions change. Your 16 year old or 20 year old self might not have had the foresight to anticipate your current role as a senior manager or even the CEO of a large corporation. While the internet lasts forever, there are a few things you can do to “clean up” your image.
- Remove the evidence: Those photos of you from your hard-partying days don’t necessarily need to be tagged or even on social media if they aren’t really appropriate. If they are yours, delete them, and if they are someone else’s at least untag your self.
- Delete inappropriate posts: You don’t need to erase your entire history, but if you know you have said things in the past that might not appeal to your current target networks, consider going back through and deleting certain tweets or posts. While these posts may come up again (*because the internet), you have mitigated the situation a little.
- Bury it: This can be easier said than done. But if there are things that pop up online that are unfavourable or that portray you in a negative light, create more content. The same can be said for countering an unexpected negative review. If you get your customers to leave positive reviews, eventually that negative review will be less important.
We all wish that our personal and professional lives could be kept separate. While it can be possible to do so, with the professional world increasingly moving digital, it makes it quite difficult. The solution is to be more self-aware and think twice about the content you post before you post it.
If you’re not sure how to build your personal profile in a way that enhances your professional life, we love working with experts and individuals on brand development. Give us a call!