The 5 Fundamentals of Online Reputation Management
Our seminar #thesocialsituation (24th Feb) looking at employment law regarding the use of social media in the workplace flagged an important issue about how a business professional’s online reputation has an impact on their chances of gaining career connections, employment and career opportunities.
The perks of using social media for a job seeker include finding and researching job opportunities (including those that are not advertised through standard practices such as on the company’s website and or job boards), showing potential employers and recruiters that you’re a well-connected and proactive networker, as well as a professional with passion and expertise in the field in which they work/ wish to work.
Positioning yourself correctly across the social platforms is essential and there are several areas of one’s online ‘footprint’ which require frequent maintenance and management. These include:
Social Media Profiles:
Whilst nobody can argue that social media presents great opportunities when it comes to employability. It can easily become a poisoned chalice if you don’t navigate your way through it with caution and professionalism.
Statistics show that 70% of hiring managers will visit your social channels before any potential hiring takes place to further clarify and aid there decision making process. Yes it is great to be seen as a sociable person with an exciting social life and plenty of connections to boot, however having an openly visible profile with pictures of your recent holiday at a party destination looking less than stellar with a beer in one hand and cigarette in the other could deter any potential employer from looking any further into your application. Likewise, status’ lamenting your previous employer or place of work will make you look unappreciative or negative and could ruin your chances of gaining employment.
It is a highly competitive job market at the minute and hiring managers are looking for any reason to differentiate potential candidates, be it good or bad. Therefore we would strongly suggest you clean up your social media accounts of any potentially damning images or posts. You would also be best advised to keep your posts private. By having separate accounts for work and personal use you will know what is appropriate for each and are a lot less likely to be caught out making an ill-advised online blunder.
For tips on how to stand out, attract and engage with employers, recruiters and other business professionals (specifically on LinkedIn) read: 9 LinkedIn Tips to Improve Your Job Search
Recruiters, employers and other marketing professionals will regularly look through LinkedIn and other popular social networking sites to find candidates and potential new business connections. Your picture is a very important factor to your success in attracting interest from these parties, as it needs to portray the right image (excuse the pun) to show interested parties that you are both approachable and professional.
Statistically, your profile is 14x more likely to be viewed simply by having a profile picture, so updating the default silhouette profile image is essential. You can’t just have any old photo of yourself as your LinkedIn photo however if you want to attract fellow professionals. In this regard using a photo of you walking your dog on a beach, while it may be a great shot in its own right, is not appropriate and most likely needs updating. We would recommend a relaxed head and shoulders shot of yourself against a simple background to ensure clarity and a professional feel, an example of which is below.
Keep your posts professional
Sure, your favourite sports team have just lost a seemingly unimaginable game and it was all the referee’s fault. Your boss at work is being a complete so-and-so and you’ve had enough for the day. Why not send out an innocent little tweet or Facebook status detailing the extent of your fury to your army of friends and followers… it’s a harmless way of blowing off some steam right? Wrong! As those of you who attended our seminar #thesocialsituation will now know.
Once something has been posted online the dye has been cast. Whether you were 5 pints gone at the time or out for a spot of lunch is irrelevant, damning posts such as these can and are often punished with your dismissal and are simply not worth it. Worse yet, is your future employer going to want someone on the books with a track record for letting their emotions get the better of them to the detriment of both themselves and the company? One would assume not. So keep it professional, keep it clean and stay classy. It’s for your own good!
Part of many hiring managers and potential business associates due diligence on you will be to run your name through a search engine to see what comes up about you. Therefore it is imperative you are the master of your own destiny in this respect and take the initiative. Run a Google search for your name and note the search phrases, page and page rank that come up. 90% of all traffic generated from an average google search are for sites listed in the first results page. It is consequently a necessity that your most valuable lead generators appear on this first page. (If your name is of a high frequency e.g John Smith then base your efforts on ranking in the first, second or third page of results for key phrases that are specific to your niche for example ‘digital marketing Leeds’).
The highest ranking sites that display and promote your personal brand the strongest should then be where you focus the vast majority of your content marketing efforts. Content is particularly important when you are seeking a job as not only do you have more time on your hands in which to produce up-to-date and relevant content, but you also need to be seen as being current and informed to highlight to potential employers and connections that you are a thought leader in your field.
To make life easier for yourself, produce a content management calendar in excel including all the relevant holidays/events/topics to you and your industry throughout the year, to enable you to create and keep track of your content, have enough topics in which to share your thoughts and opinions on and make sure you are at the front of mind when it comes to a new hire or business opportunity.
There are countless channels you can use to create and share. Blog posts can be prepared in WordPress and shared on your social channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, LinkedIn Groups, Google +, Pinterest, Reddit) along with infographics, videos, thoughts, relevant industry news to show interested parties that you are a thought leader in your field and encourage engagement from others in your community.
The growth of the internet and social media over the past decade has been astronomical, it is now firmly embedded into our everyday living and working lives and can be hugely prosperous as well as entertaining. This being said, you must make sure that you are on top of your online reputation at all times because it is a key differentiator in today’s business world between success and failure and with such a vast array of opportunities to be had, you do not want to be making thoughtless mistakes which could jeopardise your success. Concentrate on building your online activity and engagement instead, and the opportunities will come naturally as a reward to those who put in the time and effort!