Social media has become a staple in both our personal and professional lives. It is a public platform for sharing our skills, views and expertise. But like all tools and inventions that help us it is not without its faults. Maintaining an online presence through social media is essential as it allows professionals to connect with clients, potential employers, and prospective customers.It is important to understand how to manage your digital identity, as web content is often permanent once posted.
Here are a few tips for maintaining your professional presence online :
1. Put your best face forward
Choosing an appropriate profile photo is essential to creating your professional brand online and solidifying your digital identity. Think about what style and image you want to portray through your photo.
When choosing a profile photo for social media profiles bearing your name, choose a clear and recognizable photo that shows your face. For profiles bearing the name of your business choose a photo that clearly identifies your company name or logo. Picture quality and sharpness should also be considered. It’s a good idea to invest in a professional photo shoot to get some head shots and other photos to use on social media.
2. Share content that is relevant to your industry
Social media is great for keeping in touch with friends and family but your professional profiles should showcase your skills and expertise. The best way to do this is by sharing content that is specific to your own industry or specialty, be it your own blog and website content or that of other industry specific publications.
3. Say Thank You
Your online presence wouldn’t count for much without people to read your content so don’t take your supporters for granted. As a professional you should always acknowledge and thank your followers. If you manage a Facebook page make it a point to thank your supporters and those who like your page. If you use twitter acknowledge new followers as soon as possible and thank them for joining you on twitter.
4. Keep it positive
Avoid posting any negative, offensive or derogatory content. It’s always better to stay positive on social media and avoid conflicts or disputes. Posting derogatory or controversial content and engaging in online fights can malign your digital identity and portray you in a negative light.
5. Be consistent
Consistency is key when managing your online presence. It’s best to come up with a social media schedule for updating your profiles and content. Don’t neglect your online presence as followers and supporters will notice your absence, and once lost followers can be difficult to win back. You can manage and schedule your updates and content using social media management tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer. Both of these tools allow you to schedule updates weeks in advance.
Updates containing photos can be tricky to schedule and although Hootsuite allows you to add photos, Buffer is a better tool for scheduling content with photos as it posts the photo directly unlike Hootsuite which diverts users to the application’s page containing the photo.
6. Differentiate content between social media profiles
With tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite it’s easy to schedule the same update across many different social media platforms, however differentiation is important.
Organize your post content according to your target audience or followers on each platform. Do not link all your profiles together, although it may be tempting pairing your Twitter and LinkedIn updates is not a good idea. Try to come up with different content for each platform, so followers can be more engaged. Varying content amongst platforms will help you increase your reach as followers will have to tune in to all your social media profiles in order to get the full picture.
7. Don’t get too personal
Although social media allows you to interact with clients and employers, your professional presence should remain professional. Avoid posting any content that contains profanity, is controversial or is overly personal on your professional profiles.
It’s a good idea to have two separate profiles one for personal content and one that’s strictly professional. Your professional profiles should also be readily accessible by clients, customers and employers, but your personal profiles should be more guarded. As a rule of thumb do not post any content that you wouldn’t want the world to see. Before posting anything on either personal or professional profiles ask yourself : would I be alright with this content being up on a billboard? If your answer is no then don’t post it!
Praveeni Perera is the CEO and co-founder of Professional Edge Consulting a corporate training company based in Ottawa offering training and coaching services to clients around the world. She can be reached via Website, Twitter, Facebook or her Blog.