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Do You Know What You Look Like Online?

Every app, every news service, every online community requires a profile these days. Problem is, many of us sign up not thinking about what might happen if somebody did a "fly-by" and clicked on our profile. Maybe a potential client? Future boss?

While monitoring my Twitter feed the other day, I clicked on a #FF (Follow Friday) link with my name on it and noticed that the link went back to my profile on Social Media Today. My blog is registered with them, and from time to time I have a blog entry posted there. Imagine my horror when I looked briefly at the profile and noticed a spelling error. I am a communications consultant, for heaven's sake. A spelling error? I couldn't get there fast enough to correct it.

That harrowing experience prompted me to visit all my other profile locations, and I noticed that my LinkedIn profile hadn't been completely updated either. I had corrected my present occupation, but in the paragraph about my previous job, I hadn't changed some of the verbs to past tense. Awkward.

I consider myself a pretty careful person. I write a lot (maybe too much). But it got me wondering, do I really know what I look like online? Google Alerts, SocialMention, and the other listening tools I use don't look at my profiles unless somebody makes a comment about them. So, I decided to keep better track of my own generated image, and put together a very short checklist.

1. Keep a list/file with URLs of all my online profiles.

2. Check every one, every month, and update.

3. Spell check every single profile post in Word. I also have my daughter copyread my lengthy profile entries (she's a writer). In places like LinkedIn, profiles can be elaborate and lengthy, but crucial. These are marketing venues. Make sure profiles are well-worded, professional and succinct.

4. Make sure all your online profiles have the same basic information. This sounds elementary, but unless you are a name as widely known as Chris Brogan or Liz Strauss, you really need to present a branded image online. Same name, same URL, same tagline, same email, same logo, same phone number, everything. I even use the same avatars, but I know there is a lot of discussion about different avatars for more informal venues like Twitter or Facebook versus more formal presentations like resume sites and LinkedIn.

I've decided my online presence is too valuable to take lightly. Take time to make sure your online profiles are professional and engaging. How do you manage your online profile presence?

Join The Conversation

  • Apr 25 Posted 6 years ago cksyme (not verified)

    Oh how funny. Thanks for the alert. It just goes to show...

  • Apr 25 Posted 6 years ago cksyme (not verified)

    Great points. I especially like #3--spelling occasionally slips through my net, but it is critical. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Feb 28 Posted 6 years ago Michael Dvorscak (not verified)

    Great article, very helpful, thank you.

  • Feb 25 Posted 6 years ago Antoine (not verified)

    Hi Chris,

    agree mostly, a few comments:

    1: keeping a list, YES, better start soon too if you are going to explore many networks and other online places
    + maybe use a tool to manage all your links, Xeesm.com is great for that (check mine)

    2: frequency and regularity on all, of course, although I must admit I don't try anymore
    + profiles you created for education purposes only can have a mention of that in bio so people can find you where you are relly active (an listening)
    + anywhere we want to look active we probbly need to post (or comment or like or whatever) more often

    3: spell checking and grammar I think can ruin good content, depends on audience (desired or imposed)
    + sometimes speed, and maybe use acronyms too to shorten messages, can be key
    + blog posts and other lengthier publications shoud get more attention than statuses and tweets

    4: consistency in bio and avatar I believe helps, tweaking for different places makes sense though !
    + can use Xeesm or other similar system to link from any profile to all others 

    I'd add that another key thing IMO is to be as "human" as possible:
    - photo instead of logo wherever possible
    - reasonably humble and witty bios
    - avoid automation, take the time to do a lot manually, personally, it's more social
    - tidy your networks (friends, followers etc) they represent you too
    - check yourself out with peerindex, klout, twitalyzer, and others..

    cheers

    A

  • Feb 24 Posted 6 years ago Anonymous (not verified)

    I agree with everything you have said, however, in your rush to post this blog, you probably didn't have time to have your daughter proofread it.  There are a few grammatical errors.  Specifically:

    "Imagine my horror when I looked briefly at the profile and noticed a spelling error? (more of a statement than a question) I am (a) communications consultant, for heaven(')s sake(!)"

    I just wanted to let you know so you could be sure to correct the mistakes since your online presence is very valuable to you.  You can delete this comment if you would like.

  • Feb 23 Posted 6 years ago cksyme (not verified)

    Dave--totally agree. Part of this is the old English teacher in me.

  • Feb 21 Posted 6 years ago abcwatson

    Great post. I presented a similar topic for a graduate advertising course on Engagement last Spring. I suggested a simple 4 step process to managing your social media identity: 1) Search & Filter 2) Analyze 3) Focus and 4) Engage. You can view my PowerPoint deck on that topic at http://www.scribd.com/doc/49261570/SAFE-Social-Identity-Monitoring-Process-A-Watson. I completely agree with you that establishing a consistent username, email, etc. is important, although it's a personal decision whether that is one universal identity online or more (perhaps to separate personal networks from business ones). Regardless of the channels or number of profiles, checking your search results, contact information, and linked content is critical to maintaining a strategic and consistent online presence.

  • Feb 21 Posted 6 years ago Davepresher

    I would take great content over spelling anytime...but I see your point!

  • Feb 20 Posted 6 years ago cksyme (not verified)

    Thanks, Loraine, for the thoughts. I agree about messaging consistent. Diligence is necessary, isn't it? And in real-time, no less.

  • Loraine Antrim's picture
    Feb 20 Posted 6 years ago LoraineAntrim

    Communicating on line requires diligence.  There are so many social media places where our on line brand can appear, and our profiles are one of the key areas we should keep an eye on.  I might add that keeping our brand message consistent in ALL on line commnicaitons is equally important.  Thanks for the insights, Chris. Loraine Antrim

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