This 3-part image consulting blog series inspects your personal image from 3 different angles: Your communication, your appearance and your digital presence. In the third part we look at the significance of your digital presence as a part of your personal image in an ever growing world of social media.
Your Personal Image Is Everything
PART 3/3: Digital Presence
Have you ever looked at someone’s social media profile and did not have a clue what their personal brand was all about? Did you like or dislike them immediately? Can you pinpoint what made you look further or click away?
You can roughly divide the most annoying social media profiles in two extremes. They are either a mishmash of awkwardly public glimpses to their private lives, serial shares and likes of articles from non-reputable sources. At the other end are the eerily silent or abandoned profiles without anything tangible to hold on to.
Your successful digital presence should fall somewhere in between. It should have accurate, yet interesting and engaging, information without oversharing. And it should present clearly what your personal brand is all about.
Nowadays your personal brand is only as strong as your digital presence and it’s a fact of life that cannot be overlooked.
We All Google People
Are you going to meet someone new? The first thing that pops into your mind while preparing for an interview or a date, is to enter the person’s name in that search field and to hit the magnifying glass icon. In the recent years it has become socially acceptable and a every day custom to Google all new acquaintances.
According to a CareerBuilder study in 2018 57% of employers have decided to not hire someone based on their online content. The survey also revealed that 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates. And that’s just the people who are looking to hire someone.
Thanks to technology it’s now so easy to have friends, enemies, dates, colleagues and business partners all over the world. It’s opening us doors that we never even knew were there.
Your closest friends and family know you in real life and can overlook your online mishaps. But it’s good to remember that some people who will only know the digital you -and there are many of them.
That is why it’s important to pay attention to your digital presence. If you don’t already have one, start building fast. It seems that without a digital presence, you almost don’t exist.
Your Digital Presence
- All your social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, to mention a few.
- Your website (if applicable)
- All the photos of you that you or anyone else have ever posted online
- Anything you have written or that has been written about you on discussion forums, blogs or articles posted online
Have a Digital Clean Up
- The best way to start is to google yourself and to look at all the findings with a critical eye. Ask help from a friend who will tell it like it is, or a professional image consultant, such as myself.
- Is your content aligned with your personal brand? And is your content relevant to your personal brand?
- Consider separating your personal and professional profiles. How you want to define the boundaries between work and private is fully up to you. In general it’s rarely a good idea to connect with your business contacts on a too personal level.
- Remove anything on your public profile that can be interpreted in the wrong way. When is doubt, delete. Or even better: Don’t post it in the first place.
- Consider that your public profiles include information about the pages you liked and your membership of public groups.
- Tasteless and inappropriate jokes, remarks and comments are best shared with a limited audience. Or actually not at all, as we all know how to take screenshots by now.
Clean Up Those Photos Albums
- Take a critical look at your photos because this is what people see first. Consider if they need to be public or should you limit their audience.
- A professional head shot gives always a good impression however nobody expects it on your personal social media profile. On a professional social media page one is of course a must.
- Photos of food, nature, animals and sports are always a safe choice. Parties, people and alcohol may prove problematic, so approach carefully.
- Avoid politics, religion, bullying and violence. It goes without saying that adult content is a major faux pas.
- Make sure your photos don’t violate the privacy of others. If your photos display minors, always ask their parent’s consent.
Take Control Of The Digital You
- The good news is that you are able to feed your digital footprint with positive content on relevant platforms.
- Concentrate on cultivating a solid online presence that makes your personal brand shine and strengthens your executive presence.
- Highlight your skills and achievements, including your personal ones (without being too personal, if you catch my drift). Running a marathon or doing volunteer work always give a positive first impression as does sharing professional content of events that you have attended such as conferences and workshops.
- Create a realistic online strategy that fits your goals and technical skills.
- Choose the right platforms for you and give up the ones that are no longer relevant.
- Update content regularly and keep your pages manned. When the lights are on people assume that someone is home, same applies to social media.
Show Some Personality
- Don’t be afraid to show your creative or compassionate side as it makes you more dimensional and therefore more attractive and unique.
- Keep on feeding relevant and positive content on your pages and engage with others in a friendly manner.
- Remember to thank people and praise them for their achievements too.
- Here comes the spoiler alert: Social media is not about what you post. It’s about how you react to other people’s content.
First Impressions Online
Nowadays first impressions are often made online so your digital presence is a vital part of your personal brand. Here at I on Image I help you to manage your digital presence on relevant online platforms, increase your visibility and help you to build a reputation that is fully aligned with your personal brand.
- READ ALSO other episodes in “Your Personal Image Is Everything”, a 3-part blog series by I on Image
This article was originally published on 25th January 2018 and updated on 20th January 2020 with improved advice, new photos and links
I am looking forward to help you improve your image!