In the past few years, the focus of your so-called “reputation” has shifted from how you present yourself in person and on the telephone to how your present yourself in a digital environment. I would say this this is a classic case of being both a curse and a blessing.
Using the Internet to establish your reputation can be great. With all of the social networks and sites out there, it’s easy to paint a picture of your skills, talents, and interests. People can get to know you more thoroughly, as you can use social networks to highlight many different attributes. In person or on the phone, many times first impressions can be deceiving, and if someone only meets you once, you might not get a chance to share everything that’s great about yourself.
On the other hand, it’s easy to have information overload online. Being too wordy on some social networking sites might turn people off. It’s particularly easy to overshare on sites like Facebook and Twitter. And just like social media for business brands, social media exposes the truth about you, even the stuff you didn’t’ want people to know. Here’s a few ways that you can monitor your reputation while online:
Facebook – Take down from your profile or un-tag any unflattering photos. Make sure that you go as far back as your account does – you may not remember what’s lurking back there. Delete any status updates that contain egregious use of profanity. Make sure your hobbies list doesn’t contain anything that could be considered offensive.
Twitter – Twitter is usually used for posts with a conversational tone. Remove any that could be construed as argumentative or rude. Keep your future conversations politically correct. Twitter is also often used to talk to companies. If you have a gripe with a company and want to Tweet about it, keep your language reasonable.
Pinterest – while probably considered one of the mildest social networks, I’ve still seen some pretty racy content on Pinterest. Beware of pinning e-cards that are rude or offensive. There’s also an abundance of workout-related pins on Pinterest… but sometimes people are naked in them. Just watch out. The great thing about Pinterest is that it now offers private boards. Utilize these for any questionable content you want to pin.
LinkedIn – while I would hope that it’s self-explanatory to keep your LinkedIn profile professional, you would be surprised what you can find out there. Make sure that you are not saying anything about former employers or coworkers that could be taken the wrong way. List professional hobbies rather than ones that are extremely personal.
Owning your social proof and staying on top of content that is posted about you can be time consuming, but it’s worth the investment in the long run.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.