Being seen online can be a huge boost to getting ahead, but only if it’s for the right reasons. Stories abound of people who’ve gone viral following some social media stupidity, and quickly lost their jobs.
Remember the six HSBC bankers who thought it would be a laugh to dress up as ISIS killers and re-enact a beheading? They were clutching their P45s pretty quickly after that video surfaced online.
Then there’s perhaps the most infamous tweeter of all - Justine Sacco. The former PR made headlines around the world after tweeting: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” The tweet went viral and unsurprisingly, she lost her job.
There are hundreds more salutary tales of social media suicide – you DON’T want to be another one of them. Instead, post stuff that gets you noticed for the right reasons.
We’ve teamed up with ecohosting and The UK Domain to give you a steer on building an amazing online profile; here’s how to get started.
1. Clean up your social media accounts
Even if you only go on social media for personal use, be mindful of what you write. One careless comment can stick around on the internet for a long time, even after you’ve deleted it. Set your feeds to the highest privacy settings.
If they are public, make sure what you post won’t offend potential employers who look you up. You can build a strong profile with well-informed content about what’s going on in your life and the world, whereas boozy rants and pictures can just make you look like someone any employer will think twice about hiring.
2. Don’t spread yourself too thin
Pretty much everyone uses Facebook and Twitter. Pinterest and Instagram are good for visual stuff and LinkedIn is great for building a business network. Pick those that are right for you, but unless you’re a social media animal don’t try to build your profile on all of them. Stick to just your favourites, keep them regularly updated and reply to fans and followers so you stay in their newsfeeds.
3. Create your own website
Creating your own site is a surefire way to build your online presence. Plus, you get to control the content 100%. Pick a web address with your name in it and when people search for you, the chances are your site will pop up near the top.
Keep it simple. You want a clean, clear design and easy navigation. You could include a biography, your CV, examples of work and a blog recording latest industry trends, for example. Keep your content interesting by including plenty of pictures and videos.
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4. Be careful what you publish
Just as with social media accounts, when you’re publishing on your website, you need to take care.
Think before you type. How will it make you come across? What does it say about you? Could it be perceived as offensive? You want to make statements that are engaging, true and promote you, not ones that upset others or land you in a libel court.
5. Write posts that don’t suck
Unless you’re positioning yourself as a food blogger, no-one cares what you’ve had for breakfast. To build a presence and get loyal followers, you have to write about stuff that’s interesting.
Know what you want to say and who you want to say it to – define your target audience and what you want to achieve so you write stuff which keeps them coming back for more.
6. Stay ahead of the game
Technology is changing all the time. Remember MySpace, who uses that any more? Yet, a few years ago, everyone was on it.
Keep on top of the latest innovations and how you can use them to promote your online personal brand. You want to be riding the crest of each new trend, not trailing behind it trying to catch up.