WASHINGTON, November 30, 2013 – The old saying goes, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” This holds true for online impressions as well.
What does your online brand look like? Open up a new tab in your browser and Google your full name and the state you live in. Over half the adults who do this will find quite a few results for their name. If an individual is well known in the community, such as a business owner or an elected official, he or she may find some in-depth information as well.
Most of us will simply find a few social network sites, perhaps some phone listings and other odds and ends. Which brings me to my point: everyone needs an online personal brand that they control.
With over 77 percent of employers Googling and researching applicants, it’s critical that you control what they see.
This is not about being deceitful or burying bad press about yourself that you may uncover. Trust me, if the bad press is out there, it will be found regardless of what you do. This is all about controlling the message that others initially see.
The last thing you want is for a potential business partner or employer to view your online rants about a favorite sports team or pictures of a beach vacation. Instead, what they should see is a professional looking message that you’ve crafted that will give them the right first impression of you.
Now that you know why you should have your own personal online brand, let’s discuss how you go about doing it. There are several techniques that you can employ. Some will be quick and easy, while others will require more time and effort.
This is probably the easiest way to control your image for potential Googlers. LinkedIn is a free social network for business professionals. They give you access to an online profile that you can customize to your liking. You can share your work history, accomplishments, business contacts and more. The best part of Linkedin is that it ranks quite highly in Google.
Therefore, building your profile with them will allow you to be on the first page of Google with a strong personal message.
A Personal WordPress Site:
WordPress is the most popular blogging and website software in the world. With over sixty million websites built on their platform, they have more support and tools for do-it-yourself webmasters than any other software on the market.
The best part of WordPress: it is absolutely free. Most website hosting companies have the option to load WordPress on your URL right from the control panel.
To build a WordPress site, you will need a URL first. You can go to any of the online registrars to take care of this and register your name or a variation of your name. Once that’s done, upload WordPress on your URL and get to work.
Watch this space for a future article on how to build your first website with WordPress. Check back often to learn how it’s done.
Have Someone Else Build It:
There are many of us who simply don’t have the time to build and manage our personal brands. Work, family, and other commitments eat up all the time in the day. We’re left with little to no available bandwidthble for side projects.
When this is the case, having someone build and manage your personal brand is a viable option. This may sound like a luxury option, but in truth, it doesn’t have to be. There are many firms that offer affordable online marketing options. They are able to build a basic website, control the flow of information, and even alert you if anything negative is being said about you.
Privatize Your Personal Social Networks:
Often, the best brand you can provide is an anonymous brand. This technique acknowledged the difference between your personal and professional brand.
If you don’t want your employer or others seeing what you’re doing on your social networks, then simply make them private to everyone but your friends. This will keep unwanted Googlers from finding out information about you.
In fact, this action should be undertaken regardless of which method you choose. Oftentimes, there is sensitive information on your social networks that you wouldn’t want strangers to discover.
By searching a random person and seeing their public Facebook page, I could potentially find out the names of their children, where they live, their likes, when they’re home, and much more. Again, Google search your name, city, state. What can you find out about yourself? Likely, this is information you do not want on the internet.
To address this issue, simply change your privacy settings on your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and other accounts. Then, only your friends can see personal information about you.
With the internet now ubiquitous in our lives, the need for privacy and a controlled personal brand has never been greater. Take steps now to ensure that you have the right first impression for anyone searching your brand.
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