Thursday, October 8, 2009

Need a Social Media Makeover?

Last week, Valerie and I presented to OSU-PRSSA about managing and maintaining your online reputation. I just love working with this group. The students are all so interested and interesting. It was a fun talk, and the best part was all the questions we got at the end.

Here are a few highlights from the presentation:

Who is watching your online reputation?
Future employers tend to be the focus when we worry about this, but it extends much further. After you have the job, you need to continue to be proactive about maintaining a positive online image.

In our office, we investigate someone’s online profile almost weekly. If you apply for a job with us, join another department in our organization, give a presentation we attended, submitted a media inquiry, or talk about us online, we’ve probably done at least a superficial search of your online presence.

Where do they look?
When someone is looking into your online reputation, anything is fair game. More often than not, people put too much stock in their privacy settings. You have to assume, that even if your accounts are locked down, people will find a way to see what you’ve posted.

The most common and basic searches are going to include Google, a sampling of the most popular social networks and your open records.

What are they looking for?
Regardless of how it might feel at times, most people are not out to dig up dirt on you. (not that they won’t discover the dirt if it’s there to find)

What they are doing is: fact-checking your resume, looking to see if you are talking about them, getting a sense of how you communicate, and feeling out your personality.

The Case Study
Our wonderful intern Marissa Chavez volunteered to be our case study. She made a great example because not only is she well established online for someone her age, her profiles are squeaky clean. Valerie took the students step-by-step through an audit of Marissa's online footprint.

The Take Aways
  • Establish a reputation. Chris Brogan has an excellent post on how to get started.
  • Monitor. Start by Googling yourself; search the web, news and blogs. Run a Twitter search for your handle, and any terms you might be strongly affiliated with. Once you’re satisfied with the structure of these searches, set up an RSS feed to alert you to updates in the results.
  • Maintain your reputation. Keep it clean; be honest and thorough. Watch out for controversial topics. Be active and interactive; and, use profiles and links to point people to the stuff (your blog, twitter, etc) you want them to see.

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