How to run a personal online brand audit.
When was the last time you googled yourself? Or had a look at some of the older posts you have stored on Facebook or LinkedIn? What about building a strong professional presence – do you have a strategy in place?
Getting your online persona to be job ready isn’t simply about what to remove from social media, it’s about building an authentic picture of YOU – your experience, opinions, interests and aspirations.
You want a potential employer (or anyone for that matter), to look you up and easily get a sense of who you are, what you do and what you stand for. I say anyone, because your online persona should be job ready any time, even when you are happily employed. There are plenty of people that are going to look you up – potential clients, random acquaintances, new colleagues, your grandmother and many other nosey people!
An online audit will give you the opportunity to take stock of what others can read about you online, so that you can work out what to remove and what to add in, to make sure that it is an accurate and authentic representation of you.
Below you will find some key tips to get you started – but first a little note.
Building a strong personal brand is a lifelong mission and there are a number of ways or processes to use to help you identify key elements of Brand YOU. We highly recommend spending some time looking at some of the huge range of resources freely available on this topic.
1 // Identify the values and traits you want to be known for.
But be authentic. You don’t have to be anything more than what you already are. The aim here is to make it easier for others to understand the real you.
2 // Know what’s out there.
Run a google search on your name – are you happy with what comes up? If not, find ways to counteract it. Whilst you can’t always delete information, you can add more posts that might dilute anything negative.
3 // Map where you are found.
Use the search above to make a list of all the channels or platforms that you can be found on. Think hard about any public profiles that you might have set up a LONG time ago and never used, so go beyond the google search.
Where possible, try and delete any profiles you don’t use or need any more >> If you need some help, there are numerous sites that can help you delete yourself (partially).
4 // Choose the profiles/channels/platforms where you want to be found.
Pick 5-7 profiles or channels that you want to maintain and make sure that any information is updated, relevant and appropriate.
5 // Now select your focus platforms.
From there pick the top 1-3 that you feel would add most value to your personal brand and that you are (realistically) able to maintain, e.g. Whilst you are likely to easily maintain your Facebook account, privacy settings might block randoms from looking at it (rightly so) but it will also stop professional contacts, reducing potential job contributions.
LinkedIn might be alot less fun, but it’s a central social media platform for anything job related, so keeping that in check is important. Different industries will also have niche channels that apply, so make sure you can be found in places that are relevant to you.
6 // Now you know your focus platforms – clean them up!
Make sure that the top 1-3 are spotless and that you are using them to network with others and to express opinions and interests.
7 // Ensure the visuals match the words.
Is your profile picture, job ready too? Whilst it doesn’t need to be in a suit with a white background (personality is important); don’t put anything on there which your grandma might find offensive!
8 // Take your online presence to the next level.
Start thinking about setting up your own webpage, outlining your experience, to make it easier for people to find you (especially important if you have a common name). Try using your full name as the domain name and work on improving its organic ranking, particularly when people search you. It could include a blog, or not. But remember, only start this is you are committed to maintaining it, otherwise it would be counterproductive.
9 // Maintain maintain maintain.
More important than auditing your only presence is maintaining it. Repeat the above every six months, to make sure that it is still all reflective of you. We all change, so your online presence should change with you whether its due to a new job, additional experience or different perspectives.