If you’ve recently graduated or are in the market for a job you may consider maturing your social media presence. Is it one you wouldn’t be afraid to broadcast to the world? The last thing you want is for someone to search the internet for you and find something that would hurt your image or credibility. Depending on how long you’ve been involved with social networks, the cleaning up and revamping of your online presence may look to be a daunting task, but may easily be accomplished in one afternoon.
Start where everyone else does – search for yourself. Type your name and any keywords that might be associated with you in some of the top search engines on the web – note what you see and which sites have your information. Don’t forget to utilize image search as well.
Trim the fat. – Take one social network at a time and delete old posts, photos, updates, and friend connections/followers that are irrelevant to the ‘new’ you. If you no longer use the account itself, it may be best to delete it. For Facebook — back up any old photos and updates you wish to keep, but are unsure of sharing, then delete the unwanted information. For Twitter — it may be best to start with a clean slate — creating a separate personal account and another for professional interactions.
Update, update, update — Make sure all usernames have been upgraded to something with your name, or a unique correlation to you. Aside from changing your usernames, also make sure all contact info, job descriptions, and links are up-to-date and cohesive. For example, accounts should use the same (or a similar) appropriate photo of yourself.
Connect your accounts. Once you have your Facebook and Twitter profiles up to professional-par, utilize LinkedIn, and other networks such as Pinterest, Google+ and Klout, by connecting all of your accounts together. This not only helps people find you, it adds to your credibility.
Begin posting. Whether you have pre-existing content, or you are starting from scratch, it’s important to build information to share. If you’re stuck for ideas, try checking out what similar professionals tweet, link, and blog about drawing inspiration from those places. Networking comes naturally when you have content to engage users. Make sure your information is appropriate for your target audience, and doesn’t include controversial subjects.
Network & Engage. While the major social networks are a great place to interact with others, it may also be beneficial to build up your profile on one of the many social networks specific to your industry. While LinkedIn and Google+ are ranked after Facebook and Twitter in terms of active users, they can be critical for SEO and will help others find you via search. Regardless of whom you’re looking to connect with, there are many industry-specific social networks available to join.
Live long and prosper. Aside from keeping your social media presence updated, take it a step further and conduct a friend up, attend a conference, or begin a blog.
An afternoon well spent. Taking a little time to update and rebrand your social media image could be the difference between you and other candidates for jobs, promotions, speaking engagements etc. With appropriately updated social media accounts, you can relax knowing that your online presence is one you can proudly broadcast to the world.