Ever seen someone with a fantastic social media presence?
You know the type, all of their profiles look amazing, they’re engaging with people, and there isn’t a hint of anything that could potentially sabotage their reputation.
They look pretty trustworthy right? Here’s the kicker: Employers, business partners, and customers are all thinking the same thing. They just went from “interested” to “sold” in the blink of an eye.
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Anyone can do this. Normal folks are using social media all the time to look great online and leverage new opportunities for themselves.
What’s their secret? They understand the value of social media reputation management.It’s not rocket science, and it’s really not that time consuming either. You just have to know where to start.
That’s why we’ve put together a resource to get you up and running when it comes to managing your reputation on social media.
Wait, what is social media reputation management exactly?
Social media reputation management is the process of building and monitoring your social media presence to make your overall online brand better.
At BrandYourself we see three major benefits from social media reputation management.
First of all, by managing your reputation on social media well, you enhance how your brand looks on those social networks.
This is valuable if you’re active in the right social communities, and can make your social media accounts a great place for others to learn more about you.
Using these networks to interact directly with your customers, colleagues or potential business partners can set you apart from other brands online.
Secondly, proper social media management typically leads to higher search result rankings for online properties you control when someone searches your name.
Social media properties usually get indexed and can start ranking competitively quickly, so you have an opportunity to make a dent in your search results fast.
Claiming this real estate with properties you control is a huge win, and one of the big reasons we encourage social media reputation management.
Lastly, social media also provides a forum for instant feedback. No matter what it is that you are selling – a product, a service, a lifestyle – social media platforms let you talk directly with customers and clients.
No matter what kind of feedback you get on social media, you have the chance to respond directly and publicly. This shows others that you’re listening, and that you care. Individuals and brands that do this well consistently earn respect in their industry, which is the ultimate currency on and offline.
I’m not that into social media – can it really work for me?
If you think social media isn’t for you, consider this, search queries usually yield 10 to 12 results on the first page alone.
If you completely opt out of social media, then you’re limiting the number of properties that you control. Whether you are suppressing a negative search result or trying to build out a competitive set of search results for your name, refusing to engage on social media severely reduces your chances of controlling that first page of results.
For those who don’t currently engage on any social media platforms, you may think that you’ve gotten along fine without these profiles this long – why bother now? Nowadays, regardless of industry, an online presence is an expectation. By not taking advantage of social media, you’re leaving all kinds of opportunities on the table and damaging your professional image.
What are the best professional profiles for you?
If sites like Facebook or Instagram don’t tickle your fancy, remember that there is a whole host of social media platforms that can work for you.
The beauty of social media is that you get to decide what kind of information you’re sharing about yourself, and how you’re engaging with others.
Furthermore, a number of social media platforms exist that target professionals – and even specific industries.
As for platforms that may not seem particularly professional at first glance, try not to dismiss them. If a social network that tends to rank well would aid in the overall objectives of your personal brand’s development, there is always a way to present yourself in a polished and career-minded fashion there.
The process of building your brand is personal and ongoing, so just be very clear about your own priorities when it comes to choosing or excluding social media properties from your strategy.
So what does a strong foundation look like when it comes to social media reputation management? With so many social networks to choose from, how do you know where to start?
At BrandYourself, we’ve analyzed thousands of search results and discovered which profiles tend to rank best in the search engines. These are all fairly broad, general in nature, and can be utilized no matter what industry you are in. We definitely recommend that you choose from the following 12 platforms when designing a stable social media foundation initially:
- Google Plus
What’s the purpose of each?
While there are certainly similarities among social media profiles, the platforms themselves can vary in content type, audience and functionality. With that in mind, below is an overview of each of the recommended social media profiles:
- Facebook: Facebook is a great place to connect with friends, family and colleagues alike. It encourages users to join groups, like and follow pages, publish original content like photos, share articles and much more. Facebook profiles tend to rank well, and although the platform originally focused on connecting with friends, today you can make a very professional profile, but still reap the benefits of the site.
- Linkedin: LinkedIn is the go-to for professional networking. Here, you have the opportunity to create an extended resume that lets you showcase all of the hard work that you’ve put into your academic and professional lives. In addition to highlighting your professional achievements, you have the opportunity to publish articles using LinkedIn pulse and connect with others in your industry. A must-have profile for all professionals.
- Google Plus: This platform lets you create a profile that is as detailed or as vague as you’d like. It can act as a great repository for your YouTube videos, and you can publish all kinds of content and updates here as you see fit. Google Plus also allows you to connect with relevant communities, create different circles of people that you know and more. You also have the opportunity to control a page about your business through Google Plus.
- Twitter: This is a very popular platform that allows its users to share brief bits of content (known as tweets) and follow other users. As a business owner, Twitter is an excellent forum to share information immediately with consumers and to respond to direct queries and complaints.
- Quora: This is a platform that lets users crowdsource answers from experts, and upvote the best answers to other questions. By answering questions relevant to your field, you have the opportunity to share knowledge that you’ve gained throughout your career.
- Tumblr: This content sharing platform focuses primarily on photos and videos – and shorter bits of written content. It’s a great place to curate images that are relevant to your work.
- Slideshare: Slideshare is an excellent place to build, share and discover presentations. As a user you have the opportunity to share presentations, pdfs and even video with other users in your field.
- About.me: This platform essentially acts as a free-standing biography and resume. Users have the chance to showcase their accomplishments and qualifications, and lightly interact with other users.
- Vimeo: This platform is a home for video content. It differs from YouTube because it features work from emerging and professional filmmakers. But don’t let this intimidate you, you can share your videos here, comment on the work of other users and follow other filmmakers.
- YouTube: YouTube is a classic platform that allows users to upload, share and comment on videos, create their own channels and playlists.
- Pinterest: While Pinterest is often thought of as a platform merely for sharing recipes and wedding designs, it’s much more than that. After creating a profile here, you can create various boards – each containing pins that you create from scratch or copy from other sources. These boards can easily relate to your profession, whether it’s a board that contains infographics with relevant data or pictures from your company’s latest event, pinterest not only lets you showcase your professional interests, but find others who share them.
- Crunchbase: Crunchbase allows users to create profiles for people and businesses – typically in the tech industry (though not necessarily). Users can follow influential individuals and enterprises and update profiles with current news articles, videos and information.
The Two-Step Formula
Once you’ve chosen the social media profiles you want to build up, it’s time to get to work. Here’s a simple two-step formula for making the most out of your profiles and practicing smart social media reputation management:
Step 1: Optimize
Properly optimizing your social media profiles will give them the best chance to rank highly in the search engines. This is something many people overlook and unfortunately it ends up hurting their brand. If you have a few existing profiles already you should take another look at those again as well.
Solid optimization when practicing social media reputation management will help search engines better understand who or what the profile is about. The main areas to pay attention to when optimizing social profiles include the following:
Full Name: When creating a username, customizing the profile’s URL or just listing your name, make sure you use your full name (or your name with any relevant qualifiers) – and be consistent about the name that you go by professionally.
Photo: Include a recent professional picture of yourself. Don’t forget to label the picture with your name and follow all size recommendations listed on the site.
Biography: Write an original biography about yourself that uses the maximum number of characters allowed. Whenever you can, try to speak about yourself in the third person so that your name is included in the biography section early on. This will make it easier for search engines to understand who the content is about, and makes managing your reputation on social media a lot easier.
Location: Include your public location as this can help enhance rankings for you locally and differentiate between others with your name that live in another location.
Link to your website: Most profiles let you include a link to your website. Always take advantage of this and link to your site so users can learn more about you.
Fill out all descriptions: In addition to writing out your biography, make sure that you fill out as much relevant information as possible. Whether it’s talking about your skills, where you volunteer, or hobbies outside of work – the more complete your profile is, the better.
Privacy: Remember, the more public, the better for SEO purposes. However, take some time to think about what you are and are not comfortable with sharing publicly (remember that you can usually make certain information or posts private, even if the account is public – just read through your options in the settings). While privacy is always an option on any social media account, we don’t recommend that you post or share anything that you would regret becoming public later (even if you select “private”).
Update regularly: While you don’t have to spend all day everyday on your profiles, make sure that you update them regularly. Whether you change biographical information to reflect who you are now, update your status, comment on content from other users or publish longer form posts – make sure that you are regularly contributing original content to your profile in some way.
Step 2: Engage
This is a major part of social media reputation management. Once you have your properties optimized you should start to focus on how you can build up and represent your brand by engaging on whatever networks you are a part of. Here are some quick tips on how to get started with this.
Identify influencers in your field: Do your homework and find the people who maintain a strong presence on social media platforms and who also happen to be standouts in your field. You can learn a lot from these leaders when it comes to connecting with the right audience through social media.
Connect with people you know IRL and online: Even if you are regularly updating your profiles, your posts don’t mean anything if nobody reads them. When thinking about how to build your social media presence, start with people you know in real life who are in your field, and go from there.
Find your community: By investing time upfront in finding people and communities who share your professional and personal interests, you’ll eventually be able to contribute to these communities by sharing original content that you know will interest them. That means more traffic, more shares, more re-posts and other social media engagement. Don’t just share randomly, put effort into finding and creating an audience that will be receptive to the kind of work that you share.
After building well-optimized social media profiles and regularly engaging with others on them, you are still not finished.
Connecting with others while updating your profiles regularly is an ongoing process.
If you let your profiles go stagnant, they will be seen as irrelevant and not particularly valuable by people and search engines alike.
In addition to staying active on your social media profiles, regularly scan them for any comments that you might be making that could possibly damage your online brand.
Once you have scanned and deleted all questionable posts, regularly revisit your strategies and goals for developing your online presence.
Scan: Remember, always exercise caution with the comments that you make online, and even the people that you follow! You wouldn’t want anything that you post to be misconstrued or somehow undermine all of your efforts. So always pause before you post, and regularly scan your profiles.
BrandYourself’s DIY tool offers an incredible feature that alerts you about posts from your social media profiles that are polarizing or potentially damaging. Currently you can enable this feature for your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Our proprietary software flags keywords that include swears, drugs, alcohol and more. You can even customize these words to find specific words (like any mentions of a boss or an ex) then delete posts that you don’t want people to find.
Revisit your strategies and goals: Once you’ve found and deleted any posts that aren’t in line with your personal brand, regularly tweak the overall strategy for your brand.
Taking control of your online presence won’t happen overnight. So don’t give up if you don’t see changes in search results immediately.
Instead, evaluate how things look on a monthly basis. After a few months, do a thorough intake and consider that a change in strategy may make sense for you.
That could mean focusing all of your energy on fewer profiles, changing what properties you link to in your profiles, or something comparable.
Social media reputation management demands regular attention and strategy as it’s part of a long-term process that starts with building profiles for the first time or optimizing existing profiles.