Have you ever Googled yourself? This was one of the first questions that guest lecturer Sasha Kinch asked my peers and I during our Digital Marketing class in August 2017.Kinch made us all consider what exactly exists online about ourselves, the implications of this and more importantly, how we can be in control of it all.
The Forbes Coaches Council (2017) composed a brief outline of the things to consider when developing a personal brand. Along with portraying reliability, being honest through storytelling and having clarity on what one can offer, they commented on the importance of a solid communications strategy, being confident and being seen. Today, that most definitely includes being seen online.
In the Digital Era it is more important than ever to be aware of your online presence. As Barker, Barker, Bormann, Zahay & Roberts (2017) mention, whether looking at personal brand or a company’s brand, one needs to ask themselves how this online content reinforces their image or story. Kinch (2017) illustrated this point by asking what first impression a Google search of our own name, would give to any audience.
So I did a little searching...
Following my search (which seems quite narcissistic now that I write it for the world to see), I was very pleased to see the amount of travel and work related content that appears first on both Google and Google images. I can only hope that these results, particularly all of the links to this blog, give a good indication that I am a content creator, with specific experience in travel and tourism. Future employers, I hope you see this!
Have a go at Googling yourself and see if you can make small changes, to ensure the right type of content populates the search results of your name. One of my main learnings from this exercise was that Google favours profile pictures and your most popular Twitter & Pinterest postings (and in my case, a lot of my blog’s content, which is brilliant – come through SEO skills)!
When it comes to a professional reputation online,one of the most important platforms to consider is LinkedIn (Barker et al., 2017). Some of Sasha’s main points about maintaining a good profile included having a standout intro, staying true to yourself but also using keywords that pertain to your profile and a quality profile image. She also let us know that including articles, videos and projects that you have been involved in, is a great way to improve your professional online presence.
Following these tips and more about LinkedIn and how to keep your profile professional, I decided to set myself a goal. During the TU Dublin Digital Marketing course it was suggested that having 500 connections on LinkedIn was ideal, so that was my target. Below is a screenshot of my profile in September 2017.
Since then, I made new connections through work events, meeting people when I moved to both Brussels & New York and also discovering former colleagues and DIT peers through the contact import function. All these activities helped me to reach my goal of beyond 500 connections on LinkedIn, which you can see below and actually, I have 757 connections… I think Ms. Kinch would approve! If you want to connect with me on LinkedIn, you can find my profile here. But first, read some of my key learnings below.
• Since being asked by Sasha, I found that I was frequently Googling my name to ensure that only ‘on brand’ results were being displayed. I then realised that there is no need to overthink everything and drive yourself crazy! By being mindful of what you post each time, you shouldn’t need to worry in the future. (Side tip – set up a Google alert for your name, thank me later!)
• If you want to keep your professional presence online but still have a social media platform that you can be your ‘true’ self on, keep working on your LinkedIn profile while setting your Instagram profile to private. Similarly, if you are a business, you should set up ‘pages’ rather than ‘profiles’ to ensure clarity online (Barker et al., 2017).
• If you have a blog, make sure to put your name and the keywords that you would like associated with your name in the alt description and caption of the photos that you upload. This will push your content to the top of the result pages when your name is searched.
• As mentioned before, I noticed that the profile image for your various social media accounts is usually pushed to the top of Google images. So, if one thing is for sure, it’s that you need a respectable profile picture at all times!
Here for the TU Dublin Digital Marketing post series? Find the rest below:
• Barker, M. S., Barker, D. I., Bormann, N. F., Zahay, D., & Roberts. M. (2017). Social Media Marketing: A Strategic Approach (2nd ed.) Hampshire: Cengage Learning EMEA.
• Forbes Coaches Council (2017). When establishing a personal brand, start with where you are right now. Retrieved March 20, 2019 from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/06/12/when-establishing-a-personal-brand-start-with-who-you-are-right-now/#dbd180189a71