Where have you established your professional online profile? Do you have a Facebook page? Are you on Twitter? How about Linkedin, VisualCV or Naymz? No matter where you choose to create your online profile, it is imperative that it is professional, contains pertinent content and shares a consistent message. Here are the top 10 tips for your online profile:
1. What is your name? What is your company name? When creating online profiles always give careful consideration to the user name you are about to enter as it will likely be contained in the URL, which is automatically generated. Take advantage of the option to customize your URL whenever available to eliminate slashes, dashes or extra letters and numbers. Be consistent with the name you choose in every profile. Make an effort to avoid dots and dashes and numbers. The difficulty in remembering your various user names is one problem, the other is not being found by a potential employer or client because you created the user name babs72 which did not consist of the first or last name of their search.
2. A professional photo or a company logo is required for all online profiles. Do not try to edit a family photo. Available programs are great but it will never look professional. Your personal image or company logo are your opportunity to create a positive first impression. Exude professionalism, confidence and SMILE. Make it good!
3. What is your brand? Establishing a personal brand or company brand is essential to your online profile and key to successful marketing. A genuine and authentic brand with a consistent message will establish a significant visibility and shared recognition. Oprah, Richard Branson, Starbucks, Apple and Nike are clearly recognized around the world. An excellent example of how not to create a brand is Tiger Woods.
4. In addition to your brand, your online profile should feature a tagline. A brand statement that sums up who you are, what differentiates you from everyone else and what makes you a valuable contact. “Entices more customers to buy more product more often for more money” or “The human spirit drives everything that I do” ~ Oprah
5. The more information or content you share, the more credibility you lend to your online profile. It must be professional and accurate. The content must be consistent on all online profiles and free from any spelling or grammatical errors. Be sure to highlight your achievements, display certifications, degrees, awards and include special recognition.
6. Keep your online profiles updated. Do not let your photo, job history or education become outdated. Most online sites offer quick and easy access to update your status which should be utilized on a regular basis as many display the last date that you generated any activity. It will be difficult maintain the credibility of your profile if it is outdated or you have not been active for the past six months.
7. Ask for testimonials! Posting testimonials on your online profile is your chance to let others brag about you. Some online sites offer secure measures which assure authenticity but for those that don’t, be sure to add the person’s full name, title and possibly a company name for validation.
8. Networking, make it personal. Online sites are all about building your network and with a simple press of a button and a forwarded canned invitation, you will find it easy to connect with total strangers and lots of them. In order to maintain a reputable online profile, do not send the canned message and do not connect with strangers. Include in your invitation, how you found them or how you know them, why you want to connect with them and most importantly, why they should connect with you. The value of networking is not in the number of connections you have but in who those connections.
9. Add links in your online profile to your website, your blog and other online profiles. Take advantage of the many applications offered, usually found under settings to add status updates from other sites, share your favourite books on Amazon, add SlideShare, post a video.
10. Share your expertise by joining groups and contributing to discussions. If you believe their is a need for a group representing your industry or interests and you will invest the time to monitor members and discussions, create your own!