Have you ever Googled yourself?
I believe the majority of readers will nod knowingly, but if you haven’t done it before, you should try it. You will probably find a few unrelated search results and then depending on how common your name is you should start finding results related to you. For instance when I Google “Anna Bryson” the first few results are for a politician that I happen to share a name with, but as I scroll down I find my out-of-date blog from college and a post from a Google social network about building snowmen. That is just from the first page. I click on to the Images and I immediately spot my photo from my LinkedIn profile.Don’t see yourself yet?
Get more specific. Try adding your middle initial or your hometown. The hometown does the trick for me and the entire first page is covered with my personal social media profiles, news articles that I have been quoted in, and even several articles from music competitions dating all the way back to high school. I am relieved to find that from this basic search other than a very badly formatted blog, nothing too embarrassing shows up. That said my online presence should be better and more up to date. – More on that later.Why does a search like this matter?
I spend nearly half of my time at work optimizing clients for the web. Now this usually entails an entire company rather than an individual, but I feel compelled to emphasize how important it is not to neglect your own personal name. You are your own brand.
(Shout out to my Public Relations background
) No matter what your profession is it is essential to protect your own personal brand. Who is Googling you?
Anyone, everyone, and you mother. You had better believe that someone has searched for you online. Your boss is searching, your colleagues, your potential clients, and the random person you meet at the coffee shop. People are curious and it is easier than ever to get answers. It is your
responsibility to make sure that the answers people get reflect you in a positive light.
Steps to take to build a positive personal brand online
- Take control! Building a positive brand online is much easier than cleaning up a negative one.
- Build your online brand by defining yourself! Ask yourself some basic questions.
When creating your social profiles put your name in your URL and handleKeep your existing profiles up to date and remove profiles that you no longer use.Become the authority on you and your brand. Imagine what you want people to find online when they search for you and then put it online. Create a blog and write about your field of expertise. Check privacy settings on all of your social networking profiles. Be sure to read the fine print and hide, or better yet, don’t post things you don’t want to be publicly seen. REMEMBER: The things you share online are like a tattoo, they are permanent and painfully difficult to remove.Be mindful of what you post on other peoples profiles and websites. Do you have a major problem with your cable company? Think twice before blasting them online because once you post it those words will forever be associated with you. Most importantly, nurture your online presence! Feed it with healthy information, keep the junk out and be sure to have fun!
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- How do you want others to see you?
There is a lot to cover on this subject, so if your question wasn’t answered PLEASE
post it in our comments section and we will be sure to address it.