Every app, every news service, every online community requires a profile these days. Problem is, many of us sign up not thinking about what might happen if somebody did a “fly-by” and clicked on our profile. Maybe a potential student? A future Campus Director? What about a family member?
While monitoring my Twitter feed the other day, I clicked on a #FF (Follow Friday) link with my name on it and noticed that the link went back to my profile on HOMEGROWN.org. A run a small time blog on their site and my real blog(s) is registered with them, and from time to time I do a guest editorial there. Imagine my horror when I looked briefly at the profile and noticed a Facebook friendly link error? I am a professional social media manager, for heavens sake. A FB error? Seriously? I couldn’t get there fast enough to correct it.
That harrowing experience prompted me to visit all my other profile locations, and I noticed that my LinkedIn profile hadn’t been recently updated either. I had forgotten to match my “About Me” with my current job and responsibilities. Very awkward!
I consider myself a pretty careful person. I write a lot (maybe too much). But it got me wondering, do I really know what I look like online? Google Alerts, SocialMention, and the other listening tools I use don’t look at my profiles unless somebody makes a comment about them. So, I decided to keep better track of my own generated image, and put together a very short checklist.
1. Keep a list/file with URLs of all my online profiles.
2. Check every one, every month, and update.
3. Spell check every single profile post in Word. In places like LinkedIn, profiles can be elaborate and lengthy, but crucial. These are marketing venues. Make sure profiles are well-worded, professional and succinct.
4. Make sure all your online profiles have the same basic information. This sounds elementary, but unless you are a name as widely known as Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, you really need to present a branded image online. Same name, same URL, same tagline, same email, same logo, same phone number, everything. I even use the same avatars, but I know there is a lot of discussion about different avatars for more informal venues like Twitter or Facebook versus more formal presentations like resume sites and LinkedIn.
I’ve decided my online presence is too valuable to take lightly. Take time to make sure your online profiles are professional and engaging. So, how do you manage your online profile presence?