Aah, the joys of social media. When you have a professional role, there are lots of things to think about, and your image across various platforms is one of them. No, we’re not talking about your actual image (although sure, you may want to get a haircut once in a while) we’re talking about how you’re perceived online, and as a result, within your community and profession. When it comes to protecting your reputation on the web, you need to follow a few steps, to make sure that you don’t cause yourself any trouble, and we’ve noted down a few easy ways that you can do this here.
Be careful what you tweet
Oh, Twitter. How we all love to have a little rant here and there, and how heated it can sometimes get when a disagreement arises. But as many professionals (and famous people) will tell you, those old tweets can come back around and haunt you. If you want to keep your reputation as clean as a whistle, make sure you’re not tweeting about anything that you wouldn’t say in a professional environment. Sure, you can tweet about how much you love eating cheese over the Christmas period, and nobody will hold it against you, but don’t tweet about how much you want to hit your neighbor with a baseball bat because of his loud music. It doesn’t look good.
On sites such as Facebook and Instagram, your friends have the ability to tag you in pictures, which isn’t great news for your privacy. The issue here is that they probably find it hilarious that you got your arm stuck in a vending machine whilst you were steaming drunk, but your potential clients probably won’t. In fact, they will be quite worried about giving you their money if they see that you’re an off-the-rails individual where Instagram is concerned. Do yourself a favor, and keep these pictures between you and your buddies. The last thing that you want is for everybody to be asking you what happened on that night, especially when you can’t even remember.
Google yourself, and remove what isn’t too good
Ok, so it may sound like Googling yourself is a strange concept, especially if you’re not exactly, you know, Britney Spears. However, if you’re part of a big business or you have a large social media following, you’re going to have to say goodbye to anything that may not bode too well when it comes to your reputation, and Google is a good place to start. Whilst many images on the search engine don’t belong to them (as they don’t own the sites), there are still ways that you can get around it if Google won’t remove an image. You can get in touch with whoever runs the website, or you can try a method like suppression if they’re not willing to budge and Google won’t help.
Keep things set to private
Sure, you may feel like you should share some of your personal life online, but make a distinction between the personal and professional where you can. If there are some things you’d rather share with close friends and family, then have a Facebook account set to private, and separate it from all of your other public accounts. You don’t have to use your company accounts to share your own private thoughts (keep them business), and you can even use a different name for your personal ones if you only want to keep things between you and your loved ones. Take some time to secure your social media, and your other online profiles, too. You won’t regret it when you’ve saved your reputation.
Store Data Securely
There are various types of data that you don’t want cyber criminals to access. They could be professional or personal. Either way, you need to make sure you’re operating responsibly online and storing data securely. For work, use a VPN chrome extension. For personal files, you may want to use cloud storage.
There are many ways to protect your reputation online, and one of them is being careful about what you tweet. Instead of going all out and writing what first comes to mind, take a moment to reflect on whether it is necessary, and whether it will damage your reputation. You can also untag yourself from any unprofessional photos, and remove pictures from Google if you don’t want them to be the first thing that people see. Lastly, set some accounts to private, and keep the information there between friends. This will help you to separate the personal and the professional.
Whatever you decide to do, your reputation is greatly important as a professional, and is something that you should take seriously if you want to be successful. Follow these simple tips if you want to make sure that it’s the best it can be, and that you have a reputation that precedes you (a good one, that is…).