I am very happy to be hosting Donna Fitch as a Guest writer today. She is an expert with technology and shares some valuable tips we can put into practice to enhance our online presence. Donna is able to take some of the fear factor out of technology.
By: Donna Fitch (Guest Post)
These days, so much of your reputation is made by your online presence. Potential employers or new acquaintances often determine their opinion of you by what they find through a Google search. Make sure that those search results are the best they can be by taking control of your online presence rather than passively allowing random results to define you. Here are the important areas to perfect:
Your website provides a central place to go for information about you that you want online visitors to know. You don’t have to spend a lot of money or have extensive knowledge to procure and maintain a website. Setting up a blog on WordPress.com is one way to have a professional-looking site for free. A regularly updated blog not only provides a glimpse into your personality, but gives Google more information about you to show up in search results. That might sound a bit scary, but you want to appear as often as possible in Google search results.
LinkedIn is a great place to grow your network of contacts. Potential employers can find out more about you, and you can shape your professional image. The most important task you have on LinkedIn is to make sure your profile is complete and perfect. Link your blog to your profile so people can read more about you. Take advantage of the custom URL feature. Tailor your headline to the position your wish to have, or the title by which you wish to be known. Include all experience you have, and don’t forget to list volunteer experiences. All these items in your profile enable the visitor to see all facets of your professional life.
Facebook can be problematic. If you already have a Facebook account, you may be using it to communicate with your children and grandchildren, or having fun playing games, all of which are fine, but not necessarily what you want a potential employer or client to see. If you have a business or clientele you’re building, you may wish to procure a Facebook business page as well, where you show your professional side. If you stay with a single account, use the extensive privacy settings to separate your business-related posts and shares from your personal ones. Be sure your profile is complete and includes a link to your blog.
Twitter use is growing exponentially. You may find it challenging to limit your message to 140 characters, but it’s an excellent way for people online to find out more about you and your expertise. Be sure you claim a Twitter handle that fits you and the reputation you’re cultivating. Your profile should match your other online accounts, and should include links to those as well. A background image further enhances what you’re conveying about yourself; there are many free sites that provide you with lovely images for a Twitter profile background.
While Google+ doesn’t have as many participants as Facebook, you should not overlook it. People often feel it’s just one more social media site to maintain, but its importance is in the name: Google. Regular engagement with Google+ is vital for your search results. One of my favorite introductions to the site is called Learn How to Use Google Plus: A Beginner’s Guide. Read it, and you’ll be sold on what Google+ can do.
I’ve barely scratched the surface of the ways to control your online presence. If you start out with these elements, though, you’ll improve your Google search results as well as your online reputation. The key is to be intentional about what you post, and to look upon it not as a chore, but as a chance to develop relationships with others. You never know what chance encounter on LinkedIn or your blog will completely change your life.
Donna K. Fitch, Master of Library Science, Master’s Certificate in Web Design and Development, is the founder and CEO of Maximum Author Impact, creating beautiful WordPress websites, training webinars and other resources for indie authors. She is the independent author of Second Death, The Source of Lightning, and The Color of Darkness and Other Stories, and a long-time member of the Horror Writers Association. In her day job, she is the digital communication specialist in the office of marketing and communication at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, USA.