If you use social media for personal or professional branding, make sure you take a tour of your accounts — and do it soon.
We’re getting dangerously close to the end of January. It’s that time of year when you can still almost get away with saying “Happy New Year!” if you’re seeing an old friend for the first time in a long spell — but otherwise, everyone has moved on. At this point, in the back nine of the month, it’s no longer kosher to accidentally date your checks with the previous year (if you even write checks anymore).
This is a perfect time, then, to motivate yourself to make sure your social media accounts aren’t living in 2015 with 2014 content.
This is especially important to anyone who:
- Owns a business, whether that means freelancing or running a large exporting company
- Works in a field in which staying connected is critical
- Has professional contacts to keep up with
- Has just started a new job
- Is trying to find a new job
- Works on personal branding, whether it’s for self-expression, for career or business purposes, or to stay in touch with a specific community (other parents, other runners, other Flamenco guitar players, yogis, fans of Cubist art, etc.)
Think of this as a quick oil change to keep your accounts well-lubricated in that social media branding kind of way.
Take a little social media tour . . . of yourself
Take a tour of your bio or “about” sections on all your social media accounts:
- Is the information still accurate overall?
- Is your contact info up-to-date in case anyone wants to reach you?
- Are you still listing an old employer?
- Is your photo fresh, or is it a badly cropped number from a party that took place a decade ago? It’s important to have a photo you feel good about! I recommend spending the money to get one professionally taken for career sites such as LinkedIn, so that you feel good about your presence there — that, in turn, helps you to feel confident and enthusiastic about sharing your passions and skills.
Here are some of the obvious accounts to check:
- LinkedIn (and Quora, if you’re on it)
- Facebook (and Ello, if you’re an early adopter and got on this site last year when it was a media darling)
- Dating sites
- Any niche/special interest networks you’re connected to
I can’t say enough about how critical this is if you’ve recently changed jobs — especially if you own a business, hold a high-profile role or work in communications.
Less obvious, but still requiring attention:
- YouTube and Vimeo
- Instagram and Vine
- Flickr and other photo sites
- Blogging sites such as Medium, WordPress.com, Blogger, Typepad, etc.
And, though not technically social networking sites, don’t forget:
- Your personal/business website, if you have one (or more)
- Your bio on your company’s or university’s website
- Email sig, both for your personal email and your work email
I could go on (!!), but this is a good place to start.
Apologies, but . . .
OK, so I’m sorry about the appearance of a slightly misleading headline. I said the “one thing” you need to do to keep your social media accounts in good order. But in my defense, this is technically one action: Updating your profile information — it’s just that in this day and age, so many of us are on so many sites that it can be overwhelming.
It doesn’t have to be, if we take the right attitude. When I work with clients one-on-one to set up their social media accounts, I try to highlight the benefits of having this much freedom in how we present ourselves. I consider it a gift that I can change my LinkedIn headline and summary at any time to highlight particular clients and industries and the start of new projects.
So, set aside a couple of hours one morning. Sit down with a cup of coffee or — my preferred — some hot chai and rather than see it as a chore, see it as a chance to tell the world your current, here-and-now story. You get to present yourself however you’d like — until you decide it all has to change again. Spring would be another great time to go through this list!
January 21, 2015
(Photo: I was geeked to take a guided tour last week of the North American International Auto Show before it opened to the public, thanks to the fine folks of the Columbia Alumni Association of Michigan. Even though I’ve lived in Michigan for a decade now , I’ve never attended NAIAS. I thought I was immune to liking high-end cars; I was wrong. The Jaguars took my breath away. These were cars that certainly need no tune-up!)