Sometimes we forget what the Internet is. It’s certainly not a place we meet our friends to have a private conversation. Neither it is anything near to a personal phone call. Or to have a coffee with your sister.

If you share a message on Facebook, only your friends – if you have all privacy settings on – are going to see it. But it can happen that they share your message or pics on their walls. Where there may be people watching it who know you, or who don’t.

So imagine you post that funny picture someone made when you were dancing like a crazy person. You all had so much fun that you HAVE to share on Facebook.

Online Reputation Management

Or imagine that you’re so angry at some politician’s speech, that you tweet your frustration before the last word was even spoken.

Or you share on Instagram that beautiful picture of the resort you’re staying after turning down that job because “you were going to work on a project for two weeks” – or that was your excuse.

Nice. Your social media profiles look just nice. And fun. Your friends are commenting on every pic. Just as you had expected.

Think about the first impression your potential customers get from your profile

Well, now imagine there’s a potential client who got impressed by your professional portfolio. He plans to hire you, but he’d like to make a social media check first. He wants to verify if you’re the person you’re saying you are, as he isn’t going to lose his money on some website he didn’t know before.

First, he’s impressed by your LinkedIn profile. ‘Cause you have a LinkedIn profile, right??

Then, he makes a search on Google and finds your Twitter profile. He doesn’t quite like how openly you take a political position, but he keeps on with his research.

Now, the problem comes when he arrives at your Facebook profile. And what does he see? Yep. You guessed it right. He discovers your party pic. With ALL comments underneath.

Manage your Online Reputation

That great first impression he gained from your resumΓ© is gone. All the work you had to dedicate to that website of yours, vanished. And the money you invested in making your portfolio look professional… Well, that’s more than forgotten now.

And that’s not how it was supposed to end, right? I mean, you don’t have to start deleting all pictures and posts you’ve ever shared. But, if you wanna start a business on the Internet, your online reputation should be one of your top priorities.

Your online actions are the only image people who find you online have from you. And you want it to be a positive first impression.

Now, don’t panic. At least he didn’t check your Instagram and find out how you were making fun of the customer who thought you were working on a bigger project πŸ˜‰

Three steps to plan and build your online presence

Protect your online reputation

You just have to make a couple of quick changes:

β™₯ Facebook
You can either open a professional profile with your brand’s name
Change the settings and make your Facebook profile only available to people you know. Be careful with those half-friends (half-customers / half-friends).
I’d personally go for the first option. You don’t have to accept any friendship request from potential customers. Just give them your professional profile.

β™₯ Twitter
Sharing both personal and professional tweets on Twitter is OK. However, if you’re using the same account for both types of tweets, make sure not to make any political, religious or offensive comments of any kind.
That you have an online business doesn’t mean that you have to agree with anyone, but make sure that your tone of voice matches your brand’s and, more importantly, that you show respect to other points of view. Otherwise, open a second Twitter account.

β™₯ Instagram
It’s very similar to Twitter in the sense that you can share both personal and professional posts, but take care of which pics you upload!

Protect your Online Image

β™₯ LinkedIn
I guess you don’t have many embarrassing – but funny – images here, but still, take a look and check whether your profile needs a revamp.
I don’t wanna hear you have no LinkedIn profile at all… Just create one. You have to be there. You’d learn to love it πŸ˜‰

β™₯ Google
Make a search for your name and your brand. Is there anything that shouldn’t be there? Can you make it disappear? Then you’d better do it quickly – You’ll need a couple of weeks or months to see the change!

It may sound a bit boring this having to think twice before posting, but the consequences otherwise can be disastrous for your online business. Sometimes, what throws a client back isn’t even an embarrassing picture. Maybe it’s just a pic of your kids or your lifestyle in general! And you don’t want potential clients to tell you how you want to live your life, do you?

Now… Are you really sure you wanna share that picture?

Alicia RG
xoxo - Born to Freelance
Born to Freelance