eReputation: What does your profile say about you?

20 May 2014

Since December 2013, UQ Connections has been an exclusively online publication which aims to keep our alumni informed in the age of immediacy.

As such, UQ Connections would like to present the digital editions; a short series of articles focussed around online conduct.

The third article has a focus on reputation management in the digital age and is centred on advice from three professionals who engage with social media in their everyday work lives.

Siena Perry, The Red Republic general manager, has had more than ten years of experience in communications and believes that her work can essentially be condensed into helping companies manage their reputation and public perception.

As the media landscape changes, however, Ms Perry has recognised that big companies and organisations are not alone in needing to manage their brand.

“Reputation management is a fundamental thing that applies to everyone now,” Ms Perry said.

“Everyone should be looking at their personal branding.”

Ms Perry suggests that the fundamental elements of building a positive reputation online are relationships, listening and purposefully shaping perceptions.

“There’s a lot that is said about what you shouldn’t do on social media,” Ms Perry said.

“While that advice is incredibly valid and it is something that we need to be reminded of, we should also consider the things we can do online that will reflect on us positively.”

Ms Perry’s first piece of advice is to decide what platforms you want to be public and what you want to be private.

As someone who is responsible for hiring, Ms Perry has stated that the first thing she does when she finds a potential recruit is to have a look at their Facebook profile.

“The ones that impress me most are the ones that have the highest privacy settings because it’s obvious that they know how to delineate the private and the public,” Ms Perry said.

“No one is saying that you have to be dry and professional over every single platform, but you should be aware of the image you are presenting across your different social media accounts.”

The second thing Ms Perry recommends is take advantage of the ability to network online.

“I encourage every single person I can to get a LinkedIn profile,” Ms Perry said.

“Use LinkedIn as if you are getting old school business cards and keeping them.”

In addition to networking, Ms Perry suggests that people should be open to ‘professional stalking’.

“You should know who the leaders are in the industries you are passionate about so follow these people on Twitter, read their blog, interact with them and ask questions,” Ms Perry said.

“If you can connect with someone on a medium like Twitter you can ask questions and they might just remember you.”

When considering building a reputation online, many people find themselves wondering what they can contribute.

With an overwhelming amount of content already available online, it is a daunting task to create something that will be seen as ‘worthwhile’.

Ms Perry suggests that many people are overthinking what it means to make a valuable contribution.

“You don’t need to come up with unique content that no one has ever thought of, you just need to be passionately curious about the world around you,” Ms Perry said.

“Take the pressure off yourself, look around, see what other people are finding interesting and share information.”

As was detailed in last week’s Digital Edition, listening and sharing ideas plays a valuable role in our digital society, and it is not one to be overlooked.

Someone with a great deal of experience in listening online is Lauren Stanton, Research & Sourcing Consultant for ANZ & Asia at Aurecon.

One of Ms Stanton’s roles within ANZ & Asia at Aurecon is dealing with “passive candidates”.

“Passive candidates aren’t applying for positions but they have a presence online so we can go out and approach them and see if they are interested in the role and get them in for an interview,” Ms Stanton said.

With employees actively searching online for the best people in their industry, having a solid online presence is very important.

Ms Stanton stated that 78 per cent of recruiters search for candidates online when screening applications and of that number, 35 per cent of recruiters have eliminated a candidate because of something they have found online.

Although these figures sound intimidating, when a recruiter searches your profile they are not necessarily looking for something incriminating.

“They might not be looking for anything bad; they might be trying to get an insight into your demeanour online, your background, your interests, that kind of thing,” Ms Stanton said.

Ms Stanton has some invaluable insight on understanding how to manage your online reputation.

“Google yourself, including an image search, so you’re aware of how much information is out there,”

To further this tip, Ms Stanton suggests setting up Google Alerts so you receive notifications when new information is put up about you.

The second piece of advice that Ms Stanton has mirrors Ms Perry’s recommendation and that is to be aware of your privacy settings across all of your social media accounts.

“It’s the old rule; if you’d be happy with your grandmother seeing it; it’s probably okay to be made public,” Ms Stanton said.

The key point that Ms Stanton made was to be proactive and manage the information that is already out there.

“Make the internet work for you; boost the positive information and bury the negatives,”

Ms Stanton states that a LinkedIn profile is one of the first results that will come up in a Google search and as such, it’s an important resource.

“Get that professional information about yourself out there and have it bumped to the top of the list,” Ms Stanton said.

“You don’t need to be pushing out a lot of content, you don’t need to have a blog; you just need to show you are relevant and that you understand the world around you.”

Nikki Bottger, Ten News Social Media Producer, believes that having an active social media presence is vital in the modern era.

“I would say 80 per cent of the social media work we do is on Twitter,” Ms Bottger said.

“I usually have to post every 10 minutes for the work Twitter account.”

Ms Bottger suggests that as an individual, you should try to post once or twice a day, but the most important element is consistency and maintaining your own voice.

“It shouldn’t be robot-like; you’re allowed to have a personality, you’re meant to have a personality and people interact better with your content if you do.”

Another important element of social media presence that Ms Bottger highlights is the importance of using your accounts.

Nearly 1 billion people have tried twitter, but currently only a quarter are 'active' users posting more than one tweet per month.

Actively using your social media accounts show that you are aware of what is going on, and more than that, you are involved in it.

Ms Bottger suggests that the best tool for managing and protecting your online identity is not posting anything inappropriate or offensive.

“I cannot stress this enough, think before you post. But remember, you still need to post!”