Friday, January 28, 2011

Brand Management…For YOU!

In the business world there is no shortage of great companies that work everyday to manage their public image: Apple, Sony, Southwest Airlines, & Whole Foods, just to name a few. While each of these companies provide either great products, great service or both, their positive public image did not happen by accident. Between positive interactions with customers, strategic events, online media and marketing, a positive image has molded around these organizations.
Why should your own public image be any different? As more and more companies depend on alternative sources of information through the hiring process, you should be concerned about the image you are portraying, intended or unintended. What message are you sending?

As an educational exercise, search for yourself using the search engine of your choice such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. For common names, you might need to place quotes around your “name” to limit your results or add a location. Look at what the results. You might find an article about you from High School where you participated in sporting events. There might be information on a blog about services you performed a local church or food bank. You might also find pictures from Spring Break where you got a little out-of-hand. There might information available through public record about an arrest or other indiscretion. How will this affect your ability to obtain a job?
There are a few things you should know. Over the last few years, the internet community has expended dramatically. In a structured agreement, Google is now working with Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites to index the items posted and list them on search engines. The more comments and “likes” you receive for a given post increases the likelihood of those items being found through a search. So, the hilarious picture of you in Cabo with your buddies is primed to receive a number of comments and likes and will be more easily found when searched. So, how do you better manage the messages you send?
First, your personal accounts on social media sites should be set to private and use a different email address than what you give to potential employers. This will help prevent some of these pesky images and inappropriate thoughts from finding their way to a potential employer or client. Search through the first few pages of Google results and determine what needs to managed out of those results.

Next, create your online, professional profile for business (see mine here). Who needs a professional profile? Anyone in business or anyone seeking employment in the future should have a professional profile setup separate from their personal profile. Just as you want to create brand awareness for your product, you want to make potential employers aware of your endeavors. Start by creating a new profile on Facebook. Tie the profile to a separate email account and find some new friends. Join up with other professional profiles of your peers, companies, and industry professionals.

Manage the message you send to potential employers by sharing items relevant to your chosen field of employment. Find articles and narratives of interest, share your thoughts on the topic and encourage others to interact on the subject. As you send out resumes, include your professional profile to encourage employers to find this information.
Your goal should be to not only prevent a negative image through online sources, but to create a positive reputation and image for your future.

Expert Social Media Marketing contact Internet Builder Consulting

Kansas City Office 816-842-7774

Article by Steve Bertasso with contributions by Robert 'Dot Com' Jackson

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