Why should you be interested in something like reputation management? Well, like it or not, you already have an online reputation. Don’t believe me? Jump online and Google your name and see what comes up.
This is important because?
In this digital age, how you appear to the rest of the world can have a huge impact on your ability to make a living.
Current estimates are by the year 2020, 50% of the US workforce will be Freelancers or independent contractors (http://bit.ly/2xkEfmi ). Further, futurist Thomas Frey, predicts 47% of existing jobs will disappear by 2030 ( http://bit.ly/2w4whhN ). This means there is a 1 out of 2 chance you will be changing careers in the next 12 years. Where do you think employers go to check out people they are going to hire
- “80% of divorce lawyers use Facebook to find evidence.
- 65% of recruiters frown on job seekers who frequently use profanity in social media.
- 68% of hiring managers have decided to hire a candidate because of something they saw on social media.”
My point is simple. If you know people are going to check you out online, shouldn’t you try to put your best foot forward?
Reputation management can also be called personal branding. It began to rise in popularity among corporate executives in the early 2000’s. As more and more people become Freelancers, they are discovering the importance of promoting themselves as a brand. In the new gig economy, you are responsible for directing your own career. Social media gives you the opportunity to do just that.
So, How do I do it?
If you are a Freelancer (or are thinking about becoming one), the first thing you have to realize is you are the product. So, ask yourself, “What do I want to be known for?”
- What is your area of expertise?
- Who do you want to work for? (Your target audience)
- What type of projects are you interested in?
Once you have answered those questions, you can begin to tell your story. Yes, you have a story. When you go to work for your clients as a Freelancer, you have a unique promise of value you’re going to deliver. That’s what you need to communicate.
The Story of You
There many channels available to tell your story. Here’s a list of the most popular:
- Blog Posting
Depending on which one (or more) of these you choose will depend on your target audience.
If you intend to become a recognized expert in your chosen field, blog posting is an excellent way to promote yourself. Blogs come in many varieties and range from free to relatively inexpensive. You can also publish blog posts in a range of other social media platforms using a media manager such as HootSuite.
Facebook is another way for you to reach your target audience. FaceBook started out as a way for people to stay in touch with one another. Now it has morphed into a platform you can use to inform and entertain your target audience. A word of caution here. There is a lot of trash on Facebook. You will need to monitor your account daily to remove any questionable posts that may pop up.
In my opinion, LinkedIn is the best channel for connecting with other professionals. LinkedIn is based on the idea that by connecting with friends (1st Level) you also have access to friends of friends (2nd Level). You can also join groups with subscribers of similar interests. For instance, I belong to a group called the Personal Branding Network that has over 19,000 members. Now there’s a great target audience.
Twitter is also a great way to connect with a target audience. You can also use it to send links to your blog posts, Facebook and LinkedIn posts.
Telling the “Story of You” is growing in importance and will continue to grow over the years. Positive management of the way you appear in the online world will be critical to your success. One more thing you need to do is to be consistent. Keep your communications and posts on message for your area of expertise. For instance, if you are an accountant, stick to articles about accounting. Don’t wander off with articles about growing orchids.
Above all, start today to manage your personal brand online. Choose how you are going to tell your story. Do it well, and you will reap huge rewards in the future.
P.S. I am starting a new website that will teach people about personal branding. If this is a topic you’d like to learn more about, please let me know by posting a comment on this post.