[easy-social-share buttons=”facebook,twitter,pinterest,print,mail” counters=1 total_counter_pos=”left” style=”button”]

Social media is an integral part of business. Consider this: In the mindset of a potential client, who would you prefer to buy from? Someone who has a positive online brand image or one that has a poor one … or worse, none at all. The same holds true for potential employers. It’s a reality that people have lost jobs because of their online persona.

It’s vital that those on social media make an effort for developing their Professional Online Presence (POP).

Here’s five ways you can start today.

#5 - Define Your Online Identity

iStock 73553249 SMALL - 5 Ways To Establish A Professional Online Identity

This is critical, as it will determine your personal brand.  Determine if you want to use your own name, and if you do, if you want to use your background as well (ie: PR).  For those with common names, consider how you may want to distinguish yourself.  There are free tools, such as namechk.com or knowem.com to determine if the brand you created is already in use. Once you’ve settled on a brand, protect your investment and purchase its domain name. (This typically costs less than $10/year)

#4 - Create Social Media Accounts Using Personalized URLs

iStock 84956023 SMALL - 5 Ways To Establish A Professional Online Identity

Using such platforms as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, start creating your social media presence.  Include an appropriate headshot photo.   A professional headshot photo cannot be underestimated.  It’s the first, and often, only visual perception people have of you.  Keep these sites professional.  Personalized URL’s ensure that, as potential clients/employers, research your name, you know exactly what they will find in their search engines.

#3 - Develop Content As An Industry Authority

iStock 72629281 SMALL - 5 Ways To Establish A Professional Online Identity

No one knows more about your industry than you … right?  Share your industry knowledge, trends and insights using LinkedIn Pulse.  Also, you can utilize WordPress, a free website / blog publishing content management system.   Your posted content can then be shared on your social media channels.  Bonus Tip: You can even use Google Alert to receive daily news updates on your particular topic of interest.

#2 - Promote Your Content

iStock 90335657 SMALL - 5 Ways To Establish A Professional Online Identity

Produce quality content and share it across your social media channel.  Remember, your audience interacts with each social channel differently.  If you post on LinkedIn, lead with strong industry insights as users are seeking valued content.  You can then share the same post to Facebook but be mindful that the same user interacting on Facebook isn’t looking for in-depth content while engaging with friends.  Pinterest is a breakout social network that is constantly delivering value content; especially in infographic format.

#1 - Promote Your Brand (You Are The Brand)

iStock 73524545 SMALL - 5 Ways To Establish A Professional Online Identity

This is the single most overlooked step.  You’re not just a business owner or employee.  You’re a brand unto itself.  When developing a professional online presence, both online and offline marketing should complement each other.  Include a personalized URL on your business cards and resumes, as well as all appropriate email addresses.  Always include a professional headshot photo.  You only have one opportunity to make a great first impression.

[easy-social-share buttons=”facebook,twitter,pinterest,linkedin,print,mail” counters=0 style=”button”]