Are you on Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? LinkedIn? Do you have any blogs, or produce content that is found online? If the answer to any of those questions is a resounding ‘yes’, you have a digital profile.
A digital profile is essentially how we present ourselves online. It’s our comments, photos, social media profiles; it’s how we interact with people, it’s what we share, like or re-tweet. And it’s hard to ignore, even if we really want to, but we all have one.
We know that this idea can make people nervous, and they’ll try and deny its importance. And with the internet as complex and overwhelming as it is, it’s understandable why. This denial is especially true when it comes digital professional profiles, with many of us downplaying the digital presence in our professional lives. But with digital being as prominent as it is in the professional world – especially B2B and B2C companies – it’s hard to downplay this convincingly. This is why we believe that managing our digital professional profiles is more important than ever and something that we can no longer bury our head in the sand about.
So, with that in mind, here are 6 arguments for why you should definitely manage your digital professional profile. To help you on your way, we’ve also thrown in some best practice tips to help make your profile as engaging as it can be.
Our digital presence is bigger than ever
According to Oberlo, recent statistics claim that there are 4.66 billion internet users. That’s 59.5% of the population. When it comes to social media users, the statistics say there are 3.78 billion, which is roughly 48% of the population. With statistics like this, we can’t deny: we are in a digital age. And whether we use the internet to find jobs, share content, connect with colleagues and peers, or research – it is a big part of our professional lives.
With that being the case, it’s most likely we are interacting with people in many different ways as part of our jobs. So, isn’t it best to try and make sure you put your best self out there in as safe and sensible a way as possible?
LinkedIn is now becoming a major player in job seeking, with over 15 million open job listings. But I hear you thinking ‘but I don’t use it as part of job hunting’, and that may be true. But we have to accept that employees and recruiters do. Robert Walters released a report that claims that 64% of hiring mangers have used a social media network profiles during the recruitment process (whether they think it’s appropriate or not!). We shouldn’t ignore this. It also states that they are more likely to use LinkedIn, so keep this in mind when you are applying for jobs. You may not think it’s important, but the hiring managers do.
Really, it’s all about making a first impression, or at least building on a first impression (see next point). It’s also a way of showcasing your credibility. This is why LinkedIn now highly recommends posting long-form content and engaging in conversations – it’s a way of showing your expertise in your area. It might be a hard pill to swallow, but this is how we make impressions of people now, especially in the professional world.
We don’t really network in person anymore. With more and more digital events popping up, networking is currently predominantly a digital exercise. We now often follow up on LinkedIn rather than email, so our digital profile is a way of extending that first connection. If the event was digital, it may be that you didn’t have as much in-depth chat as you may have done in person, so your digital profile plays an important part in portraying your personality, achievements and passions. It’s way of allowing them to get to know you.
If you’ve had a digital profile for a while, or are building one from scratch – it’s important to think very carefully about the content you post and the comments you make. Though they can be deleted, once they are spotted, they immediately make an impression on someone. Though it seems unfair, people have lost their jobs to tweets or comments they may have made on social media no matter their intention (read the eye-opening book So You’ve been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson if you want to know more), so it’s important to understand what content is appropriate and what isn’t, and how that can impact your professional image.
When building a digital professional profile, it’s important to know how to protect your data. It can be leaked as innocently as sharing a workplace photo which happens to have a sensitive email displayed on a screen in the background. This is a side which is often daunting to people, but there are easy tips out there to make sure your data is protected, and are well worth a look.
Managing your profile and building your profile are two tasks with the same aim – making sure you are portraying yourself as you want to be seen online. Try out these four tips to help build an engaging profile.
Think about your target audience, what do they care about, what are their challenges, where can you use your expertise to share relevant and helpful information?
One post a day is the recommendation, definitely no more than two. But in order to add value and build your credibility, don’t just post but explain why the content is useful to your audience. Your perspective is what will set you apart.
You can also use relevant hashtags or tag people in your post – both great ways to expand who sees your content.
Posting is all well and good, but it’s social media, so you need to make sure you’re talking to the right people, and engaging with them. You can do this by joining groups – the easiest and quickest way to find the right audience online – or commenting on others’ posts, which will raise your visibility to a wider network. But make sure to communicate value in your comments, you can read more about the art of commenting here.
Finally, what does your profile say about you? Think about your target audience. Does your profile help to give them confidence that you are credible:
So, we’ve thrown a lot of information at you. But if you’re convinced and are now eager to discover how to manage your digital profile, we can’t recommend our course How To Manage your Digital Professional Profile enough. It’s one of our best-selling courses and with the world as digital as it is, it’s easy to understand why.
Whilst you’re there, have a look at our Personal Brand course too. The courses go hand in hand, like two peas in a pod.