How you present yourself in person should always mirror how you present yourself online. Maintaining a professional reputation will always lead to more opportunities. Your image, voice, and career greatly impact your online presence. Having great character, professionalism, and integrity always leads to a great digital reputation.
What Is a Digital Reputation?
In person, a reputation is the amount of credibility that you have in regard to any manner of things. If your client gives you a surprise deadline that you meet, that builds your reputation of being dependable. If your bosses know you are reliable, and can be counted on when someone calls out sick, then you have a great reputation at your job. If your landlord knows that you always pay rent on time, then you have built a reputation for yourself.
What about on the internet? What constitutes a digital reputation?
In the world of online business, your digital reputation is key when it comes to finding more work. It is even more important when the work you conduct is freelance work. Clients do not have the opportunity to meet you in person, get an idea of who you are, and they do not have any insight to who you are online besides what they can find. The only thing standing between you and your next project is your digital reputation.
Our world is very visual. When clients see images of us that are not professional, issues may arise. Your image is not only how you present yourself in a profile picture, but also the pictures in your history, the posts on your timeline, and anything that you publicly "like" or comment on in social media. If you project yourself to be a business professional, your entire online presence must reflect that. Your image concerns not only your photos online, but also include images that may appear while viewing social media accounts. Consider every method a potential client can view images on your page, and correct accordingly.
Tips to Improve Your Image
- Have a professional profile picture on goLance or any other freelance site. It doesn't have to be taken by a professional photographer. Simply have a picture of yourself in business attire, focusing on your shoulders up. Remember to smile.
- Maintain the images in your personal social media. If you don't want to include your social media, you'll need to keep it on private. Whether your account is private or not, there are ways to view it, so keep this in mind.
- Clean up your social media accounts. Keep only relevant friends and images on your pages.
Within the online world, everything that you type becomes your voice. Do you want to exude confidence, prose, and a professional attitude? Or would you rather hold on to your Facebook post about that time your bank account was mistakenly overdrawn by that expletive deleted bank of yours? What you write on the internet can be seen worldwide. If you're entering a remote workplace, being available becomes one of the top concerns for clients. Would you hesitate if your next client asked for your Facebook? What about your Twitter? Of all the places you present yourself, LinkedIn should be the cleanest and most professional, but every other social media account should be held to the same standard.
One the biggest factors that will influence your life will be your friends. Who you associate with in person has the same impact as who you associate with online.
Having friends that do not contribute to your digital reputation is OK, but you shouldn't have friends that make matters worse.
Friends on social media that share inappropriate content to your page, use offensive or explicit language, or even tag you in an unprofessional post should all be handled. Friends can stay friends, but they should all know not to post inappropriate material on your page. As a worst case scenario, you can opt to approve posts to your pages or remove these friends entirely.
Your interactions should be with other professionals. What do you stand to gain from one-way friendships?
Some friends can change your decisions and veer you off track, while others can help you along your journey. Whom do you choose?
Your career will greatly influence your digital reputation. Past clients and your attitude towards them may impact your ability to find gainful employment or to be considered for freelance projects.
Things happen within our careers that are sometimes out of our control. Professionalism relates to how we handle these events. No one enjoys or prefers to be fired, but it happens. Move on and better yourself. Being fired happens for many reasons that shouldn't be scrutinized. Don't make situations worse by lashing out on every social media channel that you have against the company, or by encouraging others to leave bad comments and reviews.
The beneficial side to your career is that with every commendable action or project, your digital reputation will excel and build. Potential clients love to read positive reviews and feedback on the work that you've performed. Even interactions appearing on social media after a contract has ended, will be a plus for you. Stay in contact with your previous clients, let the world know you're on good terms with them, and other clients will build trust in you.
Your Reputation is Always at Stake
Sometimes we relax and post things of Facebook or Twitter that are really bugging us. Its OK, you're allowed to do that. What should be considered, is that your digital reputation is built on everything you do online: all of the time. If you posted a hateful review on Amazon, someone will find it and hold it against you. If you posted a comment about a very political issue, you bet your next client will judge you about your response. It isn't the action of commenting or reviewing, but the manner in which you voice your opinion or thoughts. Maintain clear and concise language, and refrain from insults and explicit wording. If you can handle every issue online in a professional manner, then you will help build your reputation, not destroy it.
If you have any questions concerning your own digital reputation, please leave us a comment and we will gladly help you to achieve your goals.
Thank you for working with us!