Archive for July, 2009

Maximizing Your On-Line Identity

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Yesterday I was fortunate to participate in an ACPI professionals telephone and web-based meeting on the subject of maximizing your on-line presence through social networking sites. The topic and speaker were organized by Jack Chapman, a very well respected expert in the field of salary negotiation, who invited Shama Hyder, the author of a book called The Zen of Social Media Marketing, which you can find on her web site.

Program participants included active Twitter-ers, avid Facebook “Friends” and highly Linkedin, as well as those who were interested, but hesitant novices. Our expert guide helped us sort through the differences between each of three major social networking vehicles. In the dynamic hour conversation we explored the efficacy and etiquette of on-line identities. And, we shared views on uses, advantages and concerns. As professionals who advise our clients on career issues, we were particularly focused on privacy verses public sharing, and the how to merge commercial and social connections appropriately.

Here are some of Shama’s tips:

Understand the distinctions between and best use of each vehicle.

Facebook is like a coffeehouse where you meet, seek out, connect with, and enjoy your fans, friends and acquaintances. In this context personal stories, requests for advice, congratulations, updates, family pictures and life events and updates are appreciated and expected;

LinkedIn is more of a global business search engine, where participants converse about professional issues, inquire about business solutions and share ideas and trends, join special interest professional groups, get and give business and work leads, provide recommendations, promote your expertise and elicit introductions to other professionals;

Twitter as a global human search engine providing access to immediate information about those you follow. In addition, it has become a resource for real-time news, publicity and even political events. And it is becoming the go-to place for the media to learn real time what is happening around the world.

We had a lively dialogue about what and how much to share on these sites. While everyone has a different sense of what a “friend” is and a varied interest in sharing and reading about daily activities, we all agreed that professional and personal are increasingly intertwined: who you are as a person is important to business associates. While we used to keep these two sides of ourselves totally separate, we now find that family, interests, travel, and avocations add texture to one’s professional impression….and create the differentiation, ongoing real time visibility, engagement and impact critical to business success. Being able to update and inform business associates and personal connections provides efficient and current top of mind awareness and opportunities to interact.

Shama has a wonderful acronym (BOD) to guide us in how we decide whom to connect with, what, how much to share, and the content of our profiles, pictures, notes, comments and twitters.

B-is for brand which should be summed up in a short phrase that is supported and reinforced in each of your communications
O-is for outcome or the value you represent
D- is for differentiation or how you stand out

Bottom line: Social Networking is becoming increasingly important in our personal and professional lives. Be thoughtful and intentional about what you say, pictures you place on your wall, updates you place, comments you make. Don’t put anything on-line you would not want a stranger to know. You want to be consistent with your professional ethics and cautious about attracting attention that might compromise your reputation, image or attract  spam….or even criminal behavior.

Remember, the personal on the internet is public and permanent.