Everyone should focus on basic, social media hygiene. Most of us spend time on the right clothes and make-up, but when it comes to social media presence, we can be a mess. Why is that important? You want to control what people learn about you and not have others dictate how you’re viewed. Here’s one example: I was meeting with the head of digital marketing for one of the big publishing houses — that’s right, the head of digital marketing — and she paid absolutely no attention to her own on-line presence. That is, when I googled her (as we all usually do before we meet someone), the first thing that came up on the search results was a post written by someone saying she was a poor speaker (I’m being nice here; the post was a lot worse).
How do you avoid that? Here are a few rules for basic social media hygiene:
1. Reserve your domain name; that is, I’ve reserved susandanziger.com. You can do it easily on Godaddy or a similar such service (note that I don’t endorse them, particularly given the way women are depicted on their site, but I’m not as familiar with other such services). Google seems to highly value what’s in the domain name so chances are if you reserve your own domain name, whatever you do at that domain will be what people see first when they do a search of you.
2. Start a blog. I use Tumblr (full disclosure, Albert’s company is an investor), but you can also use Wordpress or another such service. Instead of using a Tumblr domain name, I use susandanziger.com and hook it up to my Tumblr. That way, if ever I decide to change services, I can easily do it. Albert blogs every day. Admittedly, I’m not as committed as he is, although I’m getting better. The more you blog, the more body of work will be associated with your on-line presence. And the more people will see what you write rather than what others write about you.
3. Reserve your Twitter handle. I have @susandanziger but you can also choose a pseudonym as well. Our kids, for instance, use their own made-up handles. In either case, I’d recommend you be consistent in the name you use so that you can start to build a name for yourself online. If you’re not comfortable using Twitter, begin by following how others you respect use it — or how people in your field are using it. I’ve heard that tweeting 4-6 times a day is a good target number.
4. Get a LinkedIn Account, fill out your basic information, and start connecting with people you know. I’m at Linkedin here (OK, I now realize I need to work on my own profile).
5. Finally, make sure you are the one reserving your name — and not that of an assistant or friend. You want to control your accounts with your own email addresses and passwords. I’ve heard of nightmares where assistants have reserved domain names and Twitter handles using their own email addresses and when they left for another position, they took the accounts with them.
I realize there are other important services out there we should probably all be on — Pinterest, Instagram, even SnapChat — but at least the list above is a start. And, of course, there’s always Facebook.