How often should you update your social media profiles? I just did a walk through our offices and reminded all the employees that they need to go to LinkedIn and update their profiles. Several looked at me blankly, one even said to me, “Am I supposed to have a profile?” I nodded patiently and said in my normal, playfully acerbic tone, “Yes, you need to have a LinkedIn profile.” She looked at the others around the room as if I had chopped her head off.
It is easy for me to forget that not everyone has had a profile for five years. Not everyone thinks regular updates and profile maintenance are necessary. I do and my co-workers know that I do. In a busy, growing company, LinkedIn and other professional networks have served as a great help in my efforts to recruit for or promote my company and understand everyone’s position and how I can help them, how they can help me.
LinkedIn is the ultimate professional networking tool, even with its constant updates and changes. I also have a profile on Plaxo – which I like to describe as a cross-breed of Facebook and LinkedIn with some pretty cool tools built in – like their birthday calendar. I love sending eCards to professional connections; it is a great way to let someone know you are thinking of them and another way to maintain inactive or passive relationships. You never know when an inactive relationship will blossom into a full-blown active one.
And there are other online networking profiles floating around out there. My personal social media philosophy has always been: There are an awful lot of details available about you on the internet- take control of your online persona and have what YOU control be the dominating sources, the highest ranked listings in a Google search about you. I cannot stress enough the importance of knowing what is out there about you. Go to pipl.com, type your name into the search bar and see what comes up about you. The listings of personal information are all available on line. Next go to Google and type in your name in the search bar, but search in "images." Other surprises await you. Information you put out about yourself online is all cached somewhere and is retrievable.
Be careful and be in control.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I have always been a huge proponent of having an open Facebook. I use it for business and professional networking, so I want people to be able to find me and feel free to contact me. But I also like feeling secure and until recently, I have always felt secure online. That was no longer true after a few harassing emails and messages through Facebook and other networks. I changed my privacy settings on Facebook and now avidly block followers on Twitter. I have also closed my Facebook chat function. Why? Because I want to continue to use social media in my work and just like any other tool, there are evolving rules regarding its use.
I choose to evolve with the rules.