A hot topic in the Pacific Northwest revolves around businesses and individuals carbon footprints. While personally I have a relatively low carbon footprint my digital footprint, with relation to social media, is another story. As I was reading a blog post, passed along to me via Mack Collier on students leveraging social media for a job, I couldn’t help but think of personal branding and the importance of your digital footprint. Their are several ways we can enhance or hinder our digital footprint. I’ll be going over the top three best and worst ways to affect it.
Best Way to HINDER Your Digital Footprint
#3) Lying on Profiles
I’ve heard countless stories of individuals who created a Myspace or Facebook page using false information. Some of incidents I’ve encountered include putting single (when actually married), a different employer then the one you’re currently working for, and incorrect vital information. In the end companies are getting smarter and doing their homework prior to engaging in business. Having your credit score checked has now been replaced with doing a Google search. You have to expect that these profiles will come up and companies will look at them. The information you put up on your social media profiles can either help or hinder you.
#2) Tagging Photos
It seems to be part of my generation’s reputation that you must have a least one photo of you drunk on your social media profiles. The only photos you’ll find of me consuming adult beverages is either at a company gathering or on my 21st birthday with my parents. I can’t tell you how many of my close friends have complete albums full of drunk college party photos. While taging themselves in these photos is dumb they make things exponentially worse by making these photos accessible and public. Because nothing says dependable and hardworking like the photo above.
#1) Not Interacting at All
In today’s world if you don’t have a profile on Facebook, LinkedIn, a Blog, or any other type of social media interaction device their is reason for concern. By refusing to engage you’re refusing to grow. I can’t tell you how many ideas I’ve generated just by using social media devices. As newspapers begin to disappear the use of the Internet becomes increasingly more important. It is the gateway of information and interacting with users through social media is just the latest and greatest enhancement.
Best Ways to Enhance Your Digital Footprint
#3) Start a Blog
While this seems to be a fad, that everyone eventually tries and abandons after 2 months, I believe it’s an important exercise to start and maintain a blog. Regardless of your passion or expertise everyone has a voice. Back in December I made a post giving 3 reasons why you shouldn’t blog, but I’m here to say that for your digital footprints sake you should blog. Nothing shows authority and passion quite like a blog. It’s also a great way to enhance your expertise because of the required studious nature it takes to maintain a blog.
#2) Get on LinkedIn or Facebook
From a business standpoint, creating a Facebook or LinkeIn profile should be looked at as creating an online relationship building hub. What better way to collaborate, interact, or engage with potential clients then with an online profile. My mother recently decided to create a Facebook account and was shocked when she discovered how many people are actually actively using these services. The volume and reach of social media profile users is the key differentiating factors between online and offline interactions. While the circumference of the earth is 40,075.02 KM creating a social media profile brings users across the globe within an arms length.
This is my official plug for using Twitter. As a social media friend of mine, George Webb, once said to me, “every week I try to get one new person to join Twitter and have to explain what the heck it is to another 10.” For me, next to this blog, there has been no greater source for engaging, developing, or enhancing my digital footprint than Twitter. Without actively participating with Twitter my blog readership would be two people, my mother and father. Besides that its allowed me to engage and converse with some of the brightest and most experienced individuals on the planet in several different medians. Where else would I have the opportunity to get cooking advice, get breaking news, learn about social media, and be able to talk to Shaq all at the same time?