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How to Manage Your Online Presence

3 tips from The Public Speaker on how you can successfully manage your online presence

By
Lisa B. Marshall
February 19, 2011
Episode #119

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Last year I was interviewing candidates for a public relations internship. Since it was public relations, I wanted to review how the candidates were representing themselves on the web. I discovered that several thousand websites had picked up on an article and photo that one particular candidate had submitted to her local paper. Normally, that would be a good thing, but in her case, it was a disaster. 

Why You Need to Manage Your Online Presence

So, here’s the story. Cathy (not her real name) had visited Germany. When reviewing her photos, she noticed an odd image in one of them. It appeared as if there was a strange “mothman” flying in the sky. (Upon very careful inspection, it looked like a super blurry close-up image of an insect that just happened to be caught in the photo at exactly the right place to look like a “mothman”) At the urging of her uncle, who thought it was funny, she submitted the picture to her local paper, in a section called “What is this?” 

The image and accompanying article also ran online and unfortunately, many of the UFO sighting website sites and paranormal forums picked up on the story and ran with it. She was quoted in the stories, at times, out of context. And let’s just say, the stories didn’t represent her well—especially since Cathy was studying public relations! 

She was mortified when I told her what I had found (she had had no idea this had happened). In fact, she was so upset, that she proceeded to change her professional name so that she would no longer be associated with all those web posts. She changed her email, her online profiles, everything.  

Since she was young, she could still do that. However, the moral of the story (and today’s quick and dirty tip) is—even if you aren’t actively participating in social media, your customers are, you prospective employers are, and your competition definitely is. 

How to Manage Your Online Presence 

Perhaps more importantly, it doesn’t matter if you are a student, small business owner, an educator, a project manager, retail worker, manager or c-level professional, today, all of us need to regularly and comprehensively review our web presence (including stuff that we didn’t create). 

In addition, if you or your organization has been participating in social media, it’s an especially good idea to take a step back--at least four times a year (if not weekly or even daily) to see if you (or your company) are being represented the way you’d like to be represented. 

In this two-part program we’ll discuss my social media review checklist to help you manage your online presence. 

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