You have to tell people how to think of and treat you. While you may have heard this sentiment about your personal relationships, it is also true about your formal and professional relationships.
The process is creating an image that you want people to embrace about you is called branding. Essentially, branding is telling people how to think of you. The other part of branding, perhaps the most important part, is being consistent. Consistency means choosing the messages that you want to stand out most. It also means thinking about the parts of you that might undermine how you want to be seen publicly. This also means accepting that your whole self may not be appropriate for public consumption! Reign-in your social media and pull up so that you don’t paint yourself into the wrong box. We already know that once it is in the Twitter-Sphere, there’s no getting it back.
I think one of the coolest ways to begin crafting your brand is by creating an About.me page. It is a very simple way to begin establishing professional social media presence. These are just some of the benefits of About.me:
1) The pages are designed to be easy to create.
2) If you are a decent writer, you can create a balanced image of yourself that isn’t as formal as LinkedIn, but not as chummy as Facebook. Compare my LinkedIn page to my About.me page. They have totally different feels and energies. Make the different formats work for you!
3) You can pick and choose which of your social media profiles project the versions of you that best serves your purposes…Remember, consistency is the key! Additionally, if you’re happy with your other social media profiles, you don’t have to create a lot of text for About.me. Think of it like an online business card that tells people where to find you.
I also recommend double-checking the privacy settings of all your other social media profiles to make sure only the people you want to see your info can see it. I would even recommend asking somebody to review your social media to tell you what impressions they get of you. Finally, I would recommend changing your name on your social media profiles to minimize being found online if you are concerned that your social media posts might get you into trouble.
Whether it is fair or not, people will come to certain conclusions about you based on what they find about you before they actually meet you. Play offense and get them before they get you!