Part of managing your online reputation is making sure your social networking profiles are up to date and that they are a professional representation of who you are and what you do. Every social networking site gives you the opportunity to include a profile. In the past I've written about making sure you have an Amazon.com profile.
Recently I took a look at my Google profile and noticed it was out of date. If you use Gmail, Google Reader, Google Calendar or any of the numerous Google tools, then log into your account and see what you have on your profile. Others can see it so make sure it represents you.
For example, I was looking at a few feeds in Google Reader and I clicked through to some shared feeds (feeds my "friends" bookmarked and shared so I can see them too). I clicked through to a couple of profiles to learn more about the person who shared the feed. That's when I realized my Google profile needed updating. When you're logged in to one of your Google accounts, you can usually find a link at the top right that says "My Accounts." From there you can edit your profile.
Of course there are your profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., to take a look at (at least once a quarter to make sure they reflect your current reality). Nancy Marmolejo of Viva Visibility has some good posts on how to create effective social networking profiles.
I also found a video by Facebook expert Mari Smith on which she's doing a profile assessment that's quite instructive.
Keep in mind that your profile can be a powerful tool to attract new people into your world. When given the opportunity, take it! For example, I am a big supporter of Kiva.org, the micro-lending site (check out my lending team!). When I created my account, the first thing I did was add my photo and bio info to my lender profile page. And a link back to my blog, of course. Even though this is something I do that isn't necessarily related to my business, I can capitalize on the site for more online visibility.
My point is to take the opportunities when they are presented. If you have a cheat sheet with your URLs, bios in several word counts, and a photo, it takes only minutes to set up a profile that will begin working for you.
The first step is to create your cheat sheet with three versions of your bio: 160 characters for Twitter and other sites that provide a very small bio field; then 50 words and 200 words. That way you have several options you can use and tweak as necessary for each site.
Next make a list of all your URLs: blog(s), website, Facebook, Twitter, etc. On some sites, like on your Google profile, you can link to all your social networking sites so people can connect with you where they choose. Each time you set up a new site, make a note of log in information and the public URL for your site, i.e. on Posterous my public URL is: http://blogsquad.posterous.com/
Finally, make sure you have a great photo – shot by a professional photographer is best, but if not that, then one that shows you as a professional, fairly close up so people can see your face. Do not use a logo, book cover, or a photo of your dog unless you're a dog trainer.
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This article was originally published on Biz Tips Blog.