I’ve Got a Job for You

The holiday season is upon us, and the days following December 25 tends to be slow for most people. That makes it a perfect time to take stock in your online presence. When was the last time you updated your web site? What social sites did you join and then never use? I know, I know, somebody, maybe even me, told you that you need to protect your brand by reserving the name on a social media site so somebody doesn’t get it and use it against you or in ways you don’t want related to your brand. Well yeah, but how does it make you look that you’ve got a profile with no bio, no link to learn more, no picture and one post in 2007? Leave a note telling people why you’re not using it, and give them a link to follow to where you ARE active. Make the decision to delete the account or not based on how useful the site is. If it’s useful USE it.

Did you use a service like Claim.io that sets up hundreds of accounts for you or your brand? This is a great way to make sure nobody is using your brand identity online, but have you even looked at them? An empty profile, or worse yet–one being used to advertise the service that created them for you–isn’t doing your brand any favors. I checked on a client’s Netvibes site once to find that it was chock-full of bookmarks and ads presumably for the Russian contractor who set up the accounts for them. Everything was in Cyrillic. Oh, and because they set them up they had passwords to all 300+ accounts! It does make me re-think the efficacy of working this way.

That leads me to one of the more painful housecleaning duties that everybody avoids but you really should do. Change your passwords. Think up new ones and change the password on every single account. It’s best not to make them all the same either. I know it’s painful, but is it really better to get hacked? Try to make it at least 8 characters long and include a mix of numbers capitals and special characters like #@*&^.

While you’re in your accounts think about your profile image. Is it you, or you ten years ago? Does a close up of one eye, your puppy, logo or glaring down your nose really help you? People recognize me all the time at networking events and speaking gigs from my profile pic. In fact a quick survey of your friends will likely find that 8 out of 10 look up profile pics before meeting a new business connection for the first time.

Drop a link to your blog, twitter stream or any RSS feed into Wordle and see how the word cloud produced relates to your brand. This can be a very sobering experience for some. Is your message being delivered?Is your voice positive? Negative? If this kind of big picture makes you itch, start thinking of ways to fine tune your messaging to get the results you want.

Clean up your friends. Comb through your Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin Connections as well as all those other networks you belong to and weed out the ones who keep spamming you with offers you don’t care about or ask you to friend their friend’s friend’s Facebook page. If they’re wasting your time get rid of the noise!

Unsubscribe. OK don’t unsubscribe from MY RSS feed, but really, how many emails do you get that turn out to be rss feeds or newsletters that rarely have valuable content? Turn ’em off. Do the same thing in your RSS reader(s). If you don’t see the value get rid if it.

Start 2011 with a clean slate and only people you really care about in your networks and you’ll be ready to roll.

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