It is hard to believe that social media has only been around for about a decade, and that it has made such a huge impact on every aspect of our lives. When social media came to be about, celebrities instantly headed over to the different platforms to secure their own name, so that they could use it as a way to protect their brand and as a form of reputation management.

Today, Twitter alone has around 300 million people, all of whom want to be able to talk to the world and tell them about who they are and what they stand for. This is a form of public relations, and it has now surpassed the world of celebrities. Rather, everybody has to be involved in it, from the pensioner down the street to the Fortune 500 company CEO.

When we think of what “brand” means, we still think business, big companies, celebrities, and corporate logos. However, every individual is essentially a brand, whether you like it or not. Wherever you go, from a first date to an interview, your personal brand follows you. Hence, you have to make sure you are in control of it, and that it represents you properly.

Where to Start

First of all, you need to know what is out there about you. Hence:

  1. Google search your own name, in an incognito window. This shows you exactly what other people would see if they would search for you.
  2. Analyze the results that you have found. Check the first three pages of Google (even though most people won’t look past the first page) to see whether or not what is said about you is true.

A number of problems may occur at this point:

  1. Someone else may use your name. Unfortunately, other people won’t be able to know who you are, and who the other person is.
  2. Negative information may appear that doesn’t represent you. Of course, everybody makes mistakes, but these should not be the first thing people see when they look you up.
  3. You may find absolutely nothing. This could happen if you have a very uncommon name and have never ventured online. While you may breathe a sigh of relief, this isn’t actually a good thing. Rather, people will find it very suspicious.
  4. You could find positive results that are completely reflective of who you are. This is the ideal situation, and the one you should strive to achieve.

Take Action

  1. You need to choose what you want to appear online when people search for you. It is best to work with a professional reputation management company to achieve this. What you want is for the things that appear about you to make you feel proud of yourself.
  2. Secure your name online. Make sure you own the URL in your name, but also the LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter feed.
  3. Get help if you find that your name is already taken, so that you can choose an appropriate alternative.
  4. Reach out to the people who you want to find you online, which will promote your brand.
  5. Communicate with your target audience in a way that is positive and further promotes your brand.
  6. Choose hashtags that promote the things you stand for.
  7. Use all the different social media platforms, but in a consistent way.
  8. Engage in online networking to take everything to the next level.