How to sell yourself on the Internet

Recently I have gotten a few requests to advise on social media strategy and how to promote yourself or your business on the internet. Here is a basic primer that I mentioned to a couple of my interns, who have different interests and goals. Both of them are in college and will be soon entering the work world and want to present themselves in the best possible. Here is a general overview of tips I keep offering people who ask in hope that it will provide some insight. Some of this advise can be used for businesses, however, for a concrete primer look for a forthcoming blog post on businesses.

  1. Start an about.me profile (free). This will serve as your free digital hub. From here you will be able to link all the services below (except Google + as of this writing). This profile is where you will drive everyone initially before you send them to one of the accounts below. Also, you will qualify for a free set of moo.com business cards. I highly recommend a good picture of yourself in the background. Take it yourself or hire someone.
  2. Start/link a Twitter profile (free). This is pretty self-explanatory. However, you will get the best impact if your tweets are public. (if your account is private, all someone will see is that the account exists). If you make your account public, remember that is public. Everyone can find what you say, so be aware of what you are posting. Also, follow these rules. 
  3. Start/link a Facebook profile (free). This is one of the optional ideas (personally I keep Facebook open to my friends, not the public at large). Statistically, if you are reading this, you probably have a Facebook account. It’s a good way to broaden your social media presence if you are uncomfortable with the services below, provided your profile is “safe for work”. Privacy settings are key. 
  4. Start a LinkedIn Profile (if you haven’t already). This is rapidly becoming the norm in the work world (so my HR friends tell me). Not having a nice LinkedIn profile these days only hurts your odds of getting hired. It’s a fantastic networking tool that you should have (a good photo is key) in your “quiver” of tools.  
  5. Tighten up your Google profile/Google + profile. (free). This will show at the top of your Google search, so it’s worthwhile to have your claim staked here. Plus, anything that you put on your Google profile will carry over to your Google + profile, so be aware when you are updating it. This is also a good time to set up a free Google alert (or several) regarding your name and topics you are interested in. 
  6. Start a wordpress.com blog (free for basic, paid upgrades available). This is especially crucial if you like to write. Make the topic(s) about something you are passionate about and start writing. This will not only be indexed by the Blog home page but also individual posts.  There IS a difference between WordPress.com (company hosted) and WordPress.org (self hosted)!
  7. Start a Tumblr blog (free) This is better for people who are mostly visually based or like to share/comment on others’ posts. I’ve found its easier to “reblog” (aka share) posts on Tumblr opposed to WordPress. However, Tumblr is less reliable in terms of uptime (I’ve found) and most themes make long blocks of text look goofy. So if you like to right- use WordPress.com first!
  8. Link a YouTube/Vimeo account (free). This is the second optional one. Obviously if you love posting video this is a no brainer. It’s also a great way to show your on/off camera skills and your creativity. 
  9. Create a Flickr account (free for basic, pro is $25/yr). This is also optional, but highly recommended for shutterbugs. Plus, for those starting out, it’s cheaper than other photo sites such as smugmug.com and 500px.com, but people can still request to buy photos from you. In addition, if you choose, you can have your images automatically available to Getty images to license. 
  10. Buy a .com domain (varies). This is a great option if you want your presence to look even more professional. Domain forwarding is an easy way to get “your name.com” redirected to your about.me hub. Also, some services (like godaddy.com) bundles domain masking as well. This allows you to make about.me/yourname appear as “yourname.com“. 

Lastly- Print moo.com business cards. As mentioned in step 1, you will probably qualify for a free set of 50 (just pay shipping). It’s great to have personal cards – especially if you are job searching/promoting your side gig/don’t get business cards for networking and such. If you have purchased a custom domain, slap that one on there as well.

All of these tools will give you an excellent base/ beginning platform to enhance your presence on the web and to potential companies. Have a tip? A service I missed? Let me know in the comments!

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