I recently came across an article on Copyblogger about how to use LinkedIn to promote yourself and your business. To be precise, it was an article about the 16 smarter ways that you could use the professional networking site.
As I read, I noticed many of the theories weren’t exactly exclusive to LinkedIn – or to promoting business. In fact, many of them are easily adapted for smart Facebook usage.
Smarten Up Your Profile
Your profile is your landing page on Facebook – and therefore basically how anybody who does a web search of you or your name will see you. It might be a good idea, then, to clean up your Facebook page.
Try these tips to keep your Facebook page clean and appropriate for both family members and possible future employers.
1. Don’t get clever with your picture
And by “don’t get clever,” I mean “don’t be stupid.” While I won’t be as strict as Copyblogger writer Sean Jackson and say that you must have a solid background, your face taking up most of the frame, etc., I will say that your photo is pretty important. Try to avoid using illustrations unless it’s relevant – a poster promotion for your professional band or theater production, a drawing your best friend (an artist) drew. Otherwise, try to avoid pictures of Pokemon, dragons, or anything else you didn’t create yourself or have permission to use.
Oh – and definitely avoid photos of you drinking or drunk. While not everyone can see the beer can in your hand just off-camera, the glazed eyes are a dead giveaway.
2. Use your real name.
First of all, using your actual name (or your nickname, if that’s how everyone knows you) will help those who want to connect with you to actually find you.
Second, it’s extremely unprofessional and, quite frankly, childish-looking when your name is M!k3yy J0n3Z instead of Mike Jones. Unless you’re Ke$ha (or illiterate,) don’t replace real characters in your name with “fake” characters.
3. You have more networks than your high school
While it IS important to add your (correct) high school details, it’s actually more important to make sure your university, trade school, or job networks are also listed. If you’re in college and you want a real job, employers who Google your name will check out your profile for prior jobs. When they see you listed as “Intern at Rockwell & Globe,” they might be interested in hiring you at their law firm – but if you’re listed as nothing at all, they won’t be as interested in your experiences.
4. Create connections that matter
I think Mr. Jackson, who wrote the article about LinkedIn, really puts this in the best way:
As general rule of thumb, ask yourself, would you feel comfortable picking up the phone and calling this person? If not, don’t add them to your contacts.
This is something you may also want to think about when you go through your contacts. Is there a reason to be connected to this person – for example, I wouldn’t be comfortable talking to my ex on the phone, but we’re connected because we were high school classmates.
Be smart, and use your connections wisely.
5. Don’t waste your bio
A lot of people I know have very boring, empty bios on Facebook – if they have one at all! This is an important part of your profile and a great way for people to identify you.
I’m not saying, by the way, that you should go all out and give revealing personal info online. You should have a small introduction to who you are so those searching for you can confirm it’s you – maybe that you love chess and picnics, or that you played soccer for 17 years.
6. Flesh out the details
And don’t forget the other sections! Adding your favorite bands, movies, and more can help you find new books and movies via recommendations and show off things you love to your friends. And what better way to promote your cousin’s band than to have them as your number-one music interest?
While you’re not exactly marketing a business like the writer of the LinkedIn article is doing, you still need to present yourself in a mature and professional manner. This goes double for anyone in college or who wants to go to college! While Facebook might seem more like a game than anything else, there’s always a chance your profile will be found by a potential employer.
Being smarter with your Facebook will make sure your online reputation is a good one and could even help you deflect unwanted stalkers.
So be smart with your Facebook page – or any page online – and you’ll stay safer in multiple senses of the word.