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Social 301 – Managing Your Social Footprint

Welcome to Social 301, the third post in a five-post series about mastering social to build your personal/professional brand eminence.

Social 301: Managing Your Social Footprint
In Social 201 we learned how to build relationships/connections on Twitter, how to engage more effectively on Twitter and the type of content you should be posting to not only share your POV but start engaging in the conversation with others. This next post builds on this knowledge by taking a more technical behind the scenes view of managing your social footprint and thus further developing your personal and professional brand.

What is my social footprint, why should I care, and how should I manage it?
Your social footprint is the mark, or footprint, you leave across all of the different social properties you use. Learning how to manage them effectively is the key to mastering the ratio of privacy to open connections that you are most comfortable with. In brief, here is an outline of how I view, and use, the major social platforms today

  • Twitter: Open connecting platform for sharing news, points of view, engaging with thought leaders, and the occasional fun photo
    • Twitter for me is wide open (i.e. I do not protect my tweets) and I invite anyone and everyone both from my personal, professional, and social circles to connect and engage with me there
    • Twitter is made for open connections, after all, it is only 140 characters at a time!
  • Facebook: Private sharing for close friends and family, vacation photos, personal rants (we all do it), instapolls (HT to my friend Greg Glaser), and casual discussions with my friends
    • Facebook for me is completely private, so private that when you search for me on the network all of you will find is my name and profile photo
      • I keep Facebook private because that is my place to share whatever I want with friends and family, NOT simply network connections
  • Google+: Long-form blogging
    • I have yet to really see the value of Google+; however, there are many who have. If you use the platform I encourage you to think of it more like Twitter rather than Facebook
  • Foursquare: Geo-based hints and tip factory, historical view of travels, research on restaurants, hotels, places of interest
    • Foursquare is my version of Yelp as I use it to research places before I visit, see what’s good on the menu once I arrive, and even sometimes base purchasing decisions on what I see/read
      • I freely check-in to locations (except client-sites where privacy is needed) and enjoy “rising through the ranks” of the jet setter, herbivore and other badge series
  • LinkedIn: Professional connections and influencer posts (which I’ve begun to really enjoy)
    • LinkedIn has lost its appeal to me as a networking platform as I would much rather use Twitter where I can engage/learn about someone before just adding them as a connection. I do believe LinkedIn has value as a place to track connections (virtual rolodex) and their new influencer program is rocking it out for me

I encourage you to think through your current use of these platforms and make decisions for yourself around your privacy and how you use them and what your goals are for each.

Do I need to separate my personal and professional brand?
This singular question causes much angst for people as they make their foray into the world of open social, especially when they start to use Twitter. My answer and advice? No! Why?

  • You are on person thus you have one online brand
  • It takes much time and effort to manage two accounts with two voices, two separate POVs and two separate audiences
    • IF you have one account that is personal and specific to sales or support for an organization and that account acts in an official capacity on behalf of the company you might consider separating the two. In general though I advocate against this model
  • People who follow you rarely want just one side of you. I’ve found that people are just as interested in my professional thought leadership as they are in my personal musings and vacation photos

A word on personal, company accounts: I am against them. I rarely see the true need for someone to be nameATcompany or the like because in my view, all company communications should come from the official company accounts. This does not mean that you cannot share company news from your personal account or even build connections that are company-related on your personal account; rather, this simply means that you do not need a company-branded personal account.

So, when you say “personal and professional brand” you mean just one brand, with both elements?
Yes! Your brand represents you and who you are and that includes both personal and professional elements. You should not be afraid to mix the two to build your social persona as you proliferate your social footprint!

Now, get out there and give your privacy settings a tune up and review your profiles and what you post across the different platforms. Then, tune in next week for my post on creating your own content where I discuss creating a personal blog or using some other communication mediums available to further build out your social eminence.

Now, let’s continue the conversation! Follow and engage with me on Twitter, leave a comment below, or send me an email via my contact page.

Corey Rawdon

Corey Rawdon

About Corey Rawdon

Prolific stick-figure artist ideating methods and mechanisms to change the world—or at least make a small dent.

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