For maximum exposure, maintain profiles on Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn—and on industry-specific websites that allow you to create a user profile. Be sure to use your actual name on the profiles and keep it consistent (don’t throw in a middle initial only some of the time).
Next, spend a few bucks to purchase YourName.com at a registering site like GoDaddy.com (if your name isn’t available in URL form, tack a word or two that relates to your profession onto the end—JaneDoRealEstate, for example). Use the domain to house your résumé and work samples.
For extra punch, create work-related content, which will give you more cred—nay, visibility—on search engines, says Ryan Gould, managing director of marketing at Digital Current.
Still have a MySpace page? Kill any old accounts that you no longer use and wouldn’t want colleagues to see (go to justdeleteme.me for instructions on nixing various Web accounts). The goal is to focus on those sites that offer value.
Next, make sure your privacy settings are ironclad—even on social media sites that you use purely for professional purposes. On LinkedIn, for example, every person whose page you view can see that you were checking them out, unless you alter your preferences on the site. In the thumbnail on the top right, go to PRIVACY & SETTINGS, then to SELECT WHAT OTHERS SEE WHEN YOU’VE VIEWED THEIR PROFILE. Click the ANONYMOUS box to be fully stealth.
Just as you’d tailor your CV to fit a job you’re applying for, you should edit your social pages to appeal to your target professional audience—so you stick out when people come looking for, say, “health care marketing coordinator in Florida.” Choose keywords that showcase what you offer professionally, says Gould. They should be both broad (“sports marketing”) and specific (“freelance copy editor in Philadelphia”). Then integrate them into your Twitter bio, LinkedIn headline, website page title and just about everything else.
You may not think Pinterest can be good for work purposes, but if you’re in a profession that embraces visuals (like marketing, retail or public relations), you should be using the professional bulletin board. Get to know someone who is well established on the site and work out a relationship in which you repost each other’s content. This will help you grow your community.
Evaluate the past month of feed on each of your social media accounts that you use for work purposes. Did your posts add to any professional conversations? Did you go off the radar for days at a time? Determine two or three things you’d like to improve on in the next 30 days. Maybe you want to use stronger hashtags on Twitter or interact with members of a certain group on LinkedIn. Now take action.