It’s a competitive world. Here’s how to set yourself apart online

I’ve touched on this subject here before, but below is the full article recently published at http://www.hookmedia.com.au, which expands on this important topic.

goodbadandinvisible - jpeg

When striving to achieve goals, leverage opportunities and secure positions, is your online identity a help, a hindrance, or simply non-existent?

When it comes to getting ahead, cultivating a strong online identity or digital footprint has become the slight edge helping people standout from the crowd, seal the deals, and rocket above their competition.

It’s a fact that people are judging you well before they meet you in person, by what they find from an online search of Google and your public social media profiles, and that decisions are being made about your suitability for a particular position or opportunity, based on the content (or lack thereof) of your social media accounts.

Understanding that your social media updates, comments, likes, shares and retweets are impacting your future prospects in an increasingly crowded marketplace of hungry, skilled, job-seekers, puts you at a major advantage above those that are yet to grasp the concept.

Think you can bad-mouth people and organisations, engage in anti-social behaviour and it won’t be noticed? Wrong. Planning on avoiding the online world altogether to avoid tarnishing your real-world reputation? Be warned… avoiding social media entirely, or hiding behind privacy settings and aliases, is leaving you at a disadvantage to those that have embraced their online presence.

One of the best things about social media and your online identity, is that you are in complete control. You decide what you are known for, and you have the ability to set yourself apart, from the competition.

My interest to highlight this topic was sparked recently, after reading this article about the extremely high-turnover of coaches at Australian Rules Football clubs, coaches who are trying to stand out and survive among a fairly similar demographic of competitors in terms of experience, contacts and skill-set.

It got me thinking about the various types of online identities, and whether (in all walks of life) enough people were taking advantage of the opportunities online to communicate valuable messages, showcase their knowledge, build authority and awareness and engage with, and learn from the huge amounts of content available.

The good, the bad and the invisible…

I first heard online reputations broken down into these three simple categories, the good, the bad, and the invisible, in a presentation made by Kevin De Shazo of Fieldhouse Media, and I’ve paraphrased his wise words often since.

The Good – Known for positive online behaviour

–  Offers value to their online audience
–  Engages with their industry
–  Builds connections and authority
–  Influences others to take positive actions
–  Is social on social media (undertakes two-way conversations)
– Thinks before they post

The Bad – Known for negative online behaviour

– Offers little to no value to their online audience
– Does not think about the consequences of their online actions
– Perpetuates negativity about their industry, school or employer
– Is anti-social on social media (broadcasts one-way conversations)
– Doesn’t think before they post

The Invisible – Known to avoid online communications

– Has very little online presence or footprint
– Does not use social media to interact with their industry
– Hides behind privacy settings and anonymous accounts
– Sometimes mistaken for having something to hide
– Doesn’t post at all

The Examples  

Sticking to the sports coaching theme, two examples from the last week stood out to me. One from the senior coach of AFL club The Brisbane Lions, Justin Leppitsch (The Good), the other from a high-school football coach in the USA, Don Johnson Jr. (The Bad).

Leppitsch took to social media to provide a strong show of support to his club and their fans to reassure them that they were not about to trade away their star players, as had been rumoured in the news.

Johnson Jr. took to social media following his side’s weekend loss to accuse the referees of being racist against himself and his team, questioning the integrity of the officials. He has since apologised profoundly for the ‘stupid tweet’.

Leppa - Coach on Social

The Consequences

Having a negative online identity and reputation, will ultimately see you lose out to those with a positive online identity, and even those with no online presence.

Being invisible online will help you avoid the negative image that those with a bad reputation have, but you will always lose out to those with a good, positive online presence, who take full advantage of the opportunity to showcase their character and skill, and offer extra insights into their suitability for the situation.

Consider the following scenario: Three candidates are fighting to secure a position of employment in an ultra-competitive industry. All three have similar traditional CVs, hands-on experience, and references. One has a good, strong online identity, one has a poor online identity filled with negativity and anti-social interactions. The other has little to no presence online at all, or hides behind privacy settings and anonymous accounts. It quickly becomes obvious who holds the advantage.


So which one are you?

Hook Media offer variety of training, education and workshops on building a positive online identity. Contact ryan@hookmedia.com.au for more information.

Follow me on Twitter at @RyanMobilia here or connect with me on LinkedIn here.

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