1. Use a professional photo of yourself and use it

consistently on all of your online profiles. Using the same

photo helps potential clients and the media recognize you. Using cropped or

unprofessional photos can really hurt your image. If it was taken on your cell phone,

it shouldn't be your profile picture. Also, use a picture of you, and not your logo on

the accounts with your name on them. A photo of you makes you more approachable.

If you have a company page or account, logos are fine, but make sure they are correctly

sized and clear.

2. Use established social media sites. These include

MerchantCircle, Facebook, Plaxo and LinkedIn. The idea behind using social media is

for you to be reachable and visible on the sites where your clients and customers

already are. You might personally find an up-and-coming social media site to be great,

but the majority of your potential customers are on the major social media sites and

may not want to join you on a lesser known site. Don't forget the Yahoo! and Google

local business directories which can help you show up to local searchers. Beware of the

business directories that solicit your business, wanting you to pay for your listing and

promotion on their unknown site.

3. Sharpen up your resume and experience, and be

consistent. If someone is looking for you on the Internet and gets three or four

different versions of what you have been up to these past few years, they are not likely

to call you or visit your establishment. Be honest and straightforward about your

experience, awards and purpose.

4. Tweet professionally. You may have a personal Twitter or other

microblogging service where you keep up with friends and family. That's fine, but make

sure you keep your personal tweets, like the fact that you had a miserable time at the

company picnic, to yourself. Keep a separate account for your professional updates and

share information that is helpful to your readers, not just memes about how great you

are. Share tips and advice that make your readers' day better and they will return to

you when they need your professional service.

5. Use privacy controls. You might already have personal accounts on

social media sites, but these should not be synonymous with your business persona.

Use privacy controls to make sure your personal conversations and activities are not

getting in the way of your business. You can “like" a political party candidate or post

those pictures that show what a great time you had out on the town last night on your

own account but make sure you limit who can see that information.

6. Put your best foot forward by having a short

summary of who you are and what you offer. Many professional

sites have space for a summary, which allows you to highlight your strengths. This is

a great spot to point out how you are unique and how your experience and skills work

to your customer's advantage. Be creative and catchy in your self-description, but don't

sound like a braggart or unprofessional. This is your career, not a dating ad. “Licensed

Financial Advisor and Youth Volunteer" is far more likely to get you a call than “Perky

Fun Video-Gaming Gemini."

7. Consider a video interview or demo. Many sites like VisualCV,

MerchantCircle and Facebook have the ability to host short videos. These can help

highlight your abilities to your clients. For a retail location, shoot a short video

showing your establishment and describing your services. For a service-based business,

include a description of what you do, and how you do it. Trainers, coaches,

salespersons and anyone who delivers presentations as part of their job can use a short

video to show their effectiveness, humor, clarity and style. Showing your comfort

working with various groups, and your ability to deliver a message effectively over

video, is important to many career paths and for clients who want to see who they will

be working with.

8. Remember to offer information you would want to

receive as a customer. When building and reviewing your online profiles,

remember to think like your potential client or customer. Is your contact information

readily accessible? Did you include a link to your website or address of your location?

Do you clearly state the purpose and offerings you and your business have to offer?

Ease of finding information on your social media profiles is what starts the client or

customer's experience of working with you and your company. If your profiles are only

half completed or don't offer helpful information, your potential clients and customers

will assume the same is true about you and your business.

Before you start building your online presence, make sure you have the tools to do

the above steps at hand. Gather them all in one place so you can reference them

quickly. It is also better to have a few well-done social media and online profiles than

to have a multitude of incomplete profiles.

If you work in a niche market, search online to see where your competition or

similar organizations or professionals have online profiles and view their pages. That

way you can make note of what you do or don't like about their profiles, and what

seems to be working for them as they interact with their customers.

Most importantly, if you need help, find someone to help you. It may be hard to

admit that you need help with all this technology, but biting the bullet and asking for

assistance is much better than the potential of ruining your professional or business'

online reputation.

Pam Lontos is the of author of I See Your Name Everywhere: Leverage the Power

of the Media to Grow your Fame, Wealth and Success. She is president of PR/PR, a

public relations firm that has recently placed clients in The Wall Street Journal,

Cosmopolitan, Forbes and USA Today. As the former VP of Disney's Shamrock

Broadcasting, she knows how to get you great publicity to boost your business.

Martha Ciske is the Technology & Social Media Account Executive of PR/PR Public


For a free consultation, e-mail Pam@prpr.net or call 407-299-6128. Sign up for a

free publicity tips e-newsletter at www.prpr.net.

Affluent Magazine, Steps To A Online Professional Presence

Author's Bio: 

E-Commerce developer and website designer since 1995 offering the world's best guaranteed return on investment program in Internet marketing and search engine optimization.