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Could social media be affecting your professional image

Paystream News

Thursday 21st Apr, 2016

In today's society, social media is consumed on a scale that has never been seen before. Worldwide, it is estimated that there are 2.2 billion social media users, with this number rapidly continuing to grow each year.

Recently, in the past couple of years, the internet has played a crucial role in many affairs across the globe, giving a voice to those who have previously gone unheard and providing a platform for businesses and organisations to market themselves online.

Social media is available to us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and so the social profile that we construct is accessible to potential clients at all times.

By utilising social media, contractors are able to generate new leads, as well as being able to seek out potential clients.

Clients are increasingly likely to Google a candidate's name, with it taking them only a matter of seconds to locate the individual in question.

While social media can act as a godsend for many professional contractors, there is often content online we may have forgotten about or are unaware of that is impacting negatively on our professional image.

Here, we take a look at a few things that contractors should consider when using social media.

First impressions

Traditionally, first impressions would be upon meeting to discuss a project or contract, greeting your client with a firm handshake.

Now, however, this is much different, with first impressions often coming in the form of a profile picture or your latest tweet. If a stakeholder comes across an inappropriate picture of you and is unable to envision you in a professional light, then this may be their deciding factor.

Your workload could be compromised without you even knowing it, as clients will simply look elsewhere.

Permanent information

Once a piece of information is published online, there's no going back. Sure, it can be deleted, but if your business is in the public eye, content can quickly be duplicated by other users who may use it harmfully in the future.

Be careful with exactly what type of information is published, and try to keep controversial opinions out of the equation. There's a time and a place for political debate, but when it comes to business, it should be avoided.

When creating social media profiles either for yourself or your business, it's crucial to remember that this is not only open to other professionals, but to the general public as well, including journalists. Anyone can comment on your services, so if you receive negative feedback, make sure you deal with it in a professional manner - and don't ignore it.

Industry presence

Establish yourself as a professional contractor so that when clients do search your name, they find something that aligns with what they are looking for.

A professional online portfolio is a great way to do this and will set you aside from your competition. You can do this by creating a website with Wordpress, Weeby or WIX, where you can include examples of previous work and testimonials from satisfied clients.

For something a little simpler, LinkedIn is a brilliant network that acts as an online CV, allowing you to make business contacts and gain insight into the industry from like-minded people.
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