By Alexia Leachman, Personal Branding Coach at Blossoming Brands

You’re not a member of at least two social networks

If you want to be found online then make sure you have a personal profile with the high traffic social networking sites.

Your social network profiles are a bit skimpy in detail

Maybe your LinkedIn profile is a bit light on information and detail, or maybe your Twitter profile has a bio that doesn’t mean anything to anyone but you. By not completing your personal profiles sufficiently, you’re missing out on telling others about yourself in a meaningful way. People are curious and once you connect on a social network, they are going to have a nose about at your profile. Here’s your chance to tell people all that great stuff about you; like what makes you great, why you should be hired and what amazing things you’ve done. Don’t waste the opportunity by sharing a quote by someone else, telling them about your family status, or barely bothering to provide more information than your job title.

You have less than 50 connections the social networks you’ve joined

You’ve not reached out and connected with people. If you want to be on other people’s radar for jobs, business and referrals, you need to get involved. Relying on real world interactions is failing to recognise the massive potential of the online space. Connect with others in as many ways as you can so that you pop up frequently in their world. This will increase your chances of staying front of mind with them. Should there ever be a reason to get in touch with someone like you, they’ll think of you!

You don’t engage online

You rarely post an update or comment on other people’s updates or blogs and generally staying very quiet. Maybe you’re observing everyone else, but unlike the school disco where you will seen loitering near the bar, no one can “see” you online unless you take part.

Your usernames across social networks are all different

Maybe some of them are cryptic, some have telephone numbers in them, and others might include your nickname. Neither of these are great options for usernames. As you develop relationships within social networks people will grow to know you by your username. If this is difficult to remember or just sounds plain silly then you’re not giving yourself the best start. It’s important to do what you can to increase your chances of being found so including your name is a great start. Maybe you have to be creative because you have a popular name; you might want to include middle initials, or link your name to a keyword that is relevant to what you do. Or use the same username as your blog title. Whichever option you choose, remember to aim for consistency.

Your profile photo is inappropriate

If your photo...

- Is one of you on holiday in swimwear or ski goggles

- Is an old one and you’ve aged/changed your hair/put on weight since then and you’re not really that recognisable

- Is not a close up and so you’re not really identifiable (Remember, profile photos are often the size of a stamp on screen.)

- Is a family shot and your head appears really small, again not really identifiable

- Is a picture of your newborn baby/dog/mid-life crisis car purchase

- Different depending on which social network or blog they’ve found you on

...Then it's probably inappropriate.

Your profile photo is a visual representation of you for when you’re not there. Would you turn up to an important work meeting in your ski goggles or your swimsuit? I hope not! Select a photo that makes you look good or says something about you that will enhance your chances of success in your endeavours.

The important thing about how you present yourself visually online is consistency. As we become members of several online networks, we seek out familiar faces and contacts from other networks. You need to facilitate this by being easily found and recognised. Using the same photo everywhere will help.

Your status updates are not engaging, interesting or relevant

If your status updates are...

- Cryptic in the hope of sounding clever

- Full of “in-jokes” that only your close mates will understand

- Taken up mostly by arranging to meet your mates at the pub or deciding who’s going to cook what for dinner

- Needlessly rude, aggressive or arrogant (Who wants to connect with someone like that?)

- A constant stream of every banal thought that comes into your head or every single minor activity that you’re undertaking

...Then you will be limiting the potential number of people who will remain interested in you and what you have to say. They may, at worst unfollow you or switch off your updates. Result — you have created an unconnection.

Every time you provide a status update, you’re communicating directly and indirectly about yourself. Your choice of content to share, the way you communicate an opinion, the language you use; all this says something about you. And when you’re updates are considered en masse then an impression is created. Are you creating the right impression?

But as you know, it’s not all about the digital space. We’re real people in real world, so there might be things that you’re guilty of there too. Find out by reading: Tell tale signs that you’re not taking your brand seriously- In the flesh.

Alexia Leachman is a Personal Brand Coach and Head Trash Liberator at Blossoming Brands. She helps entrepreneurs find their mojo by helping them to tell their story, raise their profile, build their digital presence and manage their reputation. You can find out more at www.blossomingbrands.com and www.headtrash.co.uk And you can follow her on Twitter as @AlexiaL and @BBrands

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