Companies Should Create Reputable Digital Citizens

In today’s society, much of our reputation rests online. We are judged on the content we produce via Twitter and Facebook and the content that is knowingly and unknowingly produced about us. It is now common for employers to research job candidates via Google and see exactly what is floating out there about them. If companies go through that much trouble to see if you can make the cut, don’t you think that once you do, they should help you create the best online reputation possible? I will answer that for you, yes, they should!

It is easy to not have any bad content show up on your Google search; it is difficult to produce high quality results that are appealing to employers and potential clients. Most people on their own have found out how to navigate popular social media sites, but many do not know how to do so in a professional way. To become a reputable digital citizen you have to move passed using social media as entertainment and view it as a business and networking tool. Companies should go beyond having employees read and sign a lengthy online and social media policy, but actually invest in educating them on the new age of social business. This education should include social media etiquette and where and when they should be producing content.

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Employees are the face of the company and should have a presence online as well. Companies should help their employees build and maintain Linkedin and Twitter accounts. Ethan McCarty of IBM said, “Becoming a social business means recognizing the need for your employees to become “digital citizens” and providing the training for them to manage their digital reputations,” in the article Move Over Social Media; Here Comes Social Business. Employees should be taught how to have professional accounts that client and business partners can engage them on.

Make sure that if you are going to engage with your company’s social media pages that your profile has content appropriate for your clients and fellow employees. It looks bad when an employee “likes” the company’s Facebook page and clients see their profile picture with a beer in their hand. The same rule applies to recent college graduates that still have party pictures up while they are job seeking. Colleges should also invest in making their graduates not only look good on paper, but making them reputable digital citizens, thus helping them get good jobs and start their careers.

To become a reputable digital citizen:

  1. Make sure your entire online presence is professional and consistent. All information given by you should be the same across all social media sites. This includes profile pictures. You should have a professional headshot and be recognizable in each one if the photos are different.
  2. Complete your profile! Do not have blanks and gaps on your profiles. Take the time to review and check that all basic information is filled in. It is also important that your job description is consistent on every page. If you get a promotion, immediately update your Linkedin profile so people know your new title and know your achievements.
  3. Engage clients and your fellow employees with good conversations. Your conversations become your digital foot print and reputation. “Good conversation creates good outcomes and that brings value to the organization and to the individual,” McCarty said.
  4. Building off of number two, be careful what you say. Be careful what you post and what you comment on. Also, monitor what your friends post about you and what pictures you are tagged in. It may come back to bite you. You still represent your organization even when you are not clocked in.

All of these rules are simple, but many people do not follow them. These simple things can enhance or mend your social presence. Go forth and become a good digital citizen.

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