In today’s world individuals and companies alike are concerned about their computer security and online privacy. They have a good reason to be: According to HaveIBeenPwned, over 2 billion breached accounts have had personal details revealed in cybersecurity attacks and many people are impersonated online every day. However, impersonation alone is not a criminal or civil offence. It requires defamation or misuse of private information to be able to take an offender to court so it’s definitely best to prepare and control your online presence & personal brand now rather than have to undergo a lengthy legal process later.
There are many strategies for protecting your identity online. Some range from having none to minimal digital footprint to conducting
There is one strategy to maintain a strong professional brand that is simple and quick.
The way you do this is by creating as much professional and positive information about you on the internet as possible. Here’s a small example to show you how it works:
Imagine that a fake news report or a social media account impersonating you is put on the internet. Your clients and colleagues are unlikely to come across it amidst the pages of reliable and complementary information about you and your work.
Here are 4 simple steps to start putting this strategy in place:
- Footprint yourself: This is acting as a potential client or connection and searching the internet for yourself. You should be doing this regularly anyway, but if not, this is the best way to do it: Go into your browser’s private mode and search for your name. Then you need to decide which of these search results give a negative, positive or irrelevant view of you. Try searching for your name (I.E John Doe) in a few different ways to gather your results (John Doe London).
- Begin to sort and optimise the results we gathered earlier: Irrelevant results can be ignored and positive results we will save for later. This is where the negative results are important. If you are the owner of the account (Twitter, Facebook) and it shows you in a bad light then the simple answer is making your profile private. If you really want to make sure that data is kept secret, deleting your account is the best way to ensure this. Normally, this means that the service provider must delete all data regarding your account. If you don’t have control over the website or negative information, you can submit a takedown notice to Google, found here
- Reinforcing a positive image: Now we have cleared up all of the negative posts about your personal brand (if you had any), we can move on to reinforcing your professional and reliable personal image. Ensure that your social media accounts are set to your name if possible (@ElliotPadfield) and make insightful posts so clients and potential employers see that you are experienced in your field or you are a thought leader.
- Set up a professional website: This can be very simple but can act as your personal portfolio. Ideally, you should have a domain name representing you (elliotpadfield.com). Keep it clean and simple. Again this is all adding to the opinions that people will have of you. Here is a useful article about the best personal websites that you can use as inspiration.
These are a few simple tips on how to put this strategy in place. Follow me on LinkedIn or sign up to my mailing list to be notified when I post new articles explaining more in-depth ways to build your personal brand.