Building a Brand: Why Googling Yourself Isn't a Vanity Exercise

Isn't social media fun? With Facebook, we've connected with childhood, high school and college friends. We boast about our kids on Instagram, and Twitter allows us to send out links to interesting articles. LinkedIn is a great place for all of your professional accomplishments. There are so many reasons to like and enjoy social media, but … You knew that was coming.

But remember, all of this activity is leaving a digital footprint that people use to form opinions about you – and your business.

Social media is an important part of building your brand.  You probably have figured out how to leverage LinkedIn and possibly Twitter and Facebook for your practice.  However, don’t under estimate what Google will pull together when a new or potential patient enters your name into a search engine.

Go ahead and try it – both with and without doctor in front of your name. What do you see on the first page of results?  What do the second and third pages look like? How did that rant about drivers at your child’s school end up there? Or that link to the slightly off-color joke that you found amusing seven years ago and shared with your network of friends. 

Now click on the images link. Do you see any pictures of you? Depending on your  privacy settings or your friends’ settings), there may be photos that are no longer funny or appropriate. Perhaps you found that uncomfortable family photo that nobody outside the family really should see but your cousin Sally tagged you anyway.

What does all this say about you? It depends. Some people will take it at what is – an interesting history of you. But, as you are trying to build a professional brand, it may be distracting and unfortunately, depending on the content, it may be an inaccurate picture of who you are.

So what can you do?

  • Check your privacy settings on your personal accounts. There’s no need to stop sharing on social media networks, but make sure that your settings show content only to people who can see your account. 
  • Untag photos that others have tagged you in. This is fairly easy to do. On Facebook, simply go to the gear in the upper right corner, click on the privacy settings. There it will prompt you to “untag/report.”  Don’t worry, untagging yourself won’t report the original person who tagged you unless you opt-in during the next step.
  • Be intentional. Think about what you post and where. Think about your content in a manner similar to if you were interviewing for a job.
  • Google yourself a few times a year – more if you find things that concern you.  Make sure you are comfortable with what you see.

In the end, just remember YOU are in control of your content. Being careful. Regularly monitoring this will help you keep that brand just the way you want it – a true reflection of you.

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