Smart Ideas To Help You Develop And Manage Your Online Identity And Reputation

Make Friends With Your Followers!

Be open, friendly and curious about people who choose to follow you online. Ask questions, respond and show concern to develop a loyal and helpful following.
Be open, friendly and curious about people who choose to follow you online. Ask questions, respond and show concern to develop a loyal and helpful following. | Source

Showcase Your Best Characteristics In Your Online Persona

We are all a combination of traits, likes and dislikes. This is only natural in the real world; however, it can be very confusing in the virtual world. If you are presenting your business or a cause, too much self disclosure or drama can detract from the important information you want to convey.

When you communicate with others online, it is important to be consistent. Though you may feel that it is dishonest to be less than completely forthcoming, the fact is your online persona will have far more success when presented as a character made up of the best parts of yourself. If you are communicating with others online as part of a business or other type of venture, it is important to present a consistent image.

Your Followers Expect You To Stay In Character

If you are sharing a message of caring, compassion, inclusion and openness, be sure your actions toward your followers reflect just that!
If you are sharing a message of caring, compassion, inclusion and openness, be sure your actions toward your followers reflect just that! | Source

Master The Art Of Conversation To Build An Excellent Online Image

Practice What You Preach!

People who are involved in compassionate work must always take care to exhibit compassion in online interactions, especially those related to that work. If you set up a website to minister to people and you invite people to join you, it is important that you make them feel welcome and show an interest in them when they do. In the real world, you may be lovingly known as crusty and hard to please by your circle of actual friends. This kind of thing is a lot easier to pull off in person than virtually.


If you are offering an interesting message and a high quality experience, your online community will attract lots of different kinds of people who will interact with you. Remember that they will not have the benefit of seeing the expression on your face, hearing the tone of your voice or observing your work with others in order to form an opinion of you. They will only be able to form an opinion based upon their interactions with you and your responses to them (or lack thereof). For this reason, it is very important that you establish a way of greeting and welcoming newcomers and showing interest and concern. Here are a few ideas.


Establish A Standard Greeting Practice


When someone new joins your group, specifically welcome that person and ask them to share a few words about out themselves. Ask questions! Find out why the person was attracted to your group and what the person hopes to gain by joining. Ask how the person makes a living, what books he or she has read, where the person lives and so on.


Are you seeing a theme here? When someone shows and interest in you and your cause, turn to the 5Ws - who, what, where, when, why and how - to get to know that person and let him or her know that you are interested and welcoming. If doing this would be a challenge to you, select a welcoming committee to do it for you. Remember that people who join online communities are seeking community.


Show That You Care

Build a relationship with your followers. Don't just drop the ball after a person has joined your group. When a person takes the time to make comments about and share your posts, respond to and thank that person. Understand that the fact that the person has sought you out and connected with you means that the person likes what you are doing and wants to support you. Show some appreciation.


If you have a naturally defensive nature, give it a rest. Finding fault in your followers’ posts and taking offense easily will not help you keep a healthy following. Always focus on the positive in comments and posts from followers and always thank your followers for their ongoing interest in you.

Shock Value Is Overrated!

Avoid surprising your followers with posts, comments and content that seem out of character. Establishing separate pages for separate topics is a smart idea.
Avoid surprising your followers with posts, comments and content that seem out of character. Establishing separate pages for separate topics is a smart idea. | Source

Solid Advice Can Reduce Unpleasant Surprises

Don't Tell All!

Carefully pick and choose the details of your life to share with your followers. They neither need, nor want to know EVERYTHING!
Carefully pick and choose the details of your life to share with your followers. They neither need, nor want to know EVERYTHING! | Source

Present A Consistent Image

You personally may very well be a new age, healthy living spiritual counselor who also shops the malls and is not really concerned about the ills and social inequalities created by globalization. That's OK. People often possess internal contradictions; however, if you are promoting your new age, healthy living, spiritual counseling business on your social media page, do not also promote your affiliation with companies that are bound to offend your potential clientèle.


It is perfectly understandable that you might be struggling for money and needing to shop at establishments with less than stellar social consciousness reputations. You might also join these companies' affiliate programs, but if you do, keep your two enterprises separate. Many people who join affiliate networks promote their affiliations with online content. If you have personal affiliations that are not in agreement with your professional, online image, create a pen name and use that to promote your affiliations on separate social media pages and/or different websites.


Develop Your Online Personal Characteristics In A Focused Manner

Being multifaceted is a natural part of being human, but it doesn't play well online. For this reason, compartmentalization is actually a positive trait in the virtual world. While those who know you personally may have no trouble reconciling your real life contradictions, those who know you virtually will only be confused and disappointed by them.

This state of affairs can backfire on you by gaining you enemies, harming your cause or business and getting you labeled as a hypocrite. When you set up a website to promote your cause or business, be sure to establish a mission statement (either onsite or in your mind) and adhere to it. In this way, you establish guidelines that will help you keep your information and your image consistent so that you and your followers can enjoy a better and more successful online experience.


Copyright:SuzanneBennett:January 8, 2014

Manage Your Online Persona And Embrace The Awkward!

Your Best Self Is Also Your True Self!

To Thine Own Self Be True!

Focusing your attention on your best characteristics and presenting them consistently does not in any way mean that you should not be yourself! Present your best self while conveying your true thoughts and remember your followers are there because they like you and want to interact with you about your business or cause. Keep your posts upbeat, friendly and relevant and share your best true self!

If you must discuss something unpleasant, do it with a smile! :)

More by this Author


17 comments

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

In particular I love that photo of the snake sneaking up on that lady with her back turned. That's what social media can do if we're not careful -- photos, self-disclosed information, even details about where we are and what we're doing at the moment. On Facebook, I see so many people posting or liking comments that they'd never make or agree with in person -- political or hatebased comments. They also intentionally try to portray themselves as much different from how they are in person. We need to remember that this stuff is forever, and like that snake it can sneak up on you when you're least expecting. You're right -- people need to be consistent and true about who they really are. "Friends" know the real you anyhow. Voted up and more.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 2 years ago from Texas Author

Add Your Thanks, Flourish! Yes your comment is very true. While the focus of my article is simply that people need to think about their public image and present it consistently in both words and actions and not spring strange surprises on their followers. It is also true that everyone posting online must take care not to disclose very personal information or say things that can be misconstrued, taken out of context and used against them. Thanks for reading, commenting and voting! :)


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago

Suzanne, this is very, very important information for your followers and readers, and I try very hard not to put to much personal information out there. I thought of using a pin name, but most of my friends and family know who I am, so why bother with an alias?

Voted up UAI, and shared.

I know that I will be back to re-read some of this and look at the videos again. Thank you for the tips, my friend.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 2 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks Shyron. Yes, I use my own name for lots of stuff, and I have a pen name for general stuff that I feel doesn't contribute to or support the image I want to convey. Putting too much personal info out there is negative both because it can endanger you and because it can detract from what you really want your followers to focus on.

For example, if you (the general you) are promoting your natural healing, spiritual exploration, counseling, mystic website you are unlikely to attract followers who will support the fact that you are also signed up for the WalMart affiliate program. For this reason, posting links to WalMart products on your business website or your linked Facebook page is a very bad idea, indeed. It is off-putting to the people you want to attract.

This is when setting up a separate affiliate website with a pseudonym is a good idea. Alternately, you could use your own name but be very certain to keep your mailing and followers lists separate.

Aren't the videos cute? I wasn't able to find this gal's name, but she is a good example of what I mean. She has several different YouTube channels for different kinds of topics AND she is her own slightly awkward, geeky self across the board. She apparently doesn't try to make herself seem to be anything other than what she is, a smart, slightly cynical, very creative young woman. :)

@FlourishAnyway: That "Add your..." at the beginning of my response to you sneaked in on its own. I didn't put it there! :D


Crystal Tatum profile image

Crystal Tatum 2 years ago from Georgia

Great advice. We don't have the benefit of hearing a person's tone of voice or seeing her facial expression online - just words on a page - and they can easily be misinterpreted. It's tricky to find the right tone, but perhaps the best rule of thumb is to err on the side of courtesy and politeness, or, as you said, showcasing your best features. Well done on this one. Sharing!


dghbrh profile image

dghbrh 2 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

Very informative and useful hub here. The pic with the snake behind the lady is way interesting and very much true regarding the social media sites if we are not careful enough. Thanks for sharing it. Shared and votes way up.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 2 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks Crystal and DG! I'm surprised by how much impact that one image has. I almost didn't use that one! I'm glad I did! :)


thebiologyofleah profile image

thebiologyofleah 2 years ago from Massachusetts

This is a really informative article for anyone hoping to properly navigate the world of online interactions. Thanks so much for sharing- you've raised so many good points to keep in mind. I particularly like your emphasis on being consistent in the online image you present. Also the idea that online interaction is a two way street, in common with real life- treat others how you would like to be treated!

Voted up!


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 2 years ago from Texas Author

Many thanks! I appreciate your kind words and your vote of confidence! :)


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

Today it is vital to maintain a consistent image and presentation online. People will identify you easily. Your message here is important and hits the target on how to maintain a good image online.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 2 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks, Teaches! :)


Brian Prickril profile image

Brian Prickril 2 years ago from Savannah, GA

Thanks for the advise. I'm kind of new to online networking, so I'm approaching it slowly. At forty years old, I am attempting to find a new way to make a living. The conventional way was murdering me! I am seeing a whole new world of opportunities and how social networking can play an important role. I will try to remember your words of wisdom.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 2 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks! Yeah, I have been in the same boat. I can't stand the 9-5, and it's not anything anyone can count on any more. For a number of years, I struggled with yard sales, flea markets, antique malls and so on. The Internet has really blossomed in the last 6 years, though, and there are a lot more opportunities. I don't think you can really get rich, but you can get by and have your time and freedom. :)


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago

Suzanne, again, this is very, very important information for followers and readers alike.

Voted up UAI, and shared.

I know that I will be back to read this and look at the videos again.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 2 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks! I'm glad you find it helpful! :)


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Online identity requires a fair amount of security and you aren't always familiar with what goes on the web.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 2 years ago from Texas Author

That's true. I think it's important to craft your online identity carefully and share information judiciously.

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