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If someone were researching you online, what would they find?

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Over the course of any given year, I meet a lot of people. It’s the nature of my business. Essentially, in many ways, I get paid to know a lot of people. It’s good for business. It’s good for this blog. It’s good for the podcast. And it’s good for the events I help run.

And, when I meet someone for the first time, you can bet your behind I look them up online (let’s use my friend Karl, below, as an example).

I typically start on LinkedIn.

  • Where have they worked? (Ameriprise, FRWD, MinnPost, Ciceron)
  • Who do we know in common? (Lots of people!)
  • Where did they go to school? (Eau Claire grad)
  • What kinds of things do they like and comment on?

Then, I move to Facebook. Try to get a feel for who they are, as a person (if their profile is open, that is).

  • Are they married? (Yep)
  • Where do they live? (In the Seward neighborhood, so I know he’s a Minneapolis guy_
  • Do they have kids? (Yep–another item we can talk about)
  • What are they involved with? (He started a #MugshotMonday hashtag/blog/theme years ago; also loves the Pack; we might not be friends 🙂

Then, I just kinda look around the web for more info.

  • Are they on Instagram? (Yep)
  • What are they posting about there? (Beer! Another commonality!)
  • Do they blog? If yes, what do they blog about? And, have they been to #mnblogcon? (He has! And, he does blog and has for years!)

After all this digging around, I usually have a pretty good feel for the person (in this case, it seemed like Karl and I had a lot in common and plenty to talk about, which has absolutely been true!).

Except sometimes, the person I’m meeting with doesn’t really show up at all.

They have the bare minimum profile on LinkedIn–no head shot (now I don’t know what you look like!), few details on previous jobs and limited interaction.

They have a locked-up Facebook profile, which I can’t fault people for in today’s climate.

And I can find very little about them with a simple Google search.

That’s happened to me a few times recently. And, it got me thinking: What would people find if they researched ME online before our meeting? Because, certainly, this is happening, right? What would they find?

Well, I put myself through my own paces. Here’s what I think they’d find (if I was evaluating myself):

  • He’s a blogger! Looks like he talks about a variety of topics in the PR and social media worlds. Posts a couple times a week.
  • He’s an independent consultant. Has been for eight years now. Looks like he works with big companies like Sleep Number, Toro, Cargill and HealthFitness.
  • He’s pretty active on LinkedIn. He’s posted more than 180 articles on LinkedIn over the last few years. And he’s out there sharing, liking and commenting every day.
  • He also spends time on Facebook (lots of sports and PR/marketing talk here), and Instagram (lots of family and beer shots here).
  • And, it looks like he probably used to spend time on Twitter, but doesn’t do much there anymore.
  • Looking at a simple Google search, it looks like he started this #mnblogcon event. He has a podcast. And, he has an old blog out there on Blogspot.

So, overall, if I’m being objective, that’s a pretty fair picture of me. So, the online research is accurate.

The question is: What does the online research say about YOU?

Because, believe me, people are looking you up online. Whether it’s in preparation for an upcoming coffee, for a job interview, or because you’re starting to work with a new partner/agency. People are looking you up online every day.

Do you like what they’re finding?

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If someone were researching you online, what would they find?

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