By Lee Aase, Director, Mayo Clinic Social Media Network
Your personal brand is among your most important assets as a professional, particularly as it is reflected in Internet search results.
What do people see when they go to Google (or another search engine) and enter your name?
For physicians this is particularly important, as various doctor-rating sites compete for search engine rankings. If you are not personally engaged in social media, the search results will represent what others have said about you (for good or ill), instead of reflecting your contributions.
So creating personal accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google (YouTube and Google+), Slideshare and Doximity (if you are a physician) is the most important strategy you can employ to ensure that the top search results for your name are those that represent you. And creating a blog or contributing to one can supercharge your search optimization.
Three keys to achieving best results are:
Consistency in username selection
Filling out your profiles with relevant information, and
Linking among your various accounts.
For example, here are the links to my social media accounts:
Admittedly, I am blessed with a short and unusual name, which makes it easier to achieve this consistency. The Smiths, Joneses and Andersons have a distinctiveness disadvantage here (while pronouncing their surnames is much easier than mine.)
Even if your name is common, however, you should find ways to use consistent account naming not just for the search engines, but so people encountering you in various platforms associate the account name with you.
So as you are creating your social networking accounts, keep these factors in mind:
Associate your gmail address (which relates to your YouTube and Google+ accounts) with all of your social networking accounts. If you use a work-related email and later leave that organization, you may have difficulty in recovering a forgotten password, although site increasingly offer other means of resetting passwords, such as sending a text message to a cell phone you have associated with your account. See the guidance in steps 2 and 3 below to help in picking your gmail address, if you don't already have one.
Twitter usernames are limited to 15 characters, and shorter is better. So in creating your social media personal brand you might want to start with Twitter. Once you have secured that account name, it’s more likely you will be able to use the same name for your other accounts.
If you are a physician, strongly consider including MD or Dr in your Twitter username. Doctors are among the most trusted professionals, so JSmith55905MD or DrJSmith55905 would give you more credibility than JohnSmith55905.
If your name is too common, too long or both, and if you can't work a meaningful portion of it into a Twitter username, then you could consider a pseudonym. But once you choose it, be consistent and use the same screen name on all of the platforms.
Go to Facebook, Google (YouTube and Google+), Slideshare, Pinterest and others to create your accounts (or claim you personalized URLs), maintaining your personal brand consistency.
Note that if you discover your Twitter name isn’t available on another important platform, you can go back and change your Twitter username. The key field for your account is the email address you used to create it. Some of the other platforms don't let you change your name or vanity URL once you're set it.
Add other relevant details to your social profiles. Make sure your real name is displayed, especially if you have used a pseudonym for your account name.
Link your accounts. This can help in making it easier to log in to sites (many offer Facebook or Twitter authentication), and for many platforms you can even create your accounts by signing in with Twitter or Facebook. So those should be the first two accounts you create, and that will make it easier to sign up for the others.
The images below show some examples of my linked accounts (YouTube linked to Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn connected to Slideshare, and my Twitter bio linked to my blog). Connections among these platforms helps Google (and other search engines) see that these all represent you. Note that you can connect accounts without having content automatically shared among them. You may not wish to have all of your tweets automatically posted to Facebook, and you certainly wouldn't want them posted to LinkedIn.
Assignment Part 1: After you have created or updated your accounts for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and/or Pinterest, link those accounts to your Social Media Health Network profile.
It's easy! Just click on your name in the right sidebar:
Then click the Edit link next to "My Social Profile Links"
This will enable you to enter your profile URLs for various platforms:
...which will then add the linked icons under your name:
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