Every time you attend a networking meeting, visit a client, show up on a Zoom meeting, post on social media – or even chat with a friend – somebody is watching.  And every move you make is measured against your reputation.

A few years back I was lecturing some students doing their post-graduate degree in marketing.  When I asked what they posted on the personal Facebook profiles, they were insistent that it wasn’t relevant to their professional activities.

When I pointed out that smart companies always check out the social media of potential candidates, they said ‘that’s not fair’!

My reply was that it doesn’t matter if it’s fair or not, if you choose to be present on social platforms, it goes with the territory.

People make judgments about everything they see or hear whether it’s something they’ve experienced in person or third-hand.

I know of a job offer that was NOT made because of what was posted on the candidates social media.  While he was an excellent candidate on paper and interviewed well, his social media featured the kind of language the company didn’t want in-house.

If you belong to a networking group and you’re always late or you’re disorganised on a regular basis, you may be teased, but other members of the group will also tag you as ‘late’ or ‘disorganised’.  Even if they don’t mean to be negative about you, this is what they expect from you so it becomes part of your ‘description’.

If your blogs are consistently combative or argumentative, that also affects people’s perception of you and your business.

If you constantly complain about things or tend to talk about things in a negative way – that’s what shapes people’s view of you and your approach to business.

You can see how even small things can affect your reputation.

I don’t think you should try to be someone you aren’t, but I do think that you need to think about what image you’re projecting with everything you do and say.  People are watching – not to catch you out, but simply to build their internal picture of who and what you are.  Make sure you’re presenting the picture you want them to see.