Someone once said that we are happiest when people see us as we see ourselves. But that’s not always easy to control on the Internet. It gets easier, though, when you are armed with information. Today’s Friday Five ponders how we look online, with tips for making a positive impression.
1. Listen in. You may be clear about what you think of you and still be very curious about what others are saying about you. Now there are many ways to find out. Social Media Today describes 5 Free and Easy Listening Tools for Social Media Monitoring. By searching keywords and phrases, you can peek into your client’s or colleague’s tweets and blogs and read just what they are writing about you. Don’t be afraid. It’s all good.
2. Be Easily Understood. Any regular reader of the New York Times can tell you that infographics are the wave of the future. A picture really is—duh!—worth a 1,000 words. While the Times may have the biggest corner on the best graphics, even you can easily convert words to pithy images. Here are 10 Awesome Free Tools to Make Infographics. Pop them into your website, reports, and PowerPoint or Prezi slides. Visual representation of data holds people’s attention and gets straight to the point.
3. Get ready for your close-up. Did you know that you can attach a photo or graphic (like your firm logo) to your e-mail addresses, so that tiny square image follows you around the web, for example, any time you comment on a blog? It’s called a “Globally Recognized Avatar,” or Gravatar, and once you sign up, your Gravatar goes everywhere! (Yes, yet one more piece of the branding thing you need to worry about.) The Blog Tyrant explains Gravatars’ magical powers in 4 Vital Tips to Get Your Comments Clicked and Noticed. With examples!
4. Leave Footprints. It’s not just how you look, it’s also about where you are when you are seen and how frequently you are seen there (location, location, location). Used to be that we worried about how many times to mail a brochure or place an ad so we’d get enough exposure to be memorable. The new frequency issue has to do with leaving footprints all across the Web, in a nice way, to drive traffic back to your site and ultimately boost your business. So check Mashable’s recent how-to article, Spread Your Business Footprint Around the Web.
5. Know who’s watching. While it seems a given that social media is the answer to everything from smelly feet to international conflict, there are actual facts out there to ground your thinking in reality and help you make decisions about how you use it. Ignite Media’s 2011 Social Network Analysis Report is hot off the presses … er … keyboard. Explore the stats geographically as well as demographically. Some of it’s quite surprising. Who would have guessed that Turkey and Tunisia are home to the most Facebook users? Or that Milpitas, CA, had the highest percentage of Tweeters? (Okay, you’re right. We could have guessed that.)
Bonus. While we’re on the subject of geography, here’s a fairly telling (and fun) infographic. R.Luke DuBois has put together digital maps based on words most frequently used in dating profiles, organized by congressional voting district. Find out where the self-identified loneliest, kinkiest, shyest or funniest people reside. You can even drill down into the information by zip code and shake your head over the people who live near you.