If you are a professional, you are most likely on LinkedIn. If you are a professional under the age of 50, you are probably on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. If you are a professional under the age of 50 and creatively minded, you are probably on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter—and you write blog posts.
Of course, that sort of categorization isn't an exact science, but the point is that social sites and Internet presence are becoming more important in today's business world. When you've been invited to a job interview, for example, your prospective employer is more likely to google your name than validate your college grade point average (GPA).
Here's how to centralize and connect the various manifestations of your online presence...
Determine where you are spending your time
The first step is to identify where you are spending most of your time online, and why.
Are you a photographer with your own wedding-photography business? You're probably uploading new photos daily to your blog or website. Are you out of college and actively seeking a job? You're most likely updating your Facebook page, tweeting, and maybe checking up on LinkedIn every other day or so.
Tracking where your time is spent will help you target your efforts and, if necessary, make changes to your online activity.
Choose your hub, and target it
Once you have allocated how you spend your online time, it's time to choose the place you deem most appropriate to become the "hub" of your online presence. Wait, what is the hub? It's the site or social network that will be the focus of your other online efforts and modes of presence.
Think of it as a big spider web. At the center will be your hub. For example, let's say your hub is your Facebook profile. All your other online efforts (e.g., Twitter page, LinkedIn profile) will become the outer architecture of your web and will connect to your Facebook page. That is quite simple to do, but it has huge and lasting effects.
For our example, you would start with your hub (Facebook) then make a list of social sites, blogs, and other sites you are on that overlap with your Facebook page. Do you have business contacts that are friends on Facebook? If so, LinkedIn would overlap. Do your Twitter followers ever show up on your Facebook wall? If so, Twitter would overlap. Once you have identified which sites overlap, direct visitors of those sites to your Facebook page by using anchor text or hyperlinks in your bios on those sites.
You may be thinking, "But I thought Twitter, Facebook, etc. links were nofollow links?" That's true; but for this scenario, it doesn't matter. You're not trying to benefit from link juice, you're simply organizing and pointing your social sites to a single place.
Once you have finished with the first "ring" of importance, identify other sites that do not overlap with your Facebook page. Then check whether those sites overlap with any of the sites in that first outer ring; if they do, point from them to the overlapping sites, which in turn will point to your hub. Your spider web may consist of only one outer ring, or multiple rings, depending on your online presence.
Here's what you don't want to do
Step three is more of a collection of things you shouldn't do.
Do not link your tweets to automatically update on your Facebook wall, or vice versa. It's lazy. Moreover, each social network has a distinct "language." When people start seeing hashtags and @ symbols in your Facebook status updates, it will make you look rude. Use the right language for the right network.
Do not simply link all your sites and networks to a single page and be done with it. If the sites have no reason to overlap, don't force it. Find how your sites interact, and spend time mapping out your spider web. That will keep your business friends from constantly reading your very personal tweets (unless they choose to seek them out by following your chain).
* * *
By creating your social hub and mapping out your spider web, you will have created a manageable Web presence that will not only be easier to maintain but will also be helpful in pushing certain people to the content most relevant to them.