Recently, I was approached by a freelance PR person who wanted to work with my agency as a subcontractor. As I always do when on the phone with someone I have never met before, I Google searched her name.

I couldn’t find anything.

I asked how she spelled her name, thinking perhaps I had misspelled it, and still nothing.

Then, I told her that if we were going to approach clients as a team, we would need to be sure we had an online presence that represented our affiliation and partnership. She said, and I quote, “Oh, that online stuff, I pretty much stay away from that. I don’t have time!”

That online stuff?

Social media iconsIn today’s business world, if you don’t show up in a variety of places on the Internet when someone Googles your name, it’s as if you do not exist. People want to see your LinkedIn profile to quickly review your job experience and educational background, they want to see your Twitter or Facebook profile to see how you interact with others and who is in your network, and ideally, they want to see you on a variety of websites including your company or employer, and perhaps a media site such as a newspaper, TV station or radio station for media appearances you have made and interviews you’ve done.

If you are reading this article today, you know you exist. But, if you’re talking with me on the phone and I can’t find you online, I don’t think you exist.

It may sound absurd, but it’s today’s reality.

So here are five tips to be sure the people you are trying to connect with know that you exist:

  1. Google your name and see what comes up. If you are not on the first or second page of Google results, you do not exist.
  2. Get a professional headshot. It needs to be professional, not just a snapshot.
  3. Create a LinkedIn profile using your new headshot, and keep adding more information, connections and credentials to it over time.
  4. Decide if you want to commit to Twitter or Facebook or both. I recommend you use these two social networks because they are huge and popular, and it’s commonly where people will look for you.
  5. Set aside at least 15 to 30 minutes a day to update your social networks, connect with new people and put out new content such as articles, photos, videos and comments. Be sure to comment and like other peoples’ content because people will think you are self-centered if it’s always about you.