The STARS student services support program at Neosho County Community College had a guest on Wednesday night as it invited a national speaker to talk to students about how to put their best feet forward on social media and how to build their own online brands.
Josh Ochs, Los Angeles, reaches an audience of around 2 million people per year. He has written six books on building a social media presence.
“Our idea is we wanted the kids to learn how to have a positive online presence,” STARS director Bart Chaney said. “Sometimes we don’t think about what we post online and what that could mean not landing the big job, or even getting into a four-year university.”
Ochs learned his techniques while working at Walt Disney, where he learned about promotion and self-promotion.
Ochs began the program at NCCC by asking everyone to Google their own names. He then asked if they were, in fact, on the first page of results on the platform.
Some of the students were, but most were not.
“We want to teach students how to shine online. Essentially, we want to show them all these random things that pop up when searching their names. We want to teach them how to build a personal brand. We want to show them how others will search for them on Google. Then show them how separate themselves with positive, authentic posts,” Ochs said.
He also showed the students how to make a post that could result in them losing their job in a single tweet.
“We talk about how to be positive, but we also show them there are ramifications for some of the things we tweet,” Ochs said. Ochs told the students if they have a Google account they have access to sites.google.com, which opens the door to creating an online brand.
“You can create a beautiful, simple website for basically nothing on Google. In turn, you can link it to all your social media accounts, which allows Google to know exactly who you are,” Ochs said. “You shouldn’t want to try to hide things – make it easy for employers to find you. They can see exactly who you are and what you are doing and know it is the real you.”
He told students to get a LinkedIn account and update it every 30 days. They should also search their names once a month and see what comes up in the results.
“Someone may have posted a picture of you and you can contact them and have them remove the negative image,” he noted. “It only takes around five days to be removed.”
He said though it takes around 30 minutes a week, everyone can all improve their online brand.
“Just consider it extra credit,” he said. “I always tell people when they make a post on social media, go through these three steps. Ask yourself if it is light, bright and polite. You want to make sure you come off as grateful and authentic. Don’t be afraid to show your goofy side, things that make you who you are. But there are limits.”
He ended the 30-minute presentation by showing an example of a girl who was hired by a large company, only to lose the job days later because of a tweet.
“All it takes is one simple tweet that haunts you forever. But if you are light, bright and polite, these things will not happen,” he said.
Ochs held three presentations and reached more than 100 students and faculty members throughout the day.