From your Twitter posts to a comment given to a journalist or even an Instagram photo, our online activity inevitably informs people’s perceptions of who we are and what we stand for. Where once branding was the preserve of companies, now a personal brand already exists out there for each one of us. How you choose to guide and cultivate this digital footprint is up to you, though.
“Building a recognisable personal brand opens up professional opportunities,” explains Endaba’s founder and CEO Lynette Deutsch. “Businesses will be looking at this presence when researching future employees and checking whether they are a good fit.”
In the same way as body language can significantly effect the way people perceive us when meeting in person for the first time, our online profiling creates a powerful – and difficult to reverse – impression before we’ve even had a chance to speak. Building a trustworthy, authoritative and coherent personal brand can lead to more contacts and clients, increased industry recognition, even a better job.
Here are five tips for starting to build a positive and professional personal brand:
- Take control and monitor – starting with your name. Check what search engine results appear for you (this may be the first port of call for potential clients/employers), you can set up Google alerts to keep tabs on your profile, and if appropriate even secure relevant domain names and social media accounts to boost your rankings.
- Authenticity resonates with online audiences. By all means learn from others’ successful personal brands, but then ask yourself what sets you apart from the rest. Embrace your strengths and be true to your values. Those with a genuine passion and knowledge tend to engage and amass a large following because people know they can be trusted.
- Businesses post content that is relevant to their brand and engaging for their target audience. You should be thinking in the same way, with a consistent, appropriate message across all platforms.
- Strengthen and elevate your profile through connections with other people and brands that are respected in your industry. Research who the key influencers are and engage with them online via social media, forums, etc.
- Get exposure in the places where your target audience is spending time. For example, you can market your expertise and increase your audience by contributing as a guest blogger, speaking in a webinar or offering expert quotes for media articles.
- Choose a picture that is professional but honest – one that shows your humanness; the real you. That said – remember this is a picture that future employers will be looking at so avoid ones of you overdoing it at parties!