Building your online brand
To start, take a subjective view of your current online brand.
1. Get Googling
Use Google and other major search engines to search for your name. What you see is what the rest of the world sees. If you don’t like it, don’t despair, it can be changed. Continue reading to find out how.
2. Are you getting it right on social?
Chances are you are already an active member on a number of social media networks. So grab a pad and pen, list all of your social accounts, and compare each of your profiles side by side.
The key to a strong personal online brand is consistency. Depending on the context, we recommend that each of your social media profiles is consistent – e.g. the same profile image, tagline, about me section and tone of voice. Get started - Now it’s time to take action to strengthen your personal brand online. The first step, tidying up your social media profiles is no simple task. But it doesn’t have to take over your life, just apply the following principles for each account:
3. Say cheese
We’ve all seen it, that cringe-worthy photo from a friends birthday party that she’s now using as her LinkedIn profile picture. Do not fall into this trap.
Your profile picture is one of the most impactful aspects of your social media presence, for two main reasons:
- It humanizes you: People are unlikely to want to connect with an anonymous LinkedIn profile or a faceless Facebook profile
- You’ll get recognized: If you come across your connections in real life they are more likely to recognize you if you have a current profile picture
It’s therefore incredibly important that you get this right. So here are a few things to think about before your grab your smartphone and get snapping: Take a head, neck and shoulders shot of you (and only you) looking smart, natural and most importantly, smiling!
Refrain from using your company logo as part of your profile picture. As a general rule, people are more likely to connect with people rather than organizations.
Use the same profile image across all your social media platforms – this will help you build a strong brand online, as well as ensuring you are easily recognized.
4. Own your name
Protect yourself from ‘cyber-squatters’ on social media platforms by using a consistent user name across all sites.
You can check the availability of usernames visiting namechk.com. You should also take a few moments to secure your personalized URL on LinkedIn. This will both boost your search engine ranking results, and make it easier for people to track you down on LinkedIn.
5. Protect your privacy
Become knowledgeable with the privacy settings of each of your social channels before it’s too late. Take control and only allow your audience to see what you want them to see.
6. What do you want the world to know about you?
Ok, so this bit requires some thought. What sets you apart from everyone else? Why should people take the time to visit your social media profile? The bio you use for your social media profiles should sum up your personal brand in a concise and compelling way.
7. Stop being so shy
Online conversations are happening everywhere, all the time, so don’t be shy, get involved. Whether it be commenting on a blog post, or responding to a discussion in a LinkedIn group, this is a great opportunity to showcase your expertise. Comment as often as you can, as this will ensure you stay in the forefront of your network’s minds. With a little bit of practice, you’ll be so good that your network won’t be able to ignore you. But remember, to avoid any blunders, think before you post.
Finally, if you really want to go the extra mile, consider starting your own blog. With a little time and a lot of commitment and focus you can build the go-to online resource for your area of expertize, which will further differentiate you from your competition.
8. Make it easy for people to find you online
Use About.me to make it even easier for people to find you. This online branding tool will allow you to create a personal homepage, add a bio, your CV, a profile picture and links to all of your social media profiles. Once you’re done, you will have created your very own SEO-friendly online hub which will allow anyone to interact with you in whatever way they wish.
9. Monitor your personal brand online
There are a number of tools you can use to monitor your personal brand online including:
Klout: This platform helps you measure how influential you are in your area of expertise. It will give you a score of between 0-100 which is partly determined by who your followers are and how you interact with them online. However, it is important to stress that although your Klout score is important, it is not the be all and end all when it comes to monitoring your personal brand online, the tools mentioned below can also be valuable.
Google Alerts: By signing up to Google Alerts, each time you are mentioned online, you will receive an automatic alert sent directly to your inbox. You can then ensure you are the first to write a comment response, retweet or send a personal message in response, thus strengthening your personal brand even further.
Hootsuite: This tool lets you track conversations that mention you across Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.
Following these 9 steps will help put you on the right path to creating and monitoring a strong personal brand online, which complements the offline reputation you have spent years crafting. If you have any tips to help others build a robust personal online brand, feel free to share your insights.