With the popularity of facebook, twitter, and LinkedIn each and everyone of us has a personal brand just out there on the internet. Why would you not take control of your personal branding and use it as just another tool at your disposal.
If I were to do business with someone or hire them for a job, the very first thing I will do is a google search on their name. This is your personal brand. If you are applying for a job and they look you up on LinkedIn, and they see a half filled out profile, with only a few connections, this will affect how they see you. But if they go to your profile, see a detailed biography, a healthy amount of followers, and you write and share posts about leadership in the workforce, then they will have a very different image to you.
It’s 2021. What we do, and the information in the digital space MATTERS.
We are going to give you 6 tips on how to take control and become a master at personal branding.
1. See what your online persona already looks like
This is the very first step you should do when taking control of your personal branding. And it is as simple as a google search of your name. If you have a common name, add your location, or job title to it. You just want to find yourself. Now just take stock of what you see. Do you see just your social media? That’s good, that’s a clean state. But maybe you see something that surprises you? Take stock of everything that is on the first page of google. Be very aware of the very first things that come up. Know this is how you will be presented to anyone searching for you. And in this day and age. You will be googled more often than you think, in both your professional and personal life. This could be your first impression and as we all know, first impressions are important.
2. Try to change anything that may make you look bad
If someone was searching your name after contemplating your services or hiring you, and they see something that is less than flattering, they may just end the search right there and forget about you. Try to remove anything that may make you look bad. Now I’m not saying try to be deceptive and be scummy or anything like that. There are just somethings we have done online that maybe we shouldn’t have. I will give you a personal experience. For me like the 7th thing down on my google results page was my YouTube page. When I was 16, I had dreams of becoming a youtuber. So I made an account and wrote a bio. Problem was, I was 16. So It was very childish and even included a curse word. After moving on from that dream, I forgot all about my bio and just used my YouTube account to follow people. Well, a decade later that same bio was there, and I was shocked. I had forgotten all about it, and wondered if people actually saw it when they googled my name. I am sure some of you can relate to this. We have to remember the internet is forever. So when we are melodramatic teens making waves on the internet, do damage control as an adult.
Try to change anything that might look negative on you. Even if it is a weird post, you made on a defunct forum, email them and see if it can be taken down. Take control of anything that has your name on it and make it work for you.
3. Know your story
According to the self-presentation theory, you need to present your life as a play and your actions online are part of the play. Well, what kind of story are you telling? This has a deep effect that should resonate with everything you do online. I’ll give you an example.
Gary Vaynerchuk or “GaryVee” has a heavily cultivated story. He is a serial entrepreneur and one of the leading global minds on what’s next in culture, relevance and the internet. At Least according to him. And if you watch his YouTube videos, it’s always people coming to him for answers. And of course he has the answers. Whether or not this is true (it’s definitely true) Gary presents his story and affirms it with each YouTube video, blog post, tweet or public appearance. His actions feed into his personal branding, and his personal branding feed into his actions. So now when people think of Gary Vaynerchuk, they think exactly what he wants them to think. Knowing your story and sticking to it will guide you to your personal brand.
4. Talk about how awesome you are without being obvious about it
It is the age of the humble brag. When making posts, or liking things on LinkedIn, consider “how does this make me look good?” And “does this go with my personal story?” I know it seems vain and cringe inducing, but these sorts of things have a significant effect on how you are perceived. Instead of complaining online about how you do all the work at your current job, frame it as sharing stories of taking leadership in your workplace. By sharing stories about your personal life, or making the best out of an unpleasant situation, will leave a mark on anyone looking. These attributes will be considered at a professional level. Even if it’s on a subconscious level, it still counts. Check it.
5. Carefully watch your online reputation
You have to be in an ever ending battle with your reputation. As hard as it is to build up your personal brand, you can destroy it in an instant. And once that credibility is gone, it is very difficult to get it back. This will take discipline and common sense. I’ll give you some do’s and don’ts
- Regularly post on your blog as an industry professional
- Encourage anyone that uses your product or services to give a review
- Speak in a positive manner about your industry or the people in it.
- Get into internet fights with trolls on twitter
- Argue with or ignore customers who give critical reviews.
- Pay for good reviews.
6. Watch what is working and tweak accordingly
This is the age of data, and you need to make it work for you. If you do all the above, and you still don’t get better results, you need to change your strategy, or your story. Did you write an edgy blog post that doesn’t really reflect your online persona, and it got a lot of attention? Well, you might need to sit down and see if going more in that direction is what you need to do. If you are just a professional trying to get jobs, well where you are employed is your qualitative variable (big data word, just means something you can’t measure with numbers. But if you are an entrepreneur or freelancer, clicks and dollars is the bottom line, and that’s what is important. If what you are doing is getting more clicks and more ales, then keep doing that and refine. No one just hits on the thing that works the first day and rolls with that plan for the rest of their professional life. The ones that get big, and that stay big are the ones who can be agile, and roll with the waves. So watch your numbers and get them to go up. It’s that simple.
Your personal branding needs to be considered as a professional, especially if you are an entrepreneur or a freelancer. These are things you need to make a habit and keep as lifelong things to consider. It may not be easy, but it is so worth it. There are many millionaires off of their personal brand alone. Don’t take these things lightly and get to work. As Jay Z once said, “I’m not a businessman, I’m a BUSINESS, man!”