The Internet offers amazing tools to present your personal brand to the world, but before you start, ask yourself a few questions. First: What do you want to achieve? Is it a fresh career? A new business to explore? Better visibility for your services? Second: What makes you special? You are your own brand ambassador — highlight the unique combination of skills, talents and experience that sets you apart! Here are 10 key steps to promote your personal brand online:
1. Focus on the future.
A personal brand isn’t a laundry list of past accomplishments or positions held. Remember your goals, and tell the story of the person you want to be… expert, thought leader, coach – whatever motivates you. This is your chance to envision your next steps in life, so make the most of it!
2. Be yourself.
While you’re crafting your brand to reflect your hopes and dreams, make sure the real you shines through. In blog posts, Tweets, comments and updates, avoid sounding too formal or imitative of other people. Your singular voice (like your unique skill set) is an asset, so keep it natural and stay true to your personal style.
3. Show your best side.
In the visual medium of the web, a great image speaks volumes. On your LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, Twitter feed, or any other online branding platform, make sure you use a professional-looking photo that complements your brand identity. Nothing too stiff or posed (or casual or silly!). Just you, projecting confidence.
4. Keep it fresh.
Nothing’s as stale as old content… keep your online presence current with relevant, up-to-date information. Post to your blog regularly, re-tweet articles, and update your professional bio with recent accomplishments. Give readers a reason to follow and engage with you!
5. Do it right.
What’s worse than banal content? Sloppy spelling and grammar. They totally undermine the value of your writing. These mistakes can turn off a recruiter or potential investor immediately. Remember: spell check is your friend!
6. Google yourself.
Think like a potential employer and research YOU. Go into incognito mode and see what Google reveals about your personal brand. Are the results relevant? Is anything embarrassing lurking, ready to torpedo your reputation? Stay on top of your online presence and don’t let old, unhelpful results dilute your brand identity.
7. Be consistent.
Successful brands use a variety of media, but their message is always the same. Be sure that the various facets of your online presence tell a consistent story. Do you have a serious and professional LinkedIn profile, but a celeb-obsessed Twitter account? Do you (over)share silly videos yet write thoughtful and insightful blog posts? Don’t confuse your audience.
8. Avoid social media pitfalls.
Unfortunately, the open nature of the web seems to bring out the worst in some people. Social media is littered with political rants and controversies that have no place in a carefully curated brand message. Feel free to express your opinions (with civility!), but keep them separate from your personal brand so they don’t distract from your networking or compromise your reputation.
9. Take it offline.
Before there was the web, there were real live conversations between real live people! Use online tools to reach out to a broad audience, but complement those efforts with good old-fashioned one-on-one communication. Whether it’s a formal meeting or a chat over coffee, face-to-face encounters can make the difference between occasional interactions and fruitful relationships.
10. Create community.
OK, you’ve developed a personal brand with an online presence. But don’t leave it as a monologue… engage with others through article links, re-Tweets, comments, etc. to promote a dialogue with others. The more you connect, the more visible you are, the more powerful your personal brand.