Growing your Personal Brand Online. I’ve looked at the implications of the move online for our personal brands, and highlighted some of the key issues one needs to consider: the implications of the greater transparency inherent in the digital world and the need for consistency, how and why to integrate the human touch into the online world, the need to keep reinventing yourself through your skills and how to network online. In this blog, I want to pull it all together with some brief tips for guiding your personal branding efforts online.
- Don’t forget your branding basics. Personal branding basically relies on a number of fundamental principles, no matter what channel is used. Whatever you might do online, you need to be consistent and authentic to who you are; you need to play to your strengths and build on them; and you need to work hard on differentiating yourself so that you stand out. It’s very important also—and this is Marketing 101—to know who your target market is and what is important to them.
- Create a solid presence online. The idea here is to create a “reference” for your online presence. One way is to publish a Wikipedia page containing biographical details and links to published articles—or create an online biography on one of your own social media pages. LinkedIn would probably work best. In the end, though, a website might be best (see below).
- Another great way to build presence is to react to other people’s posts that strike a chord with you, and volunteer to help others. Mutually beneficial interactions are the warp and weft of a strong online network.
- Create a plan for your online efforts. The ease with which online posts can be made can actually be a problem— keeping up the posts is critical to building a consistent, authentic online presence. Have a plan that is realistic in terms of the time you have to devote to online posting and the amount of content you can generate.
- Start small and build. A related strategy is to begin on one platform and build from there. LinkedIn is often seen as the best places to start, emerging as the most credible platform for business. If you have enough to say, and can keep it up, a blog that relates to your areas of expertise can be very useful in building—and growing—a personal brand.
- Keep a store of content to share. Curation is one of the buzzwords in the social media world. In pre-digital days, finding content was difficult, now too much content is the challenge. Becoming known as a provider of really useful content is a great way to build your personal brand—but of course you do need to understand what your target market wants (see above).
- Register your own domain name with an appropriate e-mail address and website. A simple website is a great way to launch yourself and to store everything else you do on social media channels in one place. Make sure you cross reference your website with your social media accounts as well. A website gives a certain amount of professional heft to your online brand, but it needs to be well designed and updated regularly.
- Treat your personal brand like a brand. Get yourself professionally photographed as well, and consider creating a simple “look and feel” for all the communications you put out. Consistency should be visual as well.
- Keep up with your online housekeeping. Every time you post something, make sure it is linked to your other online pages, and that all the information about yourself is current. This is a piece of unavoidable housekeeping that should have a place in your regular schedule. Other things to do regularly include looking at what your peers/ competitors are doing, and see whether you want to be inspired by it. Keep an eye out on developments in your industry, or industries in which you work, and respond to them if appropriate.
Your personal brand is you—make sure it shines online as well as in the real world. Follow these tips for growing your personal brand online!
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