What is your personal brand? Are you even aware that you have one?
People throw the word brand around a lot in business but did you know that as an individual, you too also have a personal brand? In a nutshell, a personal brand is your identity, we all have one, and it is what separates you from everyone else. Whether you are a graduate, job seeker, employee or small business owner how you present yourself to the world will determine whether you are considered a premium or budget ‘brand’. Harsh, but true.
So, what makes a great brand? A great brand has many dimensions and people assess a brand, without even realising it, across a mix of tangible and intangible attributes. In the commercial world, tangible attributes cover what consumers can see and are real, such as packaging, colour, design, name, size, formula. Intangible attributes cover what consumers themselves associate with a brand and are subjective, such as image, personality, values, reputation, benefits, quality. The same is also true for how your personal brand is judged, and with thanks to social media, prospective and current employees, collaborators and peers are judging you without ever needing to meet you – all it takes is a quick online search and away they go. However, used correctly, this strong personal brand can help your career and business get ahead. Done incorrectly however, and social media can unravel any brand equity you may have built up in you offline world.
A poorly managed personal brand for all to see on social media can, and will, unravel any brand brownie points you may have built up in you offline world. However when used correctly, social media can help take you to the next level in your career or business.
5 things you can do today to manage your social media personal brand
Run a brand audit on yourself
To get an idea of how you appear online, run a quick Google search of yourself and see what comes up. For most people, social media profiles such as LinkedIn, Google + or Facebook will be up the top, followed by any industry coverage, blog posts or other content where your name may have been included, such as local newspapers. Look for any negative coverage, duplicate accounts, misspellings, fraudulent accounts, forgotten accounts or rogue images, and where possible, get rid of them by shutting them down, asking friends to remove any content or if all else fails, by contacting the sites directly.
Develop a strategy
A solid personal brand strategy will help give you focus and set goal’s for yourself. Think about what you want to achieve both short and long term. For example, if you want to be seen as an up and comer in your industry, work toward building your network profiles to show you being at the forefront of what is going on in your industry. Interested in switching careers? Reach out to people already doing what you want to be doing and demonstrate understanding of your new career direction by joining in online forums or connecting with leaders in the field.
Create a consistent profile
Tidy up your profiles and make sure they are consistent so that you are easily recognisable across all your social media profiles.
- Use a clear head shot image and use the same one across all your profiles if possible
- Use the same name everywhere, don’t use nicknames and if you have changed for any reason, then update it everywhere
- Use clear and concise language to describe your skill set or area of interest, don’t forget to use keywords
- Stand out by being creative in how you describe yourself, use a headline to describe yourself.
- Proofread your pages for spelling or grammatical errors (please)
Separate your personal and business networks
If you are serious about getting ahead in your career or business then you need to make a couple of tough decisions when it comes to what you do on social media. We all love social media for sharing personal snaps, random musings and opinions on the latest episode of ‘Real Housewives of where ever land’, but, if this content is going to hinder you securing that promotion or nomination for industry body president (think offensive tweets, drunken party snaps or illegal activity caught on camera and uploaded by a ‘friend’), then you need to make a choice – lock it down with Fort Knox security settings, get rid of the offending accounts, use a pseudonym, or tidy them up and keep them professional. Don’t believe me, according to a recent study, 93% of employers, during the interview process will do a social media search on potential candidates.
Be active & present
Once you have gone to all this trouble, don’t let your hard work go to waste and let your profiles become a wasteland. Constant activity is the best way to build up your network and become known within your industry or the industry you want to get into. Keep up your profile by posting frequently, thank followers, respond to questions or mentions and participate in relevant groups, comment on blogs or create your own content to share.
Do you have any other tips to help manage your personal brand on social media? We’d love to hear from you.
Max & Buddy are marketing and social media experts. Contact us today and let us help you market your business the best possible way.