An online personal brand sets you apart and helps you form a lasting impression on both employers, colleagues and customers. Without an attractive personal brand to reach your intended audience, it may be difficult for you to build a profitable business or land the job of your dreams.
How can an online brand advance your goals?Personal brands are important to everyone, not just marketers and entrepreneurs. They can go a long way in advancing your professional status.
For instance, if you want to take on more customers, your brand is crucial to attracting new clients and keeping the ones you already have. An online brand, when done right, provides customers not just with a snapshot of the services you offer but who you are, as well.
If you’re looking for a new job, a good personal brand can get you one step closer to an offer letter. Many employers will Google you and study your LinkedIn profile before you even walk through the door. A profile photo and website can either serve to pique someone’s interest or, on the flip side, be a turnoff. That’s why having a professional and unique online brand can set you apart.
How do you figure out your personal brand?When creating your personal brand, it’s smart to first identify your values. Doing so will help as you begin establishing business practices. By aligning your values with your strategy, you’ll have direction for the choices you make.
It can be helpful to see what others are doing to get some ideas, but no matter how much you admire what a competitor has done—don’t copy it. The brand might work for someone else, but its values and target audience might be different from yours. Remember that no two businesses are the same. Stay in alignment with your values and develop a brand that works for you. Your personal brand can only be told by you.
How should you evaluate your personal brand?Once you’ve come up with an online personal brand that you are happy with, you’ll want to be sure that it sounds like you.
First, consult those closest to you—your friends, family and colleagues—to see if the brand looks and feels like you. Others often can see us more clearly than we see ourselves. Ask them to choose adjectives that define you and see if you can use them to describe your site.
Next, revise your brand as needed, keeping in mind the adjectives that resonate with you the most. Ask someone who doesn’t know you well for his or her first impression of your online brand. This might be a co-worker or a friend of a friend. Choosing someone objective can go a long way in getting you honest feedback. You might even want to use a free and anonymous survey tool to collect opinions.
Finally, don’t forget to Google yourself to see what material comes up. You might be surprised what you find. Remove any content that isn’t professional or that doesn’t align with the impression you want to leave on clients or potential employers.
How should you determine what your brand should say?
It might seem overwhelming to try to package your values and personal story into words or images, but there are a few tips and tricks that will help you get started.
Remember who your audience is and who you want to reach, and to align your communication in a way that sounds appropriate. While you always want to sound like you, it’s important to stay professional no matter what medium you are using, whether that’s your blog or social media channels.
It’s crucial that you stay consistent over time. If you find that you’re struggling with consistency, always return to your values and the adjectives that your friends and family gave you. When you have a consistent message, your customers will find it easier to trust you and remember who you are.
Finally, think carefully about the photos you are choosing to use. Of course, keep them professional, but remember that they’re the human face to all your online interactions. Choose photos that truly reflect the image you want to convey.
Having a unique online personal brand will help you go a long way in achieving your professional career goals. Over time, your career will evolve, and you should revisit your personal brand to make sure it is still in alignment with your values.