The world used to be a very big place… Not anymore. Today, the world is at your fingertips. The best part about having the world at your fingertips? You, as a person, have now become an explicit part of that world.
If you have a Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter account, your digital footprint (personal brand) exists, whether you consciously and carefully cultivated it or not. It has been established and further supplemented by friends, family, colleagues and elaborated on by your general movement in the ether that is the World Wide Web – and anyone can find you.
As such, the question is no longer whether you NEED a personal brand, but rather how to manage your personal brand so what clients/colleagues/head-hunters get to see about you is what you WANT them to see. There are definite benefits in having a strong, solid personal brand:
You will stand out from the crowd
Whether you are a job-hunter, public figure or small business owner – you have a target audience and you want them to take note. Being seen by the correct hiring-manager, agent or client already wins you half of the battle. Personal branding gives you the opportunity to show off your successes, strong points and enables you to be the “face” behind your business without costly P.R. campaigns.
It gives you credibility
Keeping your online profiles updated with your latest accomplishments and successes will provide a reaffirming view when you/your business are being researched as they will all convey the same messages – thus creating trust in your capabilities and business promises. Always be sure to live up to your promises, as your actions confirm your credibility.
You will make a lasting impression
By distinguishing your specialty and defining your personal brand, you create your legacy. You will become known for “something”. Everyone offers a unique blend of work experience, personality traits and knowledge gained through life experiences. Identify your defining characteristics and choose your niche area. You will be remembered through your competence, your actions and the connections you cultivate.
There’s a few things you can do to manage your personal brand:
The first thing to do when taking control of your personal brand, is to do a vanity search on your name in your browser. Be sure to look at images as well as general search results. Most data can be updated, changed or moved down the results list with a few simple tweaks.
Decide what you would like to showcase – is it your professional successes, your great customer service, your volunteering work? If you have more than one message it might lead to confusion.
Be 100% certain that your brand message is consistent across all your digital or social media platforms. For instance, your C.V. should be in line with your LinkedIn profile or personal website.
Do not make broad statements about your successes. Back it up with the relevant statistics, documentation, endorsements and other factual data.
Your personal brand is critical for creating trust, creating opportunities, increasing respect and positively influencing public opinion. Make sure you are familiar with the privacy settings on all your social profiles to keep your private photos, discussions and messages confidential.