When we talk about a brand, we are used to thinking about them in terms of companies and products such as McDonalds or the iPhone. But nowadays, anything can be an effective brand if set up and developed correctly. Yes, you as an individual has a personal brand. Whether you are known as an early adopter of the latest technologies or changes or as someone who is dragged into making changes, it’s part of your personal brand. This idea makes some people uncomfortable, but if you don’t think it through and take control of your personal brand, especially in the online world, then not only are you missing out on opportunities but you are allowing others to control the narrative of your brand.
Just as in branding a company, product or service, it takes time and energy to devote to brand development properly and this blog post is in no way all-inclusive but rather just a thumbnail sketch of things to consider when contemplating your personal brand. You may be a self-employed service provider such as a real estate agent or home inspector or you may be a high-level corporate executive, but either way someone is seeing you online and what they find can have impact on your success going forward. In the past, I have conducted some sessions for graduates of the University of Missouri prior to on campus career days in which organizational recruiters come to screen and interview potential candidates for jobs. I always tell them not to lose a great entry opportunity over something you can control such as your personal brand.
Take control of your personal brand
You as an independent contractor, business owner or executive do not want to lose out on possible opportunities because of perceptions around your personal brand. And don’t be fooled into thinking your personal social media pages do not have anything to do with anyone who might do business with you, believe me, everything counts, and nothing is private or personal any longer. If you have it out there, you have to assume accountability for it.
The 4 Keys to An Effective Online Personal Brand
Facebook no longer calls it your wall. It’s now “your story”. You must assume that everything you put out on social media is part of your story. It all tells a narrative about who you are, what you believe, what you stand for and how you got to where you are. I know you may think it’s just fun pictures, but remember everything counts ad your journey is unique to you which draws more interest from people than you may imagine. In all things posting-wise be you and be authentic but don’t be stupid if you care at all about perception and business. If you don’t care, don’t read anything further, this won’t apply to you anyway.
Be consistent how you present yourself across various channels and outlets. Different channels are for different types of posts. For example, what you post on Facebook may be different from Linked In and different from Instagram and different from Twitter. However, the overall tone and make-up of your posts should be uniform and consistent. Your profile picture is equivalent to your personal logo. Keep it consistent across all channels.
Just because you have something to market and sell to people doesn’t mean you have to be salesy. You can post offers, just post ten posts of value to every one post of offers. If you provide value through your expertise to people, they will not mind if you offer something occasionally. If you post twenty value tips on what to look for when shopping for a house, then they won’t mind you posting a listing. If you reverse that formula, you are going to get ignored, muted or dropped.
This is connected to Key #3 but treat your network of connections like gold. If you build value in people being connected to you, then they will recommend you to others for connection. If you annoy them with political rants, crazy photos or too may sales-driven postings, they will avoid you like the plague and probably advise others to do the same.
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