The internet comprises over 2 billion users, are you unique? are your relevant? what does a Google search reveal about you? How do you create a ‘personal brand’?
Here are a few important strategic points, tactics and ideas to help you create compelling personal branding across social and digital media.
- Creating a unique & uniform identity: much like brand’s logo, your profile picture has to be the same everywhere.
- It’s time to change that profile picture you cropped from last vacation and re-write the yada yada ‘about me’ sections. It is worth spending a few hours to compose a good bio of yourself in about 100 to 150 words and ask one of your DSLR enthusiastic friends to shoot a personable portrait of you against a non-disturbing background. Once done, use the very same text and image across social networking sites (includes bharatmatrimony.com too, if not already married!) to update your profile details.
- Additional note: If your profile photo includes a picture of your significant other, it is perceived that you are codependent, and never use the picture of your child or the favorite celebrity you aspire to look like
- Set Objectives: Whether looking for a college admission, summer internship, job change or seeking a matrimonial alliance, chalk out the objectives & goals for the near future and amend your profile and credentials accordingly.
- Harvest contacts: Not including your ex and former Hari Sadu boss, you have no choice but to add ‘friends’, request ‘connections’ and click ‘follow’ nevertheless, the focus should be on quality over quantity, avoid strangers, spammers, fake & impersonating profiles.
- Managing points of presence:
- It’s time to change that funky email id (firstname.lastname@example.org) to a sober one like email@example.com (there are enough free tools to migrate mailbox, please ask Google) and start using this as the official personal id for all communications, newsletter signups.
- A frequent & small update to your LinkedIn profile will do miracles, updates as big as job change and promotions to appending details about the 2 days seminar you attended, this update sends out notifications to all your connections and helps you stay on top of their mind. Remember it is better to be criticized than ignored.
- Own a piece of web: try owning a website with your common name, if that is taken try full name or least is- try yourname.tumblr.com or yourname.wordpress.org both are highly customizable web platforms and extremely search engine friendly and needless to say, free!
- Synchronize your URLs, handles, page names, websites and profile links to one single name.
- Self-consciousness, self-control and projecting a memorable character: being aware of yourself and taking control of your appearance, actions and emotions are imperative. Posting pictures of parties and vacations are fine as long as they adhere to certain level of decorum, remember the maxim “show me your friends, I will tell who you are”? Many times we let others perceive and portray a wrong picture of us due to the company we keep.
- Understand technological nuances and limitations: All digital mediums and social networking sites give you options to control privacy with varying degree, the intolerant comments you post about your neighbor’s annoying dog can be made visible only to your siblings & buddies and not to your current employer or future spouse. Prudent is not to swear online, smart is to control visibility!
- Maintaining the reputation: search your name across search engines and see your standing, use tools like socialmention.com to micro assess and take corrective steps by deleting or modifying negative content that you posted or ask your friends to do so. It is worth ruffling a few feathers for your reputation sake.
- Enhance reputation: Ask for testimonials in LinkedIn from teachers, clients, vendors and peers. Tag yourself in genuine pictures only, ‘like’ pages only if it truly interests you, ‘follow’ people whom you admire or aspire to keep up with, use every opportunity to boost portraying your competence, image and personality.
- It’s time to engage: do not assume that once you have done all the above exercise the whole world is going to see it, you must put efforts on communicating, better, to ‘engage’ with your target audience. Participate in relevant, interesting and active forums, post your views and comments with minimal sarcasm, hatred and cynicism, and more importantly do not ever wash dirty linen in public.
Unlike commercial brands, personal branding is not a campaign, it’s a commitment; until otherwise it is authentic and genuine; Think long term, have consistency, take caution. Pause one second before posting something, think, do, do well.
This article was originally writter for IUP-PES's The Voice Magazine