Have you ever Googled yourself? Go on, do it.
What comes up on the first page of your results? Probably a LinkedIn page, along with your profile on your firm’s website, any professional accolades you’ve received and perhaps some links to your social media accounts or press mentions. If that’s what your results look like then it’s a good start, but what happens when someone clicks on your LinkedIn profile or social media accounts?
Your social presence plays a big part in your personal branding whether you like it or not. The good news is that if you do have social media profiles it doesn’t take much to spruce up your profile to reflect the professional persona that you’d like to portray. Of course, you can choose to remove your social media profiles instead,
Of course, you can also choose to remove or make your social media profiles private instead, and while that may be alright for Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, it isn’t recommended for your LinkedIn profile. That’s because LinkedIn is widely accepted as a professional social media site. It’s where your clients, potential clients, colleagues and even potential employers will go to check out your credentials. That’s why, at the very least, it’s important to make sure your LinkedIn profile depicts your personal brand.
So what is a personal brand?
Your personal brand is how you want people to perceive you. What do you want clients to think when they come across your persona online? How do you want your colleagues to perceive you? What should potential employers or even recruiters know about you?
When building your personal brand always keep your audience in mind, and then craft how you present yourself online to meet it. This doesn’t mean you should lie, but it’s about presenting yourself in a particular way. Think about the following:
- What profile picture do you use? Would you use it on your firm’s website? If you don’t have a photo at all, then what does this tell other people about you?
- What does your profile say about you? Is it interesting? Does it just read like a CV? Does it tell potential clients, colleagues or employers anything that makes you stand out from the crowd? Does it really highlight your expertise? Will they care what high school you went to or where you did articles?
- Who do you follow? Why? Do you ever engage with them? If you don’t what does that say to them about you?
- On LinkedIn, are you a member of any groups? If you are, do you ever go in and see what discussions are occurring or engage in them?
How you answer each of these questions will start to give you insights into whether your personal brand is actually how you want to be seen by others publicly. If the two are aligned, then great, you’re on track. But if they’re not then perhaps it’s time to take a look at your public personal brand and do something about it.
Watch your personal brand grow
Your personal brand is much more than just your career CV or a snapshot of the cases you’ve worked on. It’s about giving people an idea of who you are professionally, how you work with clients and colleagues and how you approach challenges. It’s a unique way to show people how you work without them having to hire you.
Whether you’re sharing articles you find interesting on Twitter, commenting on a group on LinkedIn or posting pictures of your latest marathon run on Facebook, they all give potential clients and colleagues insights into you. You only have to share however much or as little as you want, but whatever you do says something about you, even if it’s silence.
The first step in building your personal brand is crafting your profile. Then it needs to be maintained and your interactions need to continue. It’s not easy, but it’s also not a futile exercise. My personal brand is everything to me, it’s won me clients and helped me build a business
Take it from me. My personal online brand is important – it’s won me clients and helped me build businesses that have spanned continents. Most of my clients have never met me in person, but all of them would tell you they know me. The first step in building each of those relationships was my personal online brand.
I’ve also helped individual clients build their own personal brand. Some have signed major deals with multi-national companies that began with an interaction on social media. It works, the trick is crafting an online brand that reflects who you are and following through on it.