In the previous post, we introduced the concept of personal branding and discussed how your brand identity can help potential employers and clients make quick decisions about who you are and what you have to offer. The better you condense your complex personality into a simple sound bite, the easier it will be for strangers to make fast, confident, and hopefully positive assumptions about you.
As we discussed earlier, try to reduce your personal brand to three or four words. Once you have your three words in hand, you’ll be ready to broadcast them to the world. You’ll also be ready to limit other descriptors that seem to undermine the ones you’ve chosen.
Controlling Your Personal Brand Online: Four Steps
- First, know what’s out there. You can’t control your brand until you know exactly what people find when they type your name into a search bar. So Google your name (and your product if you have one) on a regular basis. It’s not conceited– It’s just good business.
- Control what shows up. If you have a common name and no social media accounts, Google will say nothing about you, good or bad. So in a way, you’re safe. But is that what you want? Nope. Safety and anonymity are not the same thing. Get some SEO help to boost your webpage in search engine rankings. If you don’t have a webpage, get one. And if you aren’t on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, you’re missing valuable opportunities to promote yourself. Fix that.
- Manage your content. Arrange your privacy settings to make sure public viewers have controlled access to your social media profiles. And as you view your accounts through the eyes of a public visitor, tighten every impression created by your text and images so it matches the three words you chose earlier.
- Manage your press. Depending on your industry, others may make comments about you, your work, or your product on websites, blogs, and forums. When visible comments are positive, be grateful. A positive blurb about you in a stranger’s blog might warrant a quick private message of thanks. Positive news articles will get more mileage if you link to them from your social media accounts. Be smart. Don’t engage with critics in public venues. And if you find slanderous or untrue remarks online, contact the poster or webmaster and diplomatically negotiate to have them removed.
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