Jeff Bezos once said, “your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
However, in the increasingly public world we’re living in, it’s easy for our personal brand to take on a life of its own without us even realizing it — especially when it comes to our online presence.
While it is only one piece of your overall brand, your online presence is still extremely important, no matter what industry you are in. That’s why we’re sharing some easy ways you can take control of your personal brand online and build a persona you’re proud of.
DO an audit. In order to figure out what your personal brand currently looks like, do a quick Google search of your name. Now, if you have a super common name like ‘Joe Smith,’ you may need to narrow your search a bit by adding in your location and your occupation. But once you see what’s already out there, you can start weeding out the bad information. Pro tip: set up a Google alert with your name so you can catch new things that pop up.
DON’T be preachy. One of the biggest turn-offs on social media right now is that person who loves to stand up on a soapbox and talk down to others who don’t share his or her opinion. Nobody wants to feel like they are being preached to. Remember that social media should be a two-way street where meaningful connections and conversations should be happening between you and your social media followers.
DO be intentional. It shouldn’t be a surprise to you that everything that’s put out on the internet lives on forever. And I mean FOR.EV.ER. Even the things you like can come back to haunt you (for any Bachelor fans out there, I’ll just say, “Garrett Yrigoyen”). That’s why it’s important to be intentional about your online activity. Always have your personal brand in mind when you’re posting or sharing or engaging, and if your activity doesn’t align with the personal brand you want to build, then don’t do it.
DON’T fight online. Can’t we all just get along? Given the number of Facebook rants or fights that happen on a daily basis, apparently not. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to stay out of the fight. If you notice some negativity coming your way, you’ve got two choices: remove yourself from the conversation altogether or take the conversation offline. It’s much easier to get on the same page when you’re talking face-to-face as opposed to behind a computer screen.
DO share value. Share interesting articles, cool opportunities within your industry and helpful resources with your followers. Don’t get caught up in the cycle of self-promotion. Show your passion for what you do and engage with others who feel the same. By demonstrating that you are involved and informed about what’s happening in your industry, you’ll be viewed as a valuable resource for others, and your personal brand’s stock will skyrocket.
DON’T overshare. Not everyone wants to see what’s happening every single minute of every single day of your life (unless your only follower is your mom. Speaking of which, “hi, mom!”). You don’t want your future employer bringing up that one time you live-tweeted the birth of your firstborn, which is why it’s best to keep your more personal life events close to the vest — or, at the very least, kept within your inner circle of friends and family.
DO be authentic. People can spot a disingenuous person from a mile away. As the Genie once told Aladdin, “Beeee yourself.” You’ll make stronger connections and build a better community when you stop trying to be what you think others want you to be and start being true to yourself. Focus on your strengths and what drives you. Your true, authentic personal brand will come once you start being yourself.
DON’T leave your account alone. Just because you’ve created a website and a bunch of social media accounts, it doesn’t mean that your work is done. You need to continue to engage on social media and update your website to make sure all of the information and featured projects you have on there are up to date. Even if you only engage once a week, it shows that you value your personal brand and are part of the conversation.
DO get out and network IRL. While your online persona is the first thing that most employers will look at, you still need to get out into the real world and make personal connections. There are few things more valuable than engaging in a personal, face-to-face conversation with someone in real life. Seek out networking events in your area and start putting yourself out there. Your personal brand will benefit immensely.
Want to learn more about the importance of personal branding? Check out these helpful articles:
Why Personal Branding Is Essential To Career Success – Fast Company