How to take control of your personal branding

12 June 2020 / Finding work | Work

Some people have definitely taken personal branding too far.

In an age of Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok – there is often confusion between personal branding and self-promotion. However, done right, personal branding can be a highly effective tool in the workplace – whether it be in finding a new job, attracting new clients, or standing out from the crowd at your current workplace.

It also, like many things, requires dedication, forethought and a bit of planning – but once you have a strategy – it will become part of your general routine.

According to CareerBuilder  – “More than half of employers won’t hire potential candidates without some sort of online presence today.

Carry out an audit

Google yourself. Because you can be sure that potential employers will – as will other influential people you meet.

To create the right search results about yourself you have a number of options: create, edit or delete.

Registering your name as a domain and creating a website may not be for everyone – but it can be very useful in controlling your personal brand and giving people an overall impression of what you want to portray.

Websites can be easily set up using Wix, Squarespace or WordPress. Don’t feel you have to create a daily blog – the site could just be a personal profile – or even just your CV – but if you are lucky enough to get your name as your domain – it will very likely come up near the top of Google.

Spend time editing your security settings on Facebook or Instagram if you want to keep these personal – or alternatively edit them so that they reflect the image you want to portray.

Also review your past posts on platforms such as Twitter – to make sure that what you have said truly reflects your personal brand.

Lastly, make sure that your LinkedIn profile is properly filled in and that your biography is up-to-date and gives off the correct impression.

Know thyself, and others

What you describe yourself as need not be a deep voyage of self-discovery. Think about the needs of your audience, your future ambitions and your current skill set.

What problems can you help solve? Defining this will influence the direction you take your personal brand and the type of content that you will post in the future.

The channels that you use can often be defined by the audience you are trying to attract. Those in the design or creative industries might skew towards using Instagram or The Dots. Others aiming at influencing higher level executives might choose to spend more time on LinkedIn.

What you post or share should reinforce your personal brand, and be of interest to your followers or potential audience. These need not be original content – reposting or sharing articles, videos or podcasts you have come across can help bolster your brand value and the perception of others as you as an expert on your chosen subject matter.

Be authentic

Be authentic and tell a story. The digital realm and social media are not divorced from the real world – and so be honest with what you post – remember that untruthful things have a habit of coming back to bite you.

Be consistent

Being consistent is vital. You need to consistently create quality content and posts, consistently post this content at regular intervals and have consistency across the breadth of your output.

What you generate is not only the content you post – but also a whole range of other collateral that demonstrates your brand.

For example:

  • A personal logo – you could do this yourself or enlist help form a designer on a site such as Fiverr.
  • A personal website – have a look at platforms like Wix or Squarespace – creating a small website for yourself can be very easy – and you might pick up some new skills along the way.
  • Social media headers for Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn etc – you can use an online application such as Canva to easily create these without much design experience.
  • Headshots – you may want to get professional photos taken of yourself – these will always be better and more appropriate than snapshots or the mandatory “photo day” at your place of work.
  • Signature file – attaching a branded signature file to your emails looks professional and makes sure that people can find you easily.
  • Voicemail – don’t neglect your voicemail message – potential employers or clients might be leaving messages, not just your Mum.
  • Email address – make time to create a professional sounding personal email address. This could be on your own domain – see above, or else use something reputable and professional such as Gmail.
  • CV – make sure your CV is updated – and looks the part. There are plenty of CV building applications out there to make yours look shiny.
  • Biography – A great-sounding personal biography comes in more handy than you might think. Have one on hand for when you might need it.

Monitoring and management

Lastly, you should monitor what the world is saying about you and manage your responses accordingly.

Social media monitoring tools will tell you when your company, name or relevant hashtags have been mentioned – giving you the opportunity to join in the discussion or make a comment in super-quick time.

Tools such as Hootsuite allow you to easily manage posts on a number of platforms for free (before the paid services kick in) and make scheduling a breeze.

Also consider tracking your name using Google Alerts – so you get sent an email every time a new search result with your name is posted online.