Posted: Mon 16th Nov 2015
The term 'brand' has long been associated with companies, but today almost every individual has a personal brand. Col Skinner, Enterprise Nation Pro Member and digital marketing consultant at Profoundry, shares top tips for building your personal brand online.
Our digital footprint or personal brand exists whether we like it or not. Not many of us actually take the time to cultivate these brands but a dedicated personal presence online is critical for those in business and is now expected in almost all industries. Follow these quick tips to improve or build your personal brand online.
Building a personal brand based on lies or a disingenuous persona is not going to be easy to keep up and defies the point of personal branding. Be authentic and learn a bit about yourself and your strengths and weaknesses along the way.
Claim your name
Even if you aren't a graphic designer, freelancer or self employed bod, you will want to influence what shows up in a Google search for your name. One of the best ways to do this is purchasing a domain name containing your first and last name. Once purchased you may want to consider launching your own blog or simple website on there. There are great services that let you create a simple online profile or bio such as Branded.me, About.me and Flavours.me.
Learn to use LinkedIn
LinkedIn is just one of the areas your clients are likely to check and confirm your legitimacy or experience. Having a live up to date profile lays the foundations for your brand voice.
Don't just list your employment history and current role then log off. Try and fill out as much information as you can. Everything from charities you support to your education will be scrutinised by potential customers or clients.
Try and gain 'Recommendations' from current clients or previous managers and bosses. They form testimonials that can be a great way to show potential clients you have the appropriate credence.
Use the 'Update' feature to post relevant industry news and opinions to your connections. This will show you have a keen passion for that industry and could lead a potential client finding your profile.
You can even write your own posts through 'Pulse', LinkedIn's content network, which is a great way to show off your business content, thoughts or knowledge on a particular topic."ƒ
Tips for Twitter
Find the Twitter accounts of the influencers, commentators, competitors, potential clients and publications in your industry and follow them.
Use the search function to find topics, people and industry events etc to tweet about or engage with.
Share news from industry publications including reports, surveys and updates. Sometimes tweet them yourself and sometime retweet them (out of courtesy).
Try and source the hashtags used by other influencers, commentators, competitors and once found mention them in any tweets that may be relevant. This is what is going to get you additional reach and new followers.
People should be able to visit the profile and see that you are tweeting regularly and engaging with others. This builds credibility and convinces potential followers to subscribe to you.
Do not set up any auto DM software. This just ends up seeming spammy and annoying.
Try and avoid simply setting up an automated RSS feed from a news publisher. It looks lazy and can end up spamming the feed of your followers which may cause them to unfollow.
Shine the light on others
The key is not to just shout about how great you are and promote your own opinions. Take some time to shine light on the great content or actions of others, particularly those you respect or who have helped shaped who you are.
Having a personal brand presence on any social network will require competing with the constant flow of chatter and noise. Forge a reputation and style that is unique to you and your personal brand. Be cheeky, fun, clever, creative and relevant.
It is not a marketing channel where it's imperative to benchmark and copy your competition, but do learn what you can from other's success then try and do something different and unique to you.
Try to build a unique voice and let your experience and persona shine through. Utilise the various opportunities (tagging users, hashtags etc) to network and engage with others rather than constantly posting and hoping someone notices you.
Early on its infancy, likes and followers were seen as 'the' metric to judge your personal brand's success on social media. Slowly but surely, most of us have come to realise that an engaged network is more important than a load of numbers.
If you want to gain your social media following then you have to give users a reason to want to follow or like you. Delivering relevant targeted content is certainly one the way to do just that.
Resist the temptation to buy followers. A purchased following can usually be sussed out by the more savvy user and if found, can lose you more than you gained.
If you are going to be on social media networks then properly commit. Be active, engage your audience and peers. There is nothing worse than heading to a profile to find an automated feed from the main industry news source.
Col Skinner is a pro member of Enterprise Nation. You can find information about pro-membership and the benefits it can bring your advisory business here.