When I bring up the concept of “Personal Branding” to non-marketing people, they look at me like a deer in the headlights.
So what’s a personal brand? I’d describe a Personal Brand as the culmination of everything professional about you including your style, resume, reputation, social media presence and of course your work. Developing a strong personal brand is key to maintaining your competitiveness in the marketplace as well as giving the professional community an idea of who you are.
The first step in creating a personal brand is defining how you want the outside world to see you. Think of qualities that you exude as well as characteristics that would set you apart from others. For example, one of my key characteristics is that I wear a suit every day. A lot of people wear suits every day so what I do to differentiate myself is to have fun with it. As I’m passionate about style and men’s fashion, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to craft the perfect professional outfit that represents both my personality as well as projects confidence. When I walk into a room, I try to create an impression in not only my outfit but also in the way I carry myself. Some people will argue that it’s the person, not the suit that makes the man but I disagree. I think that while your work should speak for itself, the way you dress and carry yourself in professional situations makes a significant impact on your professional success.
The second step to creating a Personal Brand is to think about what comes up when people type your name into a google. Do pictures of your latest weekend bender come up first or is it your Linkedin profile? Social Media is a great way to start conversations, express your ideas online and create a living record of your life experiences. That being said, it can also be a powerful tool in building your personal brand. These days, most employers will conduct a google search of prospective employees. Even potential clients may do a search on you to get a snapshot of your background before deciding to move forward with that big contract. Using social media to create a strong personal brand is a great way to show off your work as well as give people an idea of who you are online.
Here are a few ways you can use social media to build your personal brand:
- Write a blog!
- Make sure your Linkedin Profile is up to date.
- Use Twitter to interact with your industry online
- Use Pinterest to tag articles and pictures
- Use Linkedin and Facebook to share great articles, videos, books and ideas
- Use Amazon.com to review great books you’ve read
- Record a Podcast!
- Comment on blogs
- Start an online portfolio and link your social media profiles to the site
- Post a photo gallery to flickr.
There are tons of other ways to increase your personal brand online. The idea here is to make sure that you tag everything and use SEO to make sure your name comes up within the first few searches in Google.
Remember that while you want to create a positive professional image, you also want to be authentic. At the end of the day, it’s not about how many times your name pops up on google, it’s about the quality of how you are being represented and what it says about you.
You should like the Pinstriped Suit on Facebook!