Personal branding is no longer a luxury. In fact, with potential employers, customers and associates looking you up online before even talking with you — a polished personal brand has become a necessity.
Unfortunately, many of us jumped into social and digital media before we understood how much our online personal brand impacted our career. And many of may need a little help putting a nice shine on our online brand. So we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council this question:
What’s one way to clean up your personal brand (clean up your online profiles, get organized, etc.)?
Read their helpful answers, and then start to create your own polished personal brand…
1. Update or Delete Old Social Media
Start searching your name and username online and see what shows up on the first few pages of Google. Create a spreadsheet and document the profiles with the site name and URL. Figure out which profiles are important for your brand and consistently optimize them and delete the rest. If you’re unsure which to keep or delete, search for similar industry leaders names and copy them!
2. Highlight Your Best Work
Just like tossing out old keepsakes from childhood, it can be hard to get rid of old blog posts, videos and marketing materials that you put energy into creating, but it’s worth divesting your brand of outdated material. Showcasing your best work looks better to potential clients, and will land you better business. Plus, doing a bit of spring cleaning makes space for fresh ideas.
3. Separate Personal and Business Social Media
Understand where to draw the line between the personal and the professional. Consider making your personal social media accounts private and maintaining a strict firewall between professional and personal content. For some types of business, letting it all hang out can prove beneficial, but for B2B businesses or businesses in a more formal setting, it’s better to keep things separate.
4. Be Available
An overlooked aspect of personal branding, as well as company branding, is simply availability. Communicating the feeling that people can reach out to you and you’ll respond — and then following through on that commitment — is a great way to build your brand and make more professional connections that will benefit your career and business.
5. Publish Often
Activity is essential. First, write a blog in your particular area: It may establish you as an evangelist and later maybe as an expert. Then manage your Linkedin: Publish teaser articles on the site and refer to your blog. Create a profile on CrunchBase, as their page-rank is excellent. Get published in external publications, and have a clarity and consistency in all of your profiles.
6. Establish a Consistent Profile
Establish a consistent profile across social media, so that people have a clear idea of who you are and your focus areas. Use the same picture for each of your profiles. Creating a personal website can also help you take control of your Google search results. Use it to build your brand or blog. If not, at the very least, create a personal portal using a site like about.me, which takes little to no time.
7. Optimize Your Search Results
An expensive way to do this is by hiring a search engine optimization company to do it for you. But I prefer to regularly write blog posts or find other ways to get myself published in various online outlets. Title tags within your online content help to strengthen your SEO, so the more you populate, the better. Bottom line: become your own SEO expert.
8. Hire a Branding Pro
The funny thing about personal branding is that it’s almost impossible to do yourself. First impressions are crucial, so when it comes to your brand consider hiring an expert! It will make the process less daunting, and can even be fun!
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched Business Collective. This free virtual mentorship program helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.