Even if you’ve never consciously put one together, yes, you do have a personal brand! A personal brand is really your online presence; your website, company bio, social media profiles, posts, connections, and photos. Basically, your personal brand is what someone finds when they search for you online. Does that scare you a bit? It does, if you’re not sure what’s out there. Simply by being aware that how you present yourself (and what you do online) always reflects on you can help you improve your brand.
Now that you know you have one, here are a few steps you can take to improve or expand your brand and make it work for you.
- Be yourself, your best self. Trying to be someone you’re not won’t work, so be your best self whenever possible. Don’t complain about your boss, your employees, or your company. Just as in other social situations that could be noticed by colleagues or your boss, avoid potential conversational minefields such as religion, politics, sex, and demeaning or unkind humour.
- Separate thoughtfully. If you separate personal from business online, be sure to create a personal brand around yourself, not your position or company. Most of us will have at least 4 major career changes in a lifetime, and you want your branding to stay with you. Think long-term when it comes to branding. You’ve been online for years, it’s hard to start over and re-create it. Branding around your skills and knowledge will last. Those qualities stay with you no matter which job you’re in!
- Become an expert. Use your online forums to discuss issues and solutions within your industry. Be thoughtful about your field of expertise and show leadership potential. Offer content of value to others in your industry and you’ll build your reputation and your brand.
- Be consistent. Offer new content regularly, keep your profiles current, and stay connected. You can take a vacation, but building a brand isn’t done monthly or quarterly, so stay active online. Stay consistent in content, too. Focus on what you have to offer and what you know…that way, if your career shifts, your content is all still relevant to your personal brand.