As a marketer and an entrepreneur, personal branding has never been more important. We also know how people often search online about a person before he/she is hired or even called up for an interview. After talking to so many people and observing people’s online branding, here are some tips that I feel are essential for everyone to either make sure that they get it right and don’t be their own worst enemy.
1. Get web presence
I keep coming across people who have this mantra of “I hate social media” and “I don’t see the point of airing my private life to strangers”. The worst case I’ve ever come across is this young man who said that he was interested in going into digital marketing but he wasn’t active on Instagram, didn’t have a Twitter or Snapchat account, wasn’t on LinkedIn and was completely clueless about blogging (other than reading them).
Truth is, nobody is asking you to air every single moment of your life on the internet.
Everyone understands the need for a certain level of privacy. But if you want to be known for what you do in your industry, you have to get your profile up on at least one or two platforms because people nowadays hit Google to find out about you first and judge you from whatever content you have up as well as through your network. Find the platforms that work for you and just roll with it.
2. Churn out quality content
Now that you’ve got web presence, please strategise what exactly you want others to know about you. If you are a chef, it makes a lot of sense to post up photos of your food or post videos on how you prepare your food. Nonetheless, humans are multi-faceted so feel free to show other passions that you have in your life. This humanises you and makes you personable and approachable. This is what attracts both potential employers or partnerships.
3. Market yourself
Say you’re about to go on a job search and you search your name and yourself till the cows come home. You test various spellings and other things that you’ve written in your CV/resumé. Nothing controversial comes up and you’re “dirt-free” while your LinkedIn profile comes up top. Think this is good enough?
While having a web presence that is free of digital-dirt is a good start, it really isn’t enough. If you want to up your chances of being hired or to clinch that partnership, your search results should have some ‘pizazz’. This is where your quality content needs to be aligned with what you want to be known for and try your best to get the content to be published on platforms such as LinkedIn Pulse (it’s free!) or other high profile sites. Especially if it’s a platform that’s recognised by your industry.
Being squeaky clean and being boring are two different impressions.
4. Go beyond your credentials
I heard a story of a business acquaintance who is only 23 years old but she managed to clinch a deal away from a competitor who had over ten years of experience. How did she do it? She didn’t just let her accomplishments and portfolio speak for her. She went beyond that and showed clients how she could add value to them.
Even if you do not close the deal straightaway, it is always important to build the relationship because in my years of experience, I’ve learnt that people are more willing to work with someone whom they’re comfortable with rather than someone with a glowing track record that’s visible only online. Slowly, but surely, your reputation within the industry from word of mouth will spread and make your online branding more credible. I’m always surprised till today, when people whom I don’t know approach me and say that they’ve heard a lot about me from so-and-so and would like to work with me.
The fact is: no matter who you are, it is a career must to brand yourself and in this day and age, requires a bit more work (and finesse). It’s not that difficult to build it, especially if you’re true to yourself!