Whether you’re a jobseeker or trying to develop your personal brand online you will need a clear strategy. Your brand should be a reflection of yourself, your skills and values. Being aware of, and ultimately in control of, your personal brand is an essential component of building a successful career. It’s a guiding statement that can help you make personal and professional decisions. A solid personal brand helps people understand who you are, what you offer, what you value, and the quality of work they can expect from you. It is your reputation.
I bet you’re wondering how you create this incredible online status? We’ve compiled the most popular tips to help you boost your online presence and increase your professional success:
1. Define Your Brand
Before you get started on anything else; you need to answer the vital question of: Who are you? The best way to do this is to jot down the words and values that friends, family and colleagues would use to describe you and your work. Honesty is essential here – choose words that are positive, authentic and will contribute towards what you want to achieve. Defining words like; trusting, compassionate, helpful, are all elements that you need to portray through your online profiles. Companies like Dove and Nike have unique branding, if you are struggling, research their brand identity to understand what yours should relate to.
2. Have a Specialty
Specializing in what you are passionate about, and is relatable will help you stand out from the crowd. You need to define what your niche is and why people would choose you over those that already have a following. Think about what you can offer, that’s not already out there, or, if it is why your recommendations would be better. Are you passionate about makeup and have the skills to become the next Zoella? (Zoe Sugg, aged 27 has over 11.6 million YouTube followers, her own cosmetic line and novel). If you have a specific skill, invest in to it, take a course that will help you refine your skills and expand your knowledge. Websites like Groupon and Reed offer affordable online and group courses in a variety of fields like beauty, graphic design, childcare, pharmacy etc.
3. Write Your Bio
Create a professional biography so you have it ready; it’s a necessity for freelance work, networking events and to keep your professional profiles up to date. Only write what you would want people to know about you. Use “The Times Test”, this is a test where you only write what you would want published in The Times. Your bio might include your education, work experience, any published writing or press hits, awards you’ve received, volunteer work, and possibly even something quirky about your personal interests.
4. Create a Blog
Blogging is the way forward; it’s the perfect platform to showcase your creativity and thoughts. Depending on the topic you are interested in; you can create a niche in that field that hasn’t already been explored. Do your research before you commit to an idea. A good start would be to begin by guest blogging on other well-established sites, that way your target audience will begin to familiarize themselves with you and will have a clear idea of who you are and what your forte is.
5. Make Sure Your LinkedIn Profile is Perfect
Treat your LinkedIn profile like your home; you wouldn’t want visitors coming over seeing a mess would you? Similarly, you wouldn’t want potential employers to click on your page, read a load of rubbish that will make them immediately leave. LinkedIn allows you to put your accomplishments out there for the world to see, and it’s the first thing that appears when your name is typed into a search engine. If you have a good relationship with your previous employers or clients, ask them to recommend you on LinkedIn; you’ll have a permanent record of references from the people that matter most.
6. Learn How to Communicate
Communication can be one of the hardest skills to achieve; even the most knowledgeable struggle when it comes to public speaking and laying yourself bare (in the literal terms) in front of thousands of people. Being human, our brain instantly recollects this as an attack and turns us to panic mode where we cannot think straight and find ourselves shaking and stumbling over our words. Taking a public speaking course or simply practising in everyday situations can help boost your confidence and will help you be more prepared when facing the fear of talking to a large crowd.
7. Enhance Your Social Presence
If content is the fuel for your personal brand, social media is the engine. Take the time to build a strong personal profile on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. Post updates regularly and make sure you’re sticking to the industry you want to represent – branching out too much will confuse your followers and may result in you losing them. You should also follow people in your industry and jump into relevant conversations by using trending hashtags or those that are most popular. Also be sure to expose your personality on your account, like social media influencer Huda Kattan who has 20.5 million Instagram followers and charges $18,000 per featured post. Huda, aged 33, started blogging in 2010 after she discovered she had a passion for makeup. Seven years later, she has formed an empire that’s favoured by Kim Kardashian, and her cosmetic line is sold in Sephora and on major beauty sites.
8. Network, Network and Network
In the real world and on social media, the key to developing your self-branding is through networking; to have your presence and what you represent seen and known. Find those that you admire online and try to engage with them and spark conversation. Attending networking events is vital, especially at the beginning of your career. If you’re a fashion blogger, attend as many press days as you can to get yourself known and receive the inside scoop to share with your followers. If you’ve now nailed the public speaking, see if there are any events you can host in your local area to get your voice and presence heard and noticed.
9. Be Yourself Because Everyone Else is Taken
This is something you should write down and cherish; often media influencers tend to lose their way trying to become somebody else that they think people want to see. This can become tiresome and can slowly kill your personality and the values you once had. One small slip and your audience will see behind the mask. Embrace your strengths and don’t be afraid to show your weaknesses; at the end of the day we are all human and an audience can relate to that more because it will show you are down to earth and are more relatable.
10. Never Stop Improving
Personal development is a life-long challenge; every day whether you know it or not you are learning something new. A brand that doesn’t grow is stagnant and will fade out easily, as trends change and new businesses appear you will need to make sure you too are advancing. If you’re a computer engineer, you will need to know how to build the latest software, or someone else will take your place. So keep learning, be you, be confident, and be authentic.
You should now feel like you have the knowledge and the steps to create the best version of yourself. Put the worrying aside and go and chase your dreams!
Have you got any other branding tips? If so, leave a comment in the box below…