By controlling your personal brand, you are taking control of your career. Your personal brand is all about characterizing to the public who you are. The key is to do so in a manner that positively promotes your service or business. You can use your personal brand to differentiate yourself in your industry and to be recognized as a thought leader in your field.
Like it or not, the world will brand you so it’s best to take the initiative to establish an intentional personal brand that you carefully manage along the way. Most people are creatures of comfort who prefer to continue along the same path they’ve been following. This creates a challenge when it comes to personal re-branding. We have to force ourselves to step outside of our comfort zones to get the job done.
How do you know it is time to reinvent yourself? There are some straightforward situations that create the ideal environment for a personal re-brand. You’ve lost your job and need to position yourself to quickly land a fabulous new job. You are purposefully changing careers and want to massage your background to fit the new industry. You are staying in the same career but want to move up in the ranks.
On the other hand, you may simply at a point in your life where you want to be recognized for something different and know that a purposeful re-branding will let you position yourself to achieve that goal. Either way, we have some tips to help you first understand who the public currently thinks you are and then how to emphatically move towards a new and more fabulous you.
Google yourself because I guarantee that is the first thing many recruiters and potential employers do. Some companies randomly check out (should I say creep on) current employees from time to time to make sure they haven’t missed any information that might come back to hurt the organization. See what sort of information pops up, what might be missing, and what needs to be immediately addressed like old social profiles or postings from your younger and dumber days.
Be aware of your privacy settings.
Different social media platforms are intended for different purposes. Your Instagram profile, filled with pictures of your cat, food choices, and random parties might best be kept completely personal and private. Your LinkedIn profile, filled with your professional accomplishments and expert opinions should be accessible by everyone and anyone who is interested in knowing more about you as a professional.
That being said, you should keep in mind that privacy settings are not foolproof. It is truly best to exercise your judgment when posting to any of your social media accounts. Anyone with access to a post you think is personal might choose to share the content on a wider scope. If you wouldn’t share it with your boss or a potential employer, probably best not to say it or show it, period.
Think about your voice.
Your brand voice is completely unique to you. Consider whether or not you want to integrate facets of your personal life into your personal brand. Many corporate and political professionals prefer to draw clear lines between their personal and professional worlds. Others can connect the two a bit.
How much you blend or separate your two worlds depends on your personality and the goals you are hoping to achieve. Understand your target audience and key objectives before deciding how much of you – meaning you at home in yoga pants hollering at the tv – to integrate into the voice of your personal brand. Be purposeful in what you say and how you say it and keep in mind that others’ interpretation of you will always trump your intent.
Consistency is key.
Continuing that last thought, be consistent. Every social media post, every article you write, every comment or review you make should be consistent with your intended personal branding. Everything you say online, and in person, should convey a consistent, overall message that positively contributes to your personal brand. Keeping your voice and messaging consistent will help you build brand strength and awareness.
Streamline your usernames.
Speaking of consistency, choose one handle or username to represent yourself across all of your social media profiles, email address, etc. By using one name for all platforms, it is easier for others to locate you online. Consider that people you interact with online will associate you with your username. SassyGirl32 might work for your friends but might not show you in the best light for other purposes. Select something that is easy to remember, creative, and that portrays who you want to be on a professional level.
Strive for amazing, not perfect.
Striving for perfection is an excellent way to paralyze yourself and stop the process of re-branding dead in its tracks. When we aim for “perfect,” we triple guess every decision and take the joy right out of anything we are trying to accomplish. Accept that nothing and no one is perfect. Aim for “amazing” or “best choice given the information I have.” Remind yourself that we have the potential to continuously evolve so nothing is written in stone.
Actively promote your brand.
Just because you create an amazing personal brand doesn’t mean you will instantly have an incredible following. Use all of your channels to actively promote yourself. Put your brand in front of your target audiences. Interact with your online community and bring undeniable value to those interactions. Keep track of what works and what doesn’t work to build a solid understanding of which channels and what content will best promote you.
Regularly check that everything is updated.
Out of date profiles filled with irrelevant information will do your personal brand more harm than good. Refine your social profiles to ensure your professional information is accurate and that your most authentic self is represented. Make sure your headlines and supporting statements position you well in your target industry and with any decision makers you hope to connect with.
Update your headshot. And by headshot, I mean a photo taken by someone else, not a selfie. While you don’t necessarily need to hire a professional photographer, make sure that it is a quality photo that represents your current look. People often refer to online pictures prior to a face to face interaction and it will help put someone at ease if he can recognize you at your first meeting.
Remember that we live in a judgmental society. The choices you make for your hairstyle, your clothing, your jewelry, and so on will be critiqued even if it is done subconsciously. Be you, just be sure to express the visual aspects of your personal brand intentionally.
Building a professional, personal brand is an expectation in today’s business world. Regardless of which side of the table someone is one, odds are good they will look you up online as they try to build an understanding of who you are and what you bring to the business relationship. There has to be some level of alignment between your brand and the person you are behind it. Build your brand intentionally and with authenticity.
The team at Strategy Driven Marketing would love to help you establish a strong and unique personal brand that will help you be well-known in your field and consistently land the work you want to do. Let us use our experience and expertise to guide you through the exciting process of re-branding and build something that showcases the best you have to offer. Contact us today to get started!