A pleasant demeanour, professional attire, and a conventional paper resume are no longer the cardinal pillars of a good first impression. With the ever-increasing ubiquity of social media and digital communications, maintaining a positive brand online is equally as important as managing your reputation offline.
From Facebook to Google to LinkedIn to Twitter, the notion of personal branding is truly erupting. In fact, a considerable number of employers are now using online information to review potential hires, and Forbes magazine believes that developing your brand is not only essential for advancing your professional career, but also for your growth as a leader.
So how can you build a positive and meaningful brand on the web?
Let’s take a look…
Step #1: DEFINE YOUR BRAND
According to graphic designer and self-branding guru Jordan Cass, “a successful brand celebrates personality, honors values and embodies the spirit of the subject that it represent.” In other words, your brand should not only showcase your holistic identity, but should also serve to differentiate you from your peers.
In order to define your brand, you must first identify the unique combination of personal attributes, motivators, passions, and beliefs that genuinely reflects who you are and what you have to offer.
Ask yourself: What are my short- and long-term goals? What are my core strengths and implicit values? What makes me unique? Who is my target audience?
Step #2: CREATE YOUR BRAND
Now that you have defined your brand, it is time to make it come to life! Whether this means creating a personal or professional blog or website, joining new networks for learning, creating an e-portfolio, or simply tailoring content on pre-existing social profiles, is completely up to you. The important thing to remember is that effective branding is based on authenticity, so put your best foot forward and be truly honest in your efforts.
Dan Schawbel, author of Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success and owner of the award-winning Personal Branding Blog, asserts that creating a web portfolio, updating social media profiles, and uploading your business card are all powerful and effective ways to establish your brand.
Step #3: MANAGE YOUR BRAND
Building your brand is and will always be an ongoing and evolving task. It will take time, consistency, and effort to maintain and grow, but regardless of which branding tools and techniques you choose to create your online voice, it is important to ensure that your message is clearly and consistently communicated across all platforms to your target audience.
To ensure the sustainable growth and development of your brand, continue to investigate novel opportunities for participation, expand and diversify your existing networks, and engage in online learning whenever possible.
What does personal branding mean to you? What does your personal brand say about you? How can managing your digital identity help you to create an authentic personal brand?
Discuss in the comments below!