7 Ways to Take Control of Your Personal Brand
Once upon a time, before the rise of the Internet, managing your personal brand simply meant ensuring that your reputation remained spotless. This meant that you steered clear of situations that could cause you to become a source of gossip or that could tarnish your reputation in any way. Certainly, as long as your misdeeds didn’t make it beyond your family and very close friends, your reputation was safe in the eyes of your employer, business partners or customers. So a drunken night out with friends was easily forgotten the next day; even if photos were taken, they couldn’t get very far and were easily destroyed (especially if you got the negatives). Fast forward to now and personal brand management has become much more involved. Unless you’ve been living in a cave and have never interacted with the Internet, you have an online presence that anyone with a data plan can see. Can you imagine what might be found out about you? Those pictures of you on that drunken night out appeared on Facebook and Twitter before you could recover from the blinding camera flash. It’s time to get just as deliberate about managing your personal brand online as you are about your offline reputation. This includes your Image – how you look; your Message – what you say; and your Presence – where you are. Here’s how.
Step 1. Discover What’s Online About You
Conduct an international search, not just a local search. Google yourself using other country codes so that you can see what potential international employers and partners see. Also try Pipl.com to easily find everywhere you appear online.
Step 2. Clean Up Your Personal Brand
Remove accounts, posts and images that don’t support your brand image. Justdelete.me shows how easy or difficult it is to delete your account from any of a few hundred sites. Additionally, you should review and adjust your social media accounts’ privacy settings
Step 3. Polish Your Online Presence
If you don’t already have a LinkedIn account, get one! Then proactively build your LinkedIn presence. As a plus, you can also generate your offline résumé from LinkedIn here
Step 4. Build Your Personal Brand
Personalise your URL on social sites; this is called your vanity URL. When you do this and share your social profile link to others, it makes an impression and is easy to remember. You can use Namechk.com to check your user name availability for multiple social sites at once. Also, register your name, if it’s available, with a domain name registrar, to prevent someone else buying the right to do things with your name that don’t fit with your personal brand. You should fix your social media bios, profile pictures and cover photos as well, to ensure consistency.
Step 5. Manage Your Online Behaviour
Consistently manage your brand by being aware of what you post, share and like and who you follow. And don’t forget your mobile phone! If you use Whatsapp or Blackberry Messenger and your boss and colleagues are contacts, they will see the profile photos and status messages that you post there. Don’t be inappropriate.
Step 6. Monitor Your Online Presence
Step 7. Use a Digital Media Dashboard
Consider using a communication automation tool, such as HootSuite or Branditise.com. Branditise.com can also help you to create your own customised personal brand strategy. If you follow these 7 steps, you are sure to take control of your online brand before your boss or customer sees something you’ll wish they hadn’t. Did we miss anything you wanted us to talk about? Have you been actively managing your personal brand online? What worked for you and what didn’t? What other tools did you find useful? Share your thoughts with us in the Comments section below.