If you’d like to make more of an impact online, it’s a good idea to develop a personal brand. Branding might sound a bit overwhelming, but chances are you’re already doing it.
Your presence and activities online contribute to an impression in the minds of consumers about your brand. Here are a few simple steps you can take to improve the way you are viewed online:
1. Google yourself
Open your Google Chrome browser, turn on Incognito mode (for Internet Explorer, turn on InPrivate browsing and for Firefox select Private Browsing). This will ensure no traces of your browsing experience appear in the subsequent search. Instead, you’ll view the search results a complete stranger receives when they search your name–rather than what Google already thinks it knows you’re searching for online.
Look at the first three results and the first page of search results in entirety. If Google links you to irrelevant, unwanted or out-of-date pages, you’ll want to update or delete these pages wherever you can.
If you don’t have the admin rights to change these pages, you might want to pen a few articles about your subject matter expertise and submit to authoritative and reputable sites like this in order to bump irrelevant search results off their top spot.
2. Shape up your social profiles
Social media is a major brand image factor for prospective customers, so it’s important to share you’re all about on industry relevant channels. While some people really go to town optimizing their social media profiles for professional engagements, unless you’re working on your LinkedIn profile, that won’t always fall in your favor.
Instead, be genuine and share your interests, but be sure content is up-to-date and not misleading. Also, remember Poe’s law: Without an emoticon or similar blatant show of humor, do not be surprised if people take online comments seriously.
3. Rethink your portfolio
Portfolios share a digestible amount of information in a predictable format. However, for these reasons, they’re also really easy to ignore. Give future clients a welcome surprise by having a designer mock-up a version of your portfolio that reflects the values of the company.
For example, if you’re a freelance writer, make your CV look like the publication you want to write for. Or, if you plan to partner with a big four accountancy firm, put together something more understated using the company’s trademark colors and fonts. When relevant, this is a sure-fire way to help clients see that you understand their needs and helps them visualize you helping them meet their goals.
4. Be bold
Every individual and their dog wants to improve their personal brand. Fortunately, there’s enough room on the internet for everyone with compelling story, originality and a strong niche.
Research what others in your space are doing and work on presenting your online materials in line with these three aspects to stand out against the competition. That designer could come in handy again as you develop eye-catching media and visuals that showcase your ability and bring your website to life. It’s important to put the extra effort in, even if it comes with a price tag.
5. Deliver on all of the above, in person
So your digital self has shocked and awed your audience and you’ve secured an important meeting. How do you ensure your brand translates in real life?
In case you don’t think you’re a match to the person you’ve represented online, send what you’ve been working on to a close friend. If sits oddly with them or they find it a little try-hard, tweak it to make it more personal to you (or less).
It’s not always easy to gauge your own strengths, and how they can be best communicated, so this process may take a little time. But don’t worry, it’s more important that threads of authenticity are woven into the final product.
Shane McGourty is the Director at job search site AdView. He has been using technology to match talent to sought-after positions for more than ten years.