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Online personal branding is as important today as any aspect of personal branding. A recent report by Microsoft states that 64% of HR managers think it is appropriate to look at online profiles of candidates and 41% have rejected people as a result. It has become part of the formal recruitment process as well consumers are checking out companies and organizations and the people they may be dealing with before doing business with them.
Your online presence consists of two areas; one is the content that you provide and the second is what is being written about you perhaps by people you may not even know. It is also where first impressions occur before in-person handshakes are made, so it is important to manage your online personal brand.
Here are five techniques to help you create the online brand you desire:
1. Google your name and your company name.
58% of those using social media do not Google their names or their company names, but employers and potential customers certainly are. Why bother checking? To ensure that your brand is not being tarnished by comments made about you or your company. As you create your personal brand on a variety of platforms available in social media, your name will start popping up in search engines and on social networks. This can be either beneficial to your brand or harmful depending on the context. You can set up Google Alerts to let you know when your name or your company name is mentioned.
2. Make sure you are spread adequately like a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
If you enter the world of social media make sure that you can keep up with it. If you are active on each and every social network that launches, you will begin to spread yourself too thin, which can hurt your brand. You may not be able to update all your profiles, keep track of photos etc. Explore the audience for each site that you have an interest and ensure it will complement your image. I suggest to my clients to join the major networks of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. As you see that you can manage these, then you can expand your networks. For example, you may find that your school alumni may have a network or a former employer. If you decide to populate these networks, use hellotxt.com or ping.fm to spread your status message to several networks at once.
3. Who do you add to what network?
When you begin to add people to your social sites, in time you will forget who is in your network. Maybe you started with personal friends and family but then you added a manager or colleague? Once you reach this point, you will need to make a strategic decision determining who is allowed to what site. One mistake could result in trouble. On Facebook for example, you may wish to create a profile page for your inner circle and a fan page for your professional image.
4. Promote and complement others, not always “me”.
While self promotion helps to build brand, it should be only approximately 10% of your comments. Share with others tips you have learned and promote other people who have impressed you or from whom you have received excellent service. Others will begin to promote you as well and we all know endorsements from others are stronger than your own.
5. Be Consistent
You know that I could not finish this blog without talking about being consistent which is how brand is built. Develop your core message and spread it across all your social medias, your website, blogs, presentations, press kits, business cards, marketing materials, packaging…you name it.
Remember we all have a personal brand whether we have built it or not. By managing your brand, paying attention to mentions of your name online and off line, not spreading yourself too thin, knowing your audience, and refraining from all talk about “me”, will help you build a strong personal brand.
So enjoy social media and strengthen your brand!