3 Useful Checklists That Will Quickly Build Your Personal Brand
by Elizabeth Harmon
Posted: August 18, 2016
We all understand that branding is important for businesses, in order to stand out in a crowded market and to be perceived by customers in a particular way. However, branding has broken free from just influencing the traditional organisation and now plays a big part in the lives of individuals. Introducing the latest career development buzz word… personal branding.
In much the same way as traditional branding, personal branding is the image you establish of yourself in the mind of others. As Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon, says “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room”.
Personal branding is not exactly a new concept, but it has come to the forefront because of our digital footprints which are rapidly expanding due to our presence on social media. You may therefore already have the start of a personal brand, without even realising it.
A positive personal brand can help open doors and set you up for success at any stage of your life. Your personal brand can help you to be seen as a trusted voice in the industry, as a specialist in a particular area of expertise, as a role model and can also help you to differentiate yourself from others. So, if you’re looking for new clients, a new job, or want to be considered for a promotion, your personal brand can help these opportunities come to you.
A good personal brand requires you to work at it and cultivate it over time. Unfortunately, you may never be able to 100% control how people perceive you, but there are steps you can take to enhance what they say or think.
Here are some checklists with ad hoc, weekly and monthly tasks that you can carry out, to help you get started.
Define your personal brand goals
It is important to understand what you want to achieve through your personal branding. Do you want to get approached by recruiters or be considered as an expert in the industry perhaps? Your answer to this question will help you when it comes to creating a strategy for your personal brand. Don’t forget to review these goals though, as you may find that they change over time.
Set your tone of voice
Your tone of voice can be extremely important as it not only tells people who you are, but can help build trust, make you stand out, show your personality and much more. Outline your tone of voice in a document and refer back to it when you’re next doing a presentation, writing a blog, or networking.
Plan your attire
First impressions count and so make sure your personal brand extends to the way you dress. Do you want to be perceived as fun and friendly, professional or formal? Make sure you dress accordingly.
Create social accounts
Set up social media accounts so that you can build your digital footprint. Your account names and handles should be consistent, with custom URLs so it is easy for people to find you. Social media can now be a great tool to use for job searching – so ensure you come across in the right way. You may want to keep your personal and professional accounts separate – so ensure your personal accounts are private to only your friends. However, it is important to remember that your personality should shine through – don’t keep things too corporate if you don’t have to!
Update your branding
Ensure your social media accounts have a cover image and profile picture which reflect your personal brand. Your imagery and colour choices should be consistent and reflective of you across all your accounts too. Why not go the extra mile and create something different to help you stand out in the crowd of candidates - try out our new personal brand tool to create a personalised web page with your personal brand.
Update your information
Make sure your details are up-to-date and correct across all your accounts. Although sites such as Twitter only allow for a few words, it’s still important to stick to your tone of voice document. For sites such as LinkedIn, there are a number of different sections to fill in. Make sure you don’t leave any gaps and follow LinkedIn’s personal branding checklist for help.
Weekly / Daily
Post content on social media
Now you have built a presence on social media, don’t just stop there. Make sure you increase your brand awareness by posting to your channels on a regular basis. Add value by sharing posts about trends or things going on within your industry. You could even post about your passions and interests, but be careful not to over share and to focus on quality rather than quantity.
Show your expertise
Instead of just sharing other people’s content, show you’re an expert in your field by creating your own. Start a blog, publish articles on LinkedIn Pulse, or if you’re a really keen writer, you could even write a book.
Connect with people through social networks, such as by joining a LinkedIn group. Nurture these relationships by engaging with them and responding to any messages you receive. Try setting yourself targets, such as to speak to 1 new relevant person each week. The saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” can ring pretty true in many situations.
Audit your presence on search engines
Have you ever typed your name into Google? Give it a try now and see what happens. Ideally, you want sites such as your website, blog, Twitter account and LinkedIn profile to appear on the very first page, towards the top. If they don’t, then you’ve got some work to do! Publishing regular content can help, along with concentrating on including keywords, adding Meta tags/descriptions and creating quality backlinks.
Review your social media accounts
Put some time aside each month to review your social media presence, to ensure you’re happy with the image that you’re putting out there for everyone to see. For example, has a friend tagged you in an unfortunate picture that you don’t want employers or colleagues to see? Make sure you untag yourself or get the picture removed. Don’t forget to take a look at how your posts are performing too. Was there one post that received a higher number of likes, comments or retweets last month? Knowing this information can help you develop your action plan going forward.
Get your name heard
Although digital platforms are important, it is also possible to build your personal brand offline. Attend physical events such as networking evenings, tradeshows or even consider volunteering or speaking at conferences. Don’t forget to take along some personal cards with your details to hand out to relevant people.
Ask for feedback
Although you may think you know how you are being perceived by others, the best way to find out for sure is to ask. Speak to friends, family or a colleague and get their open, honest feedback. This is a great way to see where you need to make changes, in order to improve your personal brand.
What does your personal brand currently say about you? Is it different to how you would want people to perceive you? Leave a reply below, or tweet us @OpenCollegesAU.