Personal Branding

brand building

Developing a strong personal brand can be challenging, especially if you are just starting out in your career. If you aren’t sure where to begin, it’s nowhere as difficult as you might be thinking. The advent of social media has provided us with so many tools and resources, and personal branding is now far easier than it’s ever been in the past.

As a general rule, the first step that you should take should be to create a consistent presence on a slew of social media websites including your blog, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook if you haven’t already. If you define your personal branding in the right way, no matter where someone looks for you, your brand will be clearly visible and identifiable, and you will stand out from the crowd.

Recruiters typically use social networking sites to find potential talent, as well as vet the people they find as candidates. When a recruiter finds your profile on LinkedIn and likes what they see, they will start digging into your background across the internet.

They’ll run a quick Google search on you, and your Facebook profile is the first thing they’ll probably look at. What they are looking for is inconsistencies in the statements you have made in your profile where they first saw you. Basically, you want to present yourself as the same individual, no matter where you are found online.

People develop an impression of your brand based on the following key elements:

How you present yourself.

Personal branding is about doing your best to manage other people’s perceptions of you, and how people connect with you on an emotional level. Recruiters and hiring managers will form perceptions of you from the state of your LinkedIn profile or what they find through a Google Search. Online, you’ll define the essence of your brand through social networking and social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other sites.

Your online identify should be consistent no matter where someone looks for you so that you are the only person a hiring manager thinks about regarding a particular job position. Your blog, CV (résumé) and marketing documents (cover letters, online portfolio, and so on) can all add to your brand identity. With this in mind, much care should be taken to make each social media profile visually appealing, telling the same story of your brand on each social platform in a different way in order to match the personality of each platform.

When developing your social media profiles, it can be tempting to go overboard with special formatting, a bunch of graphics, and other similarly superfluous additions. It is significant to note that whatever you choose to use on any of those platforms are all key elements of your brand identity, and the best approach would be to create a consistent brand image by using exactly the same signature colors, graphics and formatting everywhere you are present online.

What you say to your target audience.

This includes the content you post on your blog and on all of your social media profiles. Depending on your career, you should make an effort to put together a blog. Your blog can help identify you as an authority, and also help define the relationship you have with potential employers. Great blogs impress employers, and improve your search engine rankings, which in turn gets more attention to you, and pushes you and your brand up the search rankings.

As a general rule, if you choose to specialize in the digital marketing field, most firms will expect you to have a personal blog. It will not make any sense to hire someone for their online marketing work if they don’t have an active, interesting, popular and well-written blog.

If you are defining your brand as an authority in SEO and social media, it means that every professional article you post on your blog, and every content you publish on G+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media platforms where you are present should be designed to brand you as a knowledgeable and helpful expert in digital marketing.

In each of your social media profiles, show your passion for your field, and demonstrate why you are an expert. Don’t say it, show it through the content that you post online. Give your target audience only one conclusion to draw about you.

Post tweets on Twitter and updates on the other platforms that have to do with your niche, and to reach out to others to talk about the latest news, techniques, and ideas that are floating around in your field. Avoid posting anything that is inconsistent with the image that you are trying to project to the world. This means posting less than flattering images of you on your Facebook Page is out of the window.

Defining Your Personal Brand

In order to define your brand, you will need to carry out a self-analysis. Answer the following questions to effectively define your brand:

  • Who are you?
  • Who are you?
  • What is your area of specialty?
  • What distinguishes you from your competition? What is your USP?
  • What problems will your products solve for your customers? How will this make their lives better?
  • What are the things you do better than everyone else?
  • What is your elevator pitch?
  • What do you feel is your singular mission or purpose?
  • How do you want to be perceived by your target audience?
  • What are your values? These are typically the guiding principles that are most important to you and drive your personal decisions.
  • What are the specific services you offer? What problems do you solve?
  • What are your professional passions? E.g. do you prefer to work with technology, code, design, children, etc.?
  • What most sets you apart from your peers and competitors?
  • Who is your target market?

By taking the time to answer these questions, you can begin to create a personality for your brand that effectively defines how you want to represent yourself to prospective employers. When you know who you are and what you stand for, you’ll know what type of jobs will make you happy and fulfilled.