How To Build Your Personal Brand Online

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Everything affects your personal brand: What you wear, how you speak, even how you compose an email.

The same applies online. A profile pic says volumes about a person. So do their posts on social media, or what comes up when you Google their name.

You’re a brand, whether you like it or not, so you’d better put on your marketing hat and get to work cultivating yours. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Assess Your Current Brand: Before you can start building your brand, you have to take an honest assessment of what it currently looks like. How do people view you? Google yourself. What comes up? Ask your friends to complete an anonymous survey. Ask them questions like, “What five words would you use to describe me?” Another great one to try is, “If you didn’t know what I did for a living, what would you guess that I did?”
  • Look For Inspiration: Who are the top five people in your field? What do they have in common? Do they all write for major publications? Do they sell courses? Do they appear on podcasts? Try to find a common thread.
  • Determine Your Audience: If you’re just starting out, you probably don’t have an audience yet; so make one up! If you could speak to any audience, who would it be? I used to be a radio DJ and my boss told me to imagine that I was talking to one person in their car. Who are you talking to? Are they old or young, male or female, etc.?
  • Be Niche: If you try to appeal to everyone, then you end up appealing to no one. Figure out who your target audience is and serve them.
  • Find Your Voice: Who are you? Are you funny? Maybe you are sarcastic. Whatever your voice is, it needs to be consistent online. You can’t be clapping back on Twitter and then trying to inspire people on Instagram. Be yourself, but amplify it. Turn it up a notch in order to get heard.
  • Have A Social Media Game Plan: Don’t try to master all social media channels. Pick one or two to focus on. And be consistent. Make sure you’re using the same voice across your channels.
  • Clean Up Your Profiles: Use a professional picture. I can’t stress this enough. Don’t take a selfie in the bathroom or cut an ex-girlfriend out of a photo that you looked good in. Also, make sure your banner is the correct size and that it is on brand. It might be time to ditch that Kansas City Chiefs header on your Twitter profile.
  • Create Content: The 90-9-1 rule states that 90% of people view content without contributing, 9% edit or modify the content, and only 1% of people create content. Be the 1%. It will separate you from your peers.
  • Start A Website: Where is all of that content going to live? YouTube, Instagram, Medium? Having a website of your own allows you to share all of your content in one place. It’s your online home.
MarketingTom Ward