Sooner or later you will be googled. Maybe by an employer, customer, or neighbor. When that happens, what will they find?
What you hope for is that everything that turns up is both positive and indicative of the kind of person you are.
This article will provide some personal branding basics that can get you going toward having a positive and consistent online identity.
I have broken the process down to five not-so-simple steps.
1. Document your current online branding effectiveness. Put your name in Google and Bing. See what comes up. Screen capture the first three pages and print them out. Are you there? How many times? Any negatives? If nothing comes up add your location after your name and try again.
2. Make your online profiles consistent across all networks. Using the same picture, tagline, bio, etc. can be helpful to someone searching for you. Google and Bing bring in data from Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest (among others) into their name searches. If you are not on those networks, sign up. It’s 2013 for goodness sake – time to get in the game.
3. Eliminate negatives. Perhaps you thought it silly to snap pictures of you and your buddies drunk and then post them on Facebook. Perhaps you posted on a charged political thread? You need to eliminate all of that starting today. Rule of thumb – only post on the internet what would be perfectly acceptable on the front page of your local (or national) newspaper.
4. Find your real persona. What are your interests and what is your personality? What are your passions? These can be hard questions. They require thinking and soliciting feedback. What comes up on-line about you should synch with your best self. Your persona should part who you are today and who you are striving to be tomorrow. A well-done persona – your personal “brand” – can differentiate you.
5. Execute, execute, execute! You need to be out there on the internet with frequency, consistency, and quality. Post on blogs and contribute to discussion groups on LinkedIn. “Like” on Facebook, and “retweet” and “repin” posts that complement your brand/persona.
Building a brand is hard work – but it can be done, and it is worth it.
The goal here is to be easy to find. These steps will not only get you there, but they will also ensure when they find you, they’ll like what they see.