How to build personal brand online -- first steps

How to Build Your Personal Brand Online: First Steps

We are all connected. No matter how conservative you are in your online preferences, you still create the digital footprint — and it’s up to you to make it not just a mere collection of outdated comments or emojis, but a real personal brand.

Good news are: you have all the tools and skills in your possession! All you need to learn is some basic tricks and frameworks to use them. Today we will look into some first steps you need to take to start build your personal brand online.

Building Your Personal Brand Online: Checklist

1. Google Yourself

Start with obvious — Google yourself. In order to receive results unbiased by your previous searches and activity, log out of Google or use incognito search.

How to Build Your Personal Brand Online: Step 1: Google Yourself
Step 1: Google Yourself. As you can see, I’m using a strict rule “First name Last name” in order to get the most precise results, and an incognito search.

Google your name in different combinations:

  • first name last name;
  • last name first name;
  • “first name last name”.

The third option will only return results that have the direct inclusion of your name, and the first two will give you a broader scope where both words may be mentioned with some other words between them.

Now you will have an understanding of what your searchers get when they start to investigate you.

2. Inspect Your Social Media Profiles

Make an inventory of what is already present on the social media platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram. Look at them from a visitor perspective — what do they communicate about you?

There are plenty of other social media channels you can leverage for your online personal branding, and we will go into pros and cons of using them and how exactly to approach this in future posts, but for now just have a clear picture of what is already searchable.

How to Build Your Personal Brand Online: Step 2: Inspect your social media profiles
Step 2: Inspect Your Social Media Profiles. Do they look for others like you want them to do?

Make sure that your profile photo, bio, and publicly available content posted communicate the message that you want to be seen. Updated if necessary.

3. Create a List of Your Fields of Expertise

Now to the fun part! Even if your professional profile is all about, let’s say, education, it is not limiting you to being present online only in that capacity.

Sharing your expertise in different fields will create more complete, comprehensive presence. So if being a professional educator you are also a passionate traveler, pet owner, or a amateur writer, you want to use this experience and knowledge to contribute to your overall image.

4. Start Answering Questions

Probably the most proactive part of starting to build your personal brand online — your first appearance as an expert and adding to your first digital conversation.

Go to the platforms like Quora or Reddit and register your profiles there. Get comfortable. They offer wonderful possibilities for a leisure reading! (In this regards, I prefer Quora though).

How to Build Your Personal Brand Online: Step 4: Answer Questions on Quora
Step 4: Answer Questions: Find conversations around topics that interest you.

Fill into your profile: basic information like your name, photo, and occupation. Once you find the topics and discussions (answers in case of Quora) related to your fields of interest, contribute to the discussion to the extent that you feel confident.

Something I hear again and again from the clients is that they feel uncomfortable starting to give expert advise on their professional topics. And here your other fields of expertise list comes in handy! Only when your profile is more or less active, you get to the professional topics.

Good thing about Quora (and again I promise to go into much more detailed blog post soon about its capabilities for a personal brand building) is that you can customize your credentials based on the question you are answering.

So, if we go with the educator’s personal brand example, you can answer travel related questions as someone who is “Avid Traveler” or “Been to 190 countries so far”.

5. Follow and Share Strategically

Subscribe and follow experts and niche media in your industry. Curate the most interesting pieces of content on your social media profiles, at least on Facebook and LinkedIn. Allow these publications to be set to “Public” so that they are visible to your searchers, not only to your immediate contacts.

But consider not overdoing this! Sharing 1-2 publications and blog posts a day especially if accompanied with a thoughtful comment adds value and contributes to your professional profile online. Spamming social media with tens of updates every hour abuses your followers’ attention and can lead to unfollows and blocking.

TL;DR

Let’s summarize: When only starting to build your personal brand online you need to:

  • Google yourself and get a full picture of how you are currently represented on search;
  • Update existing social media profiles that you have with relevant information;
  • In addition to your topic of professional expertise, create a list of fields of interests that can add value to your profile (hobbies etc.);
  • Register on Q&A and discussion services like Quora or Reddit, fill in to your profiles, and take part in conversations on the topic that you feel comfortable with;
  • Start following your industry media and experts, and share updates from them on your social media profiles, but do this with thought in mind that you don’t want to over abuse your followers attention.

Soon, we will go through much more information on every aspect of this process, very interesting and inspiring indeed! Meanwhile, I suggest that you join our mailing list:

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