Google yourself - what's your personal brand?
Every one of us has a personal brand (whether you know it or not). When you Google yourself, what shows up? These results are the first impression people will have of you. With platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media sites sharing our information with the world, it’s more important than ever to get our personal brand right.
We are joined on this week’s episode by Tracey Mesken, an experienced Marketing & Branding specialist with close to 20 years experience of building both small and large companies’ marketing and digital capabilities. Tracey, a certified practicing marketer is the Head of Marketing for The WorkPac Group, one of Australia’s largest recruitment companies as well as the deputy chair of the Queensland Committee for Australian Marketing Institute (you could say she knows her stuff.)
What is a personal brand?
When you think ‘brand’ you might think a fashion label or company name. Personal branding however is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. ... It’s the ongoing process of consistently promoting the skills, experience, and personality that you want the world to see. Your personal brand is how you are perceived in both person and online.
Why should you focus on building a personal brand?
Three simple reasons (which we will explain in detail):
Distinguish an area of expertise
Build Trust and Credibility
Create a Digital Footprint with purpose
Ultimately with the aim, to land a job, get a promotion, and or win business!
Distinguish an area of expertise:
Think of yourself as a brand and ask yourself:
What do you want to be known for?
What do you wish for people to associate with you when they think of your name?
Is there a certain subject matter in which you want to be perceived as an expert of?
In marketing we would call this a positioning statement. This statement helps you articulate your area of expertise and how you add value to your target audience.
Build trust & Credibility:
People do business with people who they Know, like and Trust. Gaining respect and appreciation of your talents builds confidence in your abilities. In an era of “likes, shares and comments”, if your talents are recognised and endorsed by others too, people outside your network are going to feel more confident that you are as great as you say you are.
Key tips: Join and contribute to online groups related to your area of expertise. Answer questions and think about how you can add value to the conversation. Follow leaders and companies that operate in your area of interest.
Create a digital footprint with purpose:
Anyone can like and share posts on Facebook. But when you think of yourself as a brand, you define your position and can build a digital brand with purpose.
If you work for a company, tighten up security on your personal Facebook & Instagram profiles. Also review/delete old questionable profile photos and cover images.Remember, often it is hard to remove unsavoury parts of your digital footprint, what happens on google, stays on google.
Where should you start?
Firstly, do a digital audit (fancy term for Googling yourself) and see what you find. Next, set up a google alert with your name here. That way you are the first to know if you have featured somewhere new (you’ll need a Gmail account). If your name is unique it’s a double-edged sword. Everything you have ever digitally been associated with comes up.
If you are like our co-host Rachel Treasure… you are going to need to work a bit harder to stand out. This is because there is another Rachael Treasure in Australia and she is an Author Journalist and novelist. Rachael the author has several pages dedicated to her on google. So, what this means for Rachel the Lawyer and postcaster, is that she needs to think about herself as a brand and articulate her niche online and in person.
How should you build your professional social media presence?
Start with LinkedIn:
Choose your picture
LinkedIn members with a photo receive 21 times more profile views and 9 times more connection requests. Is your photo on brand? Is it professional, can we see your eyes? If you have a great photo but you don’t like the background (including but not limited to because you were in a bar), there is a really great free website called www.remove.bg
1. Optimise your headline
use keywords and your positioning statement that we spoke about earlier!
2. Optimise your Summary
Craig Rosenberg advocates 3x3 LinkedIn summaries…Three paragraphs with no more than three sentences each. Emphasize the results you've helped drive either for your company or clients, what separates you from others in your profession or industry, and the things you're passionate about. Make sure to include contact information in the final paragraph and consider adding a gentle call to action (Ex: "Follow me on Twitter," "visit my website to learn more," etc.).
3. Personalise your URL
What we mean here is that you can get rid of all the random numbers in your URL. Go to the top right corner of your profile and click ‘edit public profile & URL link’ and change it to just your name.
4. Ask for Recommendations
If you have a client or peer thank you for a job well done, ask them for a recommendation. Don’t be afraid to draft a couple lines for them. A great way is even to offer to do a recommendation for someone and ask them if they would do one in return.
How about building your brand in person?
Here are a few quick tips from Tracey to build your brand offline:
Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
Do you research – don’t be afraid to google the people you are meeting with
Network and attend events in your sector.
When you meet someone, introduce yourself using your positioning statement, and before ending the conversation, ask them if you can add them on LinkedIn. And do it within 24 hours.
Photos – keep them professional.
When you are at a work function, single out the important people and talk to them first. It might be your boss, or a difficult colleague, or a competitor. Go see talk to them early, so that you and they remember the conversation (in case a few drinks are involved after).
Final personal branding tips from Tracey:
Things not to do:
Don’t Send an impersonalised LinkedIn connection request
Don’t leave your photo or company name blank
Don’t share your competitors posts. The don’t need your help.
Don’t Badmouth competitors. The entire point of a personal brand is to separate yourself from the pack, but you don't have to do it by putting others down. Focus on what you do, not what others don't.
Don’t Talk only about yourself. Express your value in terms of your target audience. Your story should be as much about them as it is about you.
Things to do:
Be persistent and consistent
Research. You won't know what makes you different if you don't research your space.
Find ways to produce value. Create or curate content that’s in line with your brand.
Be purposeful in what you share. Every tweet you send, every status update you make, every picture you share, every post your like, contributes to your personal brand.
Associate with other strong brands. Your personal brand is strengthened or weakened by your connection to other brands. Find and leverage strong brands which can elevate your own personal brand. Are there groups you can join? An alumni newsletter you can contribute to? What hidden opportunities are available within your company which you have yet to tap?
A big thanks goes to Tracey for all of her expert advice. We certainly weren’t aware how important personal branding can be! If you have further questions for Tracey reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on instagram @talkingcentspodcast.
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Caitlin and Rachel Treasure.