It seems as though the topic of personal branding never goes out of style. There are always new techniques to start, grow, or change your personal brand thanks largely to the fast-moving nature of the web. Some principles remain timeless, while other tactics have recently bubbled to the surface as key best practices. Based on the current digital landscape, here are the eight things I see as being most important for individuals looking to grow and/or polish that ever-evolving personal brand.
1. Register yourname.com
Business cards are so 2011. “Oh, sorry but it appears I am all out of business cards. Just go to paultenhaken.com and you’ll get all the goods.” Even better is putting up a site at that URL, which will only make your personal brand SERP sing even more when it cracks the first page of results.
2. Craft an amazing LinkedIn bio
Writing about yourself is hard. Really hard. I actually hired an awesome bio writer who took an hour to interview me and then crafted a bio that hit things I never would have touched. If you can’t afford to hire someone, simply ask someone else to do it for you. You’ll find others are much better at making you sound awesome.
3. Get a professional headshot
I have harped on this before and will continue until I can harp no more. People will instantly judge your online profile(s) based on your avatar. If they like the avatar, they move to the bio and if they like the bio, they move on to the content. Make that headshot a good one. No selfies. No bad lighting shots. No poor resolution photos. No duck faces. Make the shot fit your brand in dress, style, and location.
4. Setup an About.me page
These are free, are highly indexable by Google, and are great personal brand building pages. Heck, you can even redirect yours to that personal domain name in #1 and voila, you’re officially a big deal.
5. Buy your name in search
Google yourself. If your name is Jim Johnson, you are never going to stand out in a SERP (sorry, Jim). Consider bidding on your own name using pay-per-click in a radius where you want to be noticed - for instance, 250 miles of your city. For probably the cost of a latte per day, you can own your name in search. It’s a cheap and easy way to invest in your brand and ensure that when people are looking for you online, they have no problem tracking you down.
6. Set up a Pinterest profile
Wha? Why? Trust me folks, it’s not to learn how to make banana bread. Pinterest profiles rank very high in search engine results and are a great way for you to show what makes you tick. For instance, my profile is full of boards that give you a good idea of what I am into, and what my personal brand is all about. Plus, I can now crochet doilies.
7. Clean up controversial crap
We’ve all done it, but few correct it. Go back through your open profiles and get rid of posts that don’t accurately reflect your brand any more, were posted in the “heat of the moment,” or are simply no longer applicable to how you feel today. Your brand will evolve, and your social profiles should reflect the person you want people to know today.
8. Create a network strategy
Do you accept Facebook requests from professional contacts? Do you let anyone into your LinkedIn network? Is your Instagram account protected or open? More than likely, your tweets are open for the world to see, no? Know your networks and who you’ve allowed into them. Then, craft a strategy in line with your personal brand that fits the platform and audience you’ve built on each.