Leveraging your personal brand online

Your personal brand is essentially how you present yourself or your business to the world, and particularly potential employers, colleagues, and business partners. Building your brand is the same as building your reputation, and this can be used to your advantage if you want to improve your job prospects, progress your professional networking or grow your reputation within your industry.

Your online brand

Finding a job or doing well in business isn’t just about having an excellent CV anymore. Networking, both online and offline, are more important than ever. The internet has given us more ways to compete with one another as we take control of our online presence and use it to advertise ourselves.

Your social media profiles not only act as an online CV of your business acumen and achievements – they are also an opportunity for you to present who you are as an individual. To be more effective, you need to showcase your personality whilst also demonstrating your professionalism.

What makes you different? Think about your skills, achievements, goals and interests inside and outside of work. Are these coming across on your social media channels and website? If not, think about how this could be putting you at a disadvantage, or even harming your reputation – you don’t want to seem behind the times.

How to start developing your personal brand

How you present yourself on social media has also given your current and potential employers an opportunity to find out what you do outside of work. In today’s job market, employers are highly likely to have researched your online profiles during the job application process.

If you want to take control of how others’ see you online and build authority in your industry, here’s how to start:

What do you believe in? What are your particular skills or areas of knowledge? Establish this first so you know what you are presenting to the world.
Be yourself – don’t present an unrealistic or polished version of yourself online as you will have to live up to this when you meet people in person. You also want to seem relatable and approachable.
Spend time building your social media profiles. They should be well thought out and as full of detail as possible. Choose social media platforms that are appropriate for you – LinkedIn and Twitter are great places to start getting your voice heard in the business world as they are great networking platforms. You can join our LinkedIn Alumni Networks here.
Post regular content relative to your knowledge, beliefs and industry. Share articles that interest you, give your opinions, ask questions and have the confidence to speak your mind – but don’t be offensive. You also might want to consider starting a blog.
Support the great reputation building work you’re doing online by getting involved offline too. Volunteer to speak at events or take part in workshops to build your audience, gain respect in your industry and get your voice heard.
Be careful about what you’re sharing off the clock. Look at your visibility settings on Facebook for example – know who can and cannot see your drunken photo from Saturday night. It only takes one to ruin your hard work.
Keep learning – stay up to date with the latest industry trends or knowledge by reading articles, attending lectures and taking courses, and share what you’re doing online. It’s all very well if your profile says you’re a leader in your industry, but you should be ready to prove it.

Remember that if you have any online presence at all, be it a website, a twitter account or even a Google business page, you have an online brand. The important thing to take away is that you learn to control and tailor the information about yourself (or your business) that you are putting out there, and use these platforms to your advantage.