Both social and digital have become vital components of any successful brand communications campaign. A company would have to be equally uninterested in growth and reputation to ignore their online presence in today’s technological age. Yet, as a recruiter, I often find that young professionals entering the workforce are ignoring their own personal brands online. A candidate’s social and digital footprint is one of the first benchmarks when establishing their viability. First impressions are no longer made upon first meetings… now… they are conveyed digitally. With that in mind, here are four basic “Be”s to building your authentic and professional online personality.
1. Be Concise
How you would like others to perceive you? Strive to build your personal brand to portray those values. We all have a unique set of skills that sets us apart from others. It’s important to honestly look within yourself to understand what expertise you potentially offer, and convey that unique value proposition within your personal online brand. If you are just starting out in the workplace, this may not be as easy as for a seasoned professional, but it can still be a fruitful exercise to better determine ways to strengthen your online presence.
2. Be Social
First things first, when using social networks, make sure the work experience, education and contact information on your profiles are up to date and that you use a professional headshot as your profile picture (preferably with a smile). Profiles with a photo are seven times more likely to be viewed than those without a photo. Add a brief summary describing your value proposition. Share content regularly that emphasizes your value proposition and engage in thoughtful conversations on the topic when appropriate. A strong social presence has the potential to open up a host of untapped business opportunities and connections, from attracting great talent and thought-leadership opportunities to even landing a new client. If you have a personal blog, be consistent and adhere to the boundaries you’ve set for your brand.
3. Be Professional
Audit your own digital footprint. Try Googling yourself to see what pops up. Look through several pages and click on the links. There could be multiple people with your name discussing a plethora of topics online. It’s important that you’re aware of who they are and monitor content posted that could indirectly tarnish your online reputation. It’s also wise to find any old blog posts you wrote that don’t reflect your current value proposition, or old (potentially incriminating) party photos, and take the necessary steps to have them deleted.
4. Be Organic
By being organic, I mean identify your personal brand story, and stay true to it throughout the process. Avoid accentuating skills that you are not fully prepared to deliver on in a real-world environment.
Building your online brand is an ever-evolving process. Be honest (or organic) in your approach and critically think about how you would like to be perceived. Do your best to exemplify those qualities in your online behavior to build integrity and equity in your personal brand.