Back in the days, your personal brand was restricted to your business card, unless you were actively in the media spotlight.
But now, with the hyper social, all-encompassing nature of the internet, everyone has a “personal brand” if they’re fairly active on social networking sites.
But that doesn’t mean it’s an effective or attractive personal brand.
Your personal brand is how you showcase your skills, strengths, personal and professional milestones, as well as your opinions to the world. But most importantly, this should be under your control.
You can either let your brand shape itself chaotically, or you can get your hands dirty and actually mold how business prospects or potential hirers see you.
But before you dig in, make sure you do these 3 things to make the process simpler and the end result more targeted.
1. Ask your friends and colleagues for feedback
This IS the hardest part – after all, who wants to hear unpleasant things about themselves.
TBH, your friends and colleagues may even hold back when you ask them. So make sure you ask them for honest, constructive feedback for strictly professional reasons.
Hey, you can even consider creating a Google form where they can have the option to send in their views anonymously.
Take everything with a grain of salt. You are after all on a personal quest to better yourself and being defensive won’t help you in the least.
Once you’ve collated all the “areas of improvement,” start working on them one day at a time to build them into productive habits.
Also, don’t be selective about your “areas of improvement,” unless of course a comment shared with you is meant to disparage you rather than encourage your growth.
2. Audit yourself
Take a good hard look at your IRL as well as online presence objectively.
Is this a person you’d trust with high value projects or snap up immediately during an interview?
What would you do differently?
Create a habit journal and note these aspects down. Work on them a little every day.
Once you’ve audited your IRL habits, move on to how you express yourself on social media.
First, do a quick Google search and see what comes up, both on the search page and the image pages.
Audit your Facebook timeline, Insta, and Twitter feeds as well.
Yep, it’s time to bury those Tequila Tuesday updates and photos for good under your new evolved personal brand.
Next ask yourself these questions:
Is there a severe disconnect between your past and present selves?
-It may be a good idea to clean up your feeds and make your Facebook and personal Instagram private then.
Are you vocal about your religious and political beliefs more than usual?
-It’s generally not a problem if you’re on brand: consider Arianna Huffington, for example. But, if you’d rather project a neutral stance, go ahead with the cleanup and remind yourself to not be radically outgoing on your feeds moving forward.
Generally strong political and religious beliefs are off putting to employers or to business prospects whose own beliefs may not match your own. Social beliefs are generally not an issue, unless hate speech is involved.
Are you venting online or feuding with someone?
-It’s easy to unleash a tirade when you’re hiding behind a screen, but it does reflect poorly on you in person. Refrain from these at all costs if you don’t want to come across as defiant or easily aggravated.
Do you come across as a positive person?
If your feed is drowning in moody and vague quotes bordering on passive aggression, it’s time to shelve those. People naturally gravitate towards positive and objective individuals. Positive and level headed folks also inspire trust and confidence – so work these aspects into your future updates.
3. Start laying the foundation of your personal brand
Once you’ve accomplished the clean up and started working on your areas of improvement, it’s time to lay the foundation of your personal brand.
Ask yourself these questions to proceed strategically:
What are your passions and are they relevant to your personal brand?
-Quick tip: learn to differentiate between passions and hobbies. It’s cool to share a glimpse of what you love during your down time, but don’t let them take over your feeds.
However, if you can work your hobby into a distinguishing aspect of your brand, for example, Marie Forleo and her love for dancing, feel free to go all out.
How do you want your brand to come across on social media and in person?
-Save yourself the trouble and keep it as authentic as possible. Otherwise, you risk losing interest in consistently building your brand. And – consistency is key when building a personal brand for long-term success.
When people think of you, what do you want them to associate you with?
-Positive? Thoughtful? Helpful and knowledgeable? Make these qualities an integral part of your brand.
Do you want to position yourself as an industry expert?
-Focus on creating as much helpful content and freebies as you can. Inbound Marketing – or relation building – is the name of the game in 2019.
Building a personal brand is all about learning to accept the parts of you that need an overhaul and projecting your strengths effectively. It’s also a progressive and continuous process.
Don’t expect short term returns when you’re on this journey. But I promise, your growth and success will skyrocket if you keep at it.
Don’t start building your personal brand before you do these 3 things
P.s – For more tips on building your personal brand get our free resource “10 Tips to create a great first impression” here