Whether job hunting, freelancing, or networking, controlling the story that people read about you online is one of the most important strategies for personal branding. Yes, people will Google you. Yes, they will read your Tweets, peek at your Instagram, and eavesdrop on your Facebook. Within the construct of the Information Age, hiding in the shadows is no longer an option. Almost everything about you is readily knowable to anyone with a computer and a modicum of search engine awareness.
This means that how you present yourself matters. Now, more than ever, it’s important to craft your own brand online. Even if you’re not positioning yourself for a job, your online presentation should align with your personal brand. If you don’t want to be defined by those unflattering Facebook photo tags, it’s time to take control of your online persona.
Define Your Personal Brand
What would you like for people to know about you? If you’re honest, the message changes depending on the audience. This is why it’s so important to have a laser focus when you’re developing your personal brand.
“Decide on a niche to market to,” says Mark Satterfield, marketing expert and founder of Gentle Rain Marketing. As author of the book, The One Week Marketing Plan, Satterfield is on a personal mission to empower entrepreneurs, business owners, and consultants to build their own successful business, one week at a time.
By positioning yourself in one niche, you can start to become an authority in that area. “If you want to become one of the recognized experts in your field, you need to have a soapbox—a platform from which you speak or write,” Satterfield suggests.
Establish Yourself as an Expert
One of the smartest strategies for inextricably relating your brand with a niche is by actively engaging on that topic. You should have a blog that sets you up as an expert, and you should take the opportunities to guest post on other blogs in your niche.
It’s also necessary to establish yourself on social media platforms. It’s not just for keeping up with family, friends, and favorite people. But, choosing the right social media platform will positively impact your ability to market yourself effectively.
“If you’re targeting executives in mid to large sized companies, or professionals, LinkedIn makes a lot of sense. If you have videos you can promote, YouTube is now the second largest search engine after Google,” Satterfield shares. “What comes as a surprise to many people is how valuable Facebook has become as a lead generation platform for businesses.”
Satterfield goes on to suggest the best place to start your social media promotion. “Personally, if I was going to pick one social media platform, Facebook would be where I would start.”
Personal Brand Development in 5 Steps
Here are five steps Satterfield suggests you take today to start developing your own brand:
One: Determine your audience
Who are you most qualified to speak to? An easy way to figure out the answer to this is by pinpointing who you’re most passionate to speak to. Having a genuine interest in your subject will ensure longevity in your niche.