10 things you can do to improve your personal brand online
1. Register your own domain name
If you haven’t already got ownership of your identity as a domain name, then I highly recommend the small investment (around $20 per year) it takes to secure it. Whilst we all like to believe we are unique; in actual fact most of our names are not! Snap yours up if it’s available.
Owning your own domain name might not seem like a necessity now; but with the rapidly changing online landscape, it may well be commonplace in a matter of years for a website to replace your CV. Not only does owning your own domain name give you an advantage in what people see what they search for you, you also prevent this site ever being used against you.
For now, if you haven’t got your own blog or website, you can simply redirect the URL to your LinkedIn profile.
2. Register a unique username URL for LinkedIn
Similarly to owning your own domain name, securing your name on LinkedIn is another move to owning your identity in a world where many have the same name. Another valuable reason? Unlike the generic LinkedIn URLs that contain a mixture of letters and numbers after your name, the unique usernames are shorter and easy to remember. And they fit on business cards! Go here to claim yours and customise your public profile URL on the right hand side.
3. Ensure you have a LinkedIn photo
Did you know that by not having a photo on your LinkedIn profile you are seven times less likely to have your profile viewed? There are some legitimate reasons as to why some people fear putting up a LinkedIn profile photo. Some are concerned about discrimination, others may not like any of the photos they have of themselves.
Having no photo on LinkedIn could send a message that you lack in confidence and this can create a perception incongruent with appealing to recruiters or potential future employers seeking talent.
Having a photo of yourself on LinkedIn adds credibility to your profile and is an absolute must!
4. Contribute your opinion!
It’s easy to throw a whole heap of links up online, but what shows real thought leadership is when they are accompanied by a comment or insight of your own. It also shows that you actually read the article before you recommended it to others!
5. Set up your Google+ profile and post updates
Google+ is the often forgotten social network but it definitely plays its part when it comes to personal branding. Google+ really adds more SEO into your online branding toolkit, with G+ content organically ranking well in search.
But if you can build your following on Google+ and garner some +1s, this will boost your rankings even higher. So don’t ignore it, use this tool to your advantage as a weapon in your SEO arsenal!
6. Understand what content works for you, and what doesn’t
Twitter really is my favourite social network and one I think everyone should be on if they truly desire an online brand. But do you really understand who your audience is and why they follow you? Are you across what pieces of content are popular and which are bombing? A tool I couldn’t live without is Buffer, which when connected to my bit.ly account tells me every how many people re-tweeted, favourited, and clicked on my content as well as the potential size of the audience exposed to each piece. These tools will give you great insight into how you should shape your personal content sharing strategy.
7. Schedule some content to post at your peak times
Sometimes you’re not available to tweet at the times that work best for you. Use a tool such as SocialBro or Tweriod to generate a ‘best time to tweet’ report. It analyses your followers and when they are active, and tells you what days of the week and times are best for you to be posting content.
Now I am a big believer in social media being spontaneous but there is also a place for scheduled tweets, especially when they are links. I do believe that the majority of your content should however be ‘in the moment’.
8. Re-tweet someone
Share the love and re-tweet others.
One of the biggest objectives of being on Twitter is having your content exposed to more people, therefore increasing your traffic, followers, and online status. This will only happen if everyone continues to re-tweet.
I have to say I have seen a trend lately of more favouriting of content as opposed to re-tweeting. It seems lately that everyone is so concerned with their own personal brand that they are hesitant to re-tweet others. Make sure you give a little in order to receive!
9. Follow 10 new people on Twitter
How often do you proactively increase the number of people you follow on Twitter? Are the people you’re currently following even the right people? In order to be seen as an expert in your field you need to be connected to other experts. I have two ways I like to find like-minded social media professionals.
The first is by using Twitter Lists. I look at what lists others have put me on, and then I scour those lists to see who else has been placed in the same bucket and follow in turn. For example, I was recently placed on a list called ‘Top Social Marketers’. It makes sense for me to go through this list, connect with those who strike a chord with me or who seem influential, and eventually engage.
The other way I find new people to follow is by using a tool such as FollowerWonk. This site allows you to search Twitter profiles based off their bio information. This means I can search for anyone in ‘Australia’ whose bio contains the words ‘social media manager’.
10. Start a blog
Probably the biggest investment time-wise, but is an awesome way to boost your profile and credibility as an expert is to have your own blog. Here you can share original thoughts, which you can use your other social channels to promote.
Having my own blog was instrumental when progressing my career especially when I was seeking my first social media manager position. It was a differentiator that made me stand out from the pack of other applicants. I kept this blog for around 3 years (now no longer active) and was committed to using it to help me climb the ladder. When you don’t have a lot of runs on the board experience-wise it was essential to show that I understood and had great ideas within my industry.
Is there anything I’ve missed, or anything you’d like to add? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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