As I have been assisting my daughter with building her online presence to help her in landing her first job or internship, I found that there were ten basic guidelines for keeping real while building your online presence or personal brand. Being authentic online is not an easy task.
We want to be professional at work, and we want to have the freedom to be ourselves in our personal lives, and walking the boundary between the two can be hard. The most influential leaders find a balance between the two.
Now more than ever, your online presence is critical in representing yourself in the business world. No matter your market or stage in career, representing yourself authentically and honestly will not only benefit you but assist you in shaping the future that you want for yourself.
Find Your Tribe
In these crazy times of COVID-19, the internet is a fantastic resource to find other people who have a similar personal brand or message. You can find your tribe on LinkedIn, Instagram, Meetup groups, and many other social media platforms.
Once you find a platform that you are comfortable with, start connecting! Follow people who inspire you and engage with their posts. Create your content and post regularly. Set a goal to make a certain number of connections per week and be diligent about connecting authentically with people. Networking can be a low investment, and you do not have to have experience! You can be a novice and learn from experienced professionals who are sharing their knowledge. Soak it up!
Sharing is Caring
Do you have a passion for cooking? Are you a master at building websites? Share your passion with the world. YouTube and Pinterest tutorials are popular for an excellent reason! People want to learn and connect with like-minded people. You have something to share! What makes you uniquely you? Find the format you are comfortable with writing, video, podcast, and share what you know! You will be amazed at the relationships that you can build around shared interests.
Connect & Communicate
Once you find a group or person to connect to, be active with your communication! Do not rely on others to keep the relationship going. It is a two-way street. If you are using a platform such as LinkedIn for your communications, be engaged! Post and engage with your followers and others within the platform. Show your connections what it is you care about and connect with, this helps you to connect with others who support you, your ideas, and challenge you to grow. You will even find others that you can support in their journey.
Once you decide on your brand, make sure that it is the same on all the platforms that you choose to represent yourself publicly. If you also have personal accounts, make them private. I always suggest searching for your name and email online to see what other people see when they look for you online, this is an excellent method to find out what kind of presence you already have.
Make sure your online persona is reflective of the person you want to be. You do not want to have a LinkedIn page that says you are a wiz-kid digital marketer and a Facebook page that highlights your joy of knitting if you are truly looking to expand your marketing business. You can be diverse but be intentional about your direction if you are trying to achieve a desired result, such as increased presence or sales. What are your goals, and does your brand and online presence help you achieve them?
What colors and fonts highlight who you are and what you stand for? Always spend time researching brands or influencers that are similar to what you would like to achieve or places that they would like to work. What is the
Make your values known
When you create posts, articles, or content, keep in mind that whatever you are posting becomes a reflection of who you are – even if you don’t intend it. Time and time again, we have seen celebrities and politicians have to speak to something they posted or said from years past. We all change as the years go on, but be mindful that you may have to be accountable for something you wrote or said, so make sure that you are responsible.
Connect with someone who inspires you or shares the same point of view. Collaborate on an article or podcast episode. Create a joint blog. Support each other by holding each other accountable and checking in. However, you choose to do it, strengthening your network with quality people will help improve your brand.
Stand up for what you believe
Spending time focusing on your goals, passions, and beliefs is a natural way to represent your brand. The more that people can see you living out the things that you stand for and expressing your truths, the more natural your brand representation becomes. When you stand up for what you feel is right, friends, acquaintances, and strangers start to associate you with those values and will be more comfortable having conversations around those topics with you. Live your truths.
As cliché, as it is, being yourself is the best way to enhance your brand. Your clients are working with YOU; your coworkers are working with YOU; future employers are looking for YOU, so be who you are. Find out what you are passionate about and what makes you the best you can be and go after the opportunities that make you the best version of you. Spend time with the best version of yourself. Don’t be afraid to open yourself up and be a little vulnerable. People appreciate honesty more than working with someone is not being authentic with them or worse – themselves.