Do you google yourself? Businesses, recruiters and customers frequently use Google to validate individuals, brands and companies. Do what they are going to find if they type in your name right now?Improving your online profile is no daunting task. If you take advantage of the tools available to you, you can manage your personal and business internet identity efficiently with relatively little effort. Follow these nine simple personal branding tips and you’ll watch the results roll in. But remember to think of it like an investment: the more time and effort you put in, the more you will get out.
1. Make sure you have a strong online presenceGoogle results are likely what people who don’t know you will use to base their first impressions on. Professional portal providers such as profiled.com promote you to search engines straight away, making you the first port of call for contacts searching for you. That will provide them with everything they need to know about you quickly and easily.
2. Engage and networkSocial media sites are a great way to boost your online profile and engage with influential people in your industry. However, it can be a double-edged sword and can cause serious damage to your business if not handled correctly, so think about it wisely. Sign up to the social media sites which you think are going to be the best platforms to reach your audience. To get the most out of social media ensure your profile is filled out completely and post things that are useful and interesting to your audience.
3. Lock down all the sites you want to keep privateAll too many people and businesses are being caught out by what they share on social media sites. They have to cope with serious damage to their reputation and can be very difficult to pull back from. As the famous saying from Warren Buffet goes, “It can take a lifetime to build a reputation and only 15 minutes to destroy it.” If you use Facebook to post your holiday snaps and to talk to your friends and family, then protect your profile so professional contacts can’t come across it. Also, don’t forget to lock down your LinkedIn connections. Fail to do this and those connections you’ve taken years to build will just be shared with everyone.
4. Position yourself as an expertWriting a blog is a great way to tell people what you are all about and to prove to the world that you know your stuff. Encourage customer interaction by writing about what’s relevant to them, and position yourself as an expert in your field. It can be extremely beneficial to your brand – so get blogging!
5. Keep an eye out for dealsSome businesses offer exclusive deals for their blog readers or Twitter followers. Speakers offer free tickets to their followers for events/conferences. Sign up to RSS feeds and groups that are relevant to your audience and keep an eye out for any deals that would be beneficial for you and your business.
6. Drive audience engagementWith the fight for customers and clients becoming ever fiercer it is crucial that you stand out from the crowd. Engaging with customers and influencers online is a great way to show people you are willing to go the extra mile and to encourage them to buy into you over someone else. Always try and engage with customers and ask their thoughts on certain issues and always respond to customer queries/complaints in a timely and polite fashion, which leads me on to my next tip…
7. Manage customer relationsHere’s what your Google results say about you: what does the world think of me, no matter what the truth actually is? If there are customers posting negative things on the internet about you which you aren’t aware of, and which are coming up in your Google results, then this could cause serious defamation to your brand. Signing up for a media monitoring service is the first step in successfully controlling your reputation. Responding promptly to what people are saying on the internet is a great way to ensure a positive reputation which is key to business success.
8. Keep it simpleWhoever said, “you never know where your customer is going to be, so you need to be in all of the places” was wrong. This is the ultimate social media mishap. Signing up to every social media site under the sun will take way too much time for you to control and manage successfully, so keep it simple and just sign up to the few that you think are the most relevant in attracting your audience.
9. Be consistentHaving strong brand consistency is one of the best ways to build brand loyalty and trust. Therefore make sure your profile pictures and taglines (who you are and what you do) are consistent in order to create a strong personal brand. In this highly technological and social age you cannot afford to have anything working against you. The internet has become your biggest ally – so use it to your advantage! Steve Wainwright is the founder and chief executive of Profiled.com, a professional portal site which brings together your professional internet presence into one place for business contacts to access.
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