Episode three focuses on how people perceive you based on what you are putting online about yourself.
What is personal branding?
According to Wikipedia, you can define personal branding as the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, group or organization. Personal branding often involves the application of one's name to various products.
Personal branding is important for someone whose business is built around his or her name, such as myself: Lara Wellman Digital Marketing. It is important to think about how my business, my business name and myself are interconnected.
Why is personal branding so important?
Whether or not your business name is the same as your personal name, you are still linked to your business’ reputation. People will Google your business and, more than likely, they will see your name attached to it. In the eyes of a client or customer, you are your business.
How do I find out my personal brand?
1) Browse incognito: because browsers are designed to find content that is most relevant to you, if you Google yourself you are more likely to come up with more hits about yourself than someone else would, since your Browser knows you are interested in you. To prevent this you need to browse incognito, here’s a link to a tutorial to show you how on various web browsers: http://www.7tutorials.com/how-browse-web-incognito-all-big-browsers).
2) Ask a friend: Ask a close friend to Google you and report back on what they find out about you. You may be surprised!.
At the end of both of these activities, take notes of what you find out about your personal brand. Is the information online telling people what they should know about you?
Create general guidelines for yourself and your business outlining what you want people to think about you and your business based on what is online. For example, are you okay with images of your children or other family members being online? What about complaints? Do you tend to post negative comments on Facebook or other website? Remember, those are searchable online and are representative of you and your business.
How do I make the right impression online?
What kind of information do you want people to find about you and is any of that missing? Fill those gaps! This means filling out your LinkedIn profile, and being cautious with personal posts on any social network. It's very important to think of anything you post online as having the potential of being seen by everyone. Think before you post!
This includes professional images – including headshots. If you are a professional and want people to take you seriously then a professional headshot will help you achieve this. Before you meet with a photographer think about what you want people to think about you when the see your professional headshot? Write down these keywords and bring them with you to your photo session. This will help ensure that your professional photos really speak to what you want people to see. Then keep this in mind with every photo you post – it’s okay to be fun and quirky if you are comfortable with people seeing that photo (now and in the future) and know it may connect with your audience somehow.
Remember, the more new, compelling and relevant information that you put out there, the more the old stuff will be slowly pushed down and out of Google search. So, create content that reinforces what you want people to know and think about you and then work to maintain and manage your personal brand online.
Links mentioned in this post + extra resources:
How to browse the web incognito: http://www.7tutorials.com/how-browse-web-incognito-all-big-browsers).
Blog post: Personal branding