10 Strategic Ways To Improve The Web Presence Of Your Personal Brand
When I entered the world of entrepreneurship in 1999 I had a cell phone and an AOL email address to build a business with. That was the extent of having an online presence at that time so let's call it like it is, the world has changed drastically in the last 15 years.
Can you even remember a time when you went an entire day or even an entire hour for that matter without checking Facebook, Instagram or your email? As we move through our day and all the technological chaos, it’s important to keep in mind that in addition to our face-to-face interactions with people we are also interacting with people online and building our reputations (our personal brands).
There is a misconception out there that personal branding is something you wake up one day and decide to create. Quite the contrary. You already have a personal brand. Whether you have been focused on building one or not, every Facebook post, every tweet, every photo you share conveys something to the world about who you are as a person but what most people don't think to consider is their personal brand is also affected by what others have to say about them too.
So, it’s important to remember that how you are perceived by others is often a result of what your online presence has to say about you. We live in a time where people can stalk you to death before ever reaching out to you. Trying to collaborate on a project? Attract new clients? Land that new job? Get the attention of the hot guy at the gym? I could put a big fat safe bet on the fact that they are all checking you out on the world wide web before ever meeting you face to face, responding to an email or message. Kind of a scary, surreal thought, isn't it?! So with that being said, is your online first impression a good one?
Its never too late to start working on creating a stronger #BrandOfYou. Here are ten strategic ways to improve the online web presence of your personal brand:
1. Google #TheBrandOfYou - Have you Googled yourself lately? You may be surprised or even down right terrified of what you find. Remember that one crazy sorority party where you woke up and don't remember half of what happened the night before? Oops, someone wanted to reminisce about the good old days and posted a not so flattering picture of it to her Facebook page and tagged you in it. You may not be able to change some of what is out there but its important to know what others are seeing when they search for you.
2. Consistency - Using the same photo as your profile picture across social media will create a consistent image of what people see and what they see affects their perception of you. When people search for you are they seeing a photo of your 8 cats? There of course is nothing wrong with loving cats but when people search for you and instead see pictures of your many cats their first impression could dub you "The Cat Lady". Is that what you want to be known for? If that is a-okay with you great. If its not, then there is no better time than the present to make some changes. Consistency allows you to show your style and personality, makes you easily recognizable, conveys what you want to be known for and how you want to be remembered.
3. Don't Party And Post - Rule of thumb, if you would not want your mother, father, pastor or PTO buddies to see you Party Like Its 1999, then don't post it. Social media has a viral element to it. Once you post something its pretty much out there forever. It takes 2 seconds for someone to take a screenshot from their phone or computer and blast it where it can be shared over and over and over and over. A crazy moment resulting in a lapse of judgement can become a permanent online nightmare. (Did you know that some social media platforms and its content are archived by the Library of Congress?!)
4. Be Authentic - Gone are the days of making your life look like a scene out of Pleasantville. The perfect marriage, the perfect job, the perfect kids, the perfect business. The people you are trying to attract will not buy into the highlight reel of your life for very long. We are all battling struggles. We all have mountains to climb. We are all hot messes in one way or another. Be yourself. Be authentic. Sharing you struggles from a place of how it can help and serve others is what makes you relatable. Its what inspires people to want to connect with you more. People dig real people.
5. Create Fun Creative Bios and Profiles - Most social media platforms have a place for you to share a little bit about yourself. Share your values, what drives your passions and desire to help others. Be creative. Put some thought into it on how you can stand out. Let your personality shine. Your bio is NOT a place for you to sell anything so please don't be one of those people. When someone lands on your profile it should convey what you love, your interests and what makes life worth living to you.
The Muse is one of my favorite blogs and I always look forward to reading the author's bio at the end because they are all fun and creative. A few short sentences that ooze with personality.
6. Don't Be Self Centered - Are you a post-and-run offender? The type of person who is posting your every move on Instagram but never engaging with others? Popping into Facebook groups to share your latest webinar or course launch but never taking the time to participate in discussions to help others? Tweeting your latest blog post but never sharing content of another blogger to support them?
The Law of Circulation means you can expect to receive what you give. If you give little you can expect to receive little. For people to give two cents about what you do, you have to build trust and relationships. Social media may have given us new conveniences and the ability to reach more people but the like, know and trust factor is still a key element in order for them to do business with you. Period.
7. Don't Connect Your Social Media Accounts - This is seriously one of my BIGGEST pet peeves. Every social media platform is totally different from the other so it looks absolutely ridiculous for you to post to Instagram and share to Facebook with your 28 hashtags and "Instagram photo by Susie Jo • October 3, 2016 at 5:38pm UTC instagram.com/p/blahblahblahblah" attached to it. Or your post to Twitter that automatically went to Facebook with "Retweeted Susie Jo (@Susie_Jo):" at the beginning of the content. It looks silly and lazy to market this way. Take the time to learn and understand each platform so you can use them correctly.
8. Be Positive - Yes, as discussed above its important to be authentic, to be yourself but no one wants to listen to a Negative Nellie day in and day out. As business owners and marketers when we share from a real raw place we need to do it in a way that helps and serves others. If you had a hard day, share that openly but end it on a positive note of how you got through it. Use your hardships as a way to teach and inspire others. Use the messes in your life to share a message of how God got your through those moments. Use the tests to share a testimony. If you don't lead from that space you will just sound like a whiney adolescent who is addicted to complaining.
9. Be Respectful - My love hate relationship with social media is directly linked to the permission people have given themselves to to be judge and jury over breaking world news while hiding behind their electronic devices. To bully others and say things that they would never dream of saying to someone face-to-face. If you care about your personal brand you can't run around social media being hateful and disrespectful. How you convey your thoughts and opinions will speak volumes about who you are personally and will greatly affect the level of which people respect you. If you are a passionate opinionated person you may have to learn to step away in order to carefully think about how to respond in a tactful diplomatic way.
10. Raise The Bar - Take your creativity and multi-passions to the next level and blend them into one cohesive personal brand to create an even stronger web presence and share your values, story and unique voice with an even bigger global audience with a website/blog, tagline, logo, fonts and colors that represent your style and gives you a platform to share valuable content to attract the right tribe of people who will want to work with you.
Being proactive about your personal brand and web presence is crucial. You are either building your personal brand or you are checked out and allowing others to do it for you.
Were these tips helpful? Would love to hear how you are working to improve your personal brand so please leave me a comment xo
April Williams is a Creative Momista and Soulpreneur of 2 boys + whimsical wavemaker + creative expressive + Texas country girl + branding junkie who loves green mint tea + horses + fuzzy socks + surrounding herself with high achieving amazing women + peppermint anything + the color red + cozy coffee shops. She is a branding strategist for creative women entrepreneurs and founder of Creative Brandista™ .