The internet is full of advice for people looking to digitally boost their personal brand. However, before you can enhance and optimize your personal brand, you must first establish a strong online presence. While this task can feel daunting if you’re new to the world of online branding, there are practical steps you can take to get your name out there and position yourself in the best possible light online.
To help, we asked the members of Forbes Coaches Council to share tips for establishing a strong personal brand online. See their best advice below.
1. Know Who You Are And What You Have To Offer
The first step to having a powerful online brand is to know who you are and what you have to offer. Ensure that all of your social media (personal and professional) and online offerings are planned to enhance, not confuse or take away from the brand image you want. This does not mean being fake or inauthentic. It requires that you are clear and then congruent when representing yourself. – Christine Grimm, Aria Consulting International
2. Decide What You Want To Be Known For
People put the cart before the horse, thinking that they need to be visible in one place or another that is “the hot place” to be noticed. They forget to ask themselves who they are, what they want to be known for and by whom before they try to get in front of their audience. What’s most important for you? With whom do you want that to resonate? How do they want to be spoken to? Start there. – Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
3. Study The LinkedIn Profiles Of People Who Inspire You
I recommend reading the LinkedIn profiles of people who inspire you and who do work you aspire to do. Identify what they do well and how they represent themselves. Once you review three to five profiles, start or refine your own profile. It is important to start with the summary statement. Start with a clear statement of the value you deliver. – Maureen Metcalf, Innovative Leadership Institute
4. Start Where You Are
Begin by making a commitment to be active weekly. Engage two to three times per week, posting and commenting—contributing more than just likes. Complete your profile and continuously come back to update and modify it as your confidence increases and your brand crystallizes. – Angela Cusack, Igniting Success
5. Reflect On Your Goals With Personal Branding
First, do some reflection. What are your goals with personal branding? Why is it important to you? Why now? Define your strengths, knowledge, areas of expertise, values and passions to form the foundation of your personal brand. A personal brand helps people believe that they know you better, and people have higher trust in those they feel they know, even people they have never met personally. – Susan Sadler, Sadler Communications LLC
6. Create And Publish High-Quality And Consistent Content
Develop quality content by writing about what you know and identifying what your audience wants. Post on your own website or landing page or publish content on other sites. Guest posts are also an option. Regardless of where you post, your contributions should be of high quality, bring value to the reader and be consistent. – Palena Neale, Ph.D, unabridged
7. Go Where Your Audience Is
In addition to knowing the profile and personas of your target audience, it’s important to understand what social media platforms they go to and why. This can help eliminate a lot of unnecessary noise from sales invites as well as help you with formulating what’s needed for your marketing budget. – Sheila Carmichael, Transitions D2D, LLC
8. Educate Yourself On Social Selling
I was one of those who believed that setting up websites was the best option for online visibility. Yet, it is futile without building relationships with people. It might be possible that you don’t even need a website, and an engaging social media platform is enough for you. Learn as much as possible about social selling that focuses on building relationships with consumers. Selling comes later. – Inga Bielińska, Inga Arianna Bielinska Coaching Consulting Mentoring
9. Use Testimonials To Tell Your Story
Clients may believe you, but they will more readily believe other clients. There is so much information competing for our attention online, and it is rare that people read anymore. So, I suggest asking your clients to appear in 30-second videos talking about your product or service. Have them also discuss why they chose you over a competitor. – Curtis Odom, Prescient Strategists, LLC.
10. Showcase Who You Already Are
Personal brands are not about “creating,” they’re about “expressing.” Showcasing who you already are will be the best move you can make when launching your brand. I cannot stress enough the importance of authenticity. That way you never have to worry about looking fake or taking time to “rebrand” because, when you’re being yourself, there’s no need for revisions! – Miranda VonFricken, Miranda VonFricken – Masterminds & Personal Growth Coaching!
11. Clean Up Your Existing Digital Footprint
Start by spring-cleaning your Google footprint. Type your name into Google and see what links appear in the first two pages. These are crucial for positioning your personal brand. Click on each one and make sure they are up to date and relevant. If not, remove the page, or yourself from it, if possible. Then, see what pops up in the Google Images search and remove any irrelevant or dubious ones. Do this regularly. – Gabriella Goddard, Brainsparker Leadership Academy
12. Be You
We like to know that people are human like us and can help us grow. Show us who you are, on your website and on social media. Include your headshot, who you are when you’re working, what you’re passionate about and your hobbies. We want to connect with the real you. We want to know that you have struggled with the same things and have grown through the challenges. – Frances McIntosh, Intentional Coaching LLC
13. Give Away As Much Content As You Can
Don’t be afraid to give away as much content as possible. Make sure that content always speaks to what you are known for. You can never predict when or where you will get noticed by someone. Pay attention to what engages people, and then interact. Think of the building of your personal brand as the building of your personal community. That will ultimately be what you will optimize and enhance. – Paul Geiger, Public Speaking Advantage
14. Get Professional Photos Taken
An important practical step is to get professional photos taken that truly represent your authentic personality and style. Ask your network for referrals to find a good photographer and get it scheduled! Yes, this will make you feel vulnerable, as it does for everybody, but a great photo will speak louder than words. Summon your courage and put yourself out there in a newly bold and genuine way. – Glenn Taylor, Skybound Coaching & Training
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1900 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.
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