Boost your profile – the power of online branding

By Jon-Michail

Being constantly online doesn’t do a lot for your profile unless you are using the right words. That sounds pretty obvious, doesn’t it? But many people are simply wasting their efforts. They’re not ‘meeting’ the right people or getting themselves noticed by them.

Start by exploring and using the main social media outlets – LinkedIn, Twitter and personal blogs. Professional blogs are critical to personal branding efforts. A blog gives you the opportunity to differentiate yourself to the point where it may land you unintended opportunities ie. employment, investment, etc. Additionally, when it is linked to a Twitter or Facebook account you become part of a wider network, radically increasing your networking power.

LinkedIn is particularly good for professional networking, giving users the opportunity to make a huge range of contacts. When you write recommendations for your contacts, the goodwill is often reciprocated, widening your profile still further. Serious Twitter users need to add some context to their ‘tweets’. Rather than giving a pointless thumbs up, add a comment that will promote discussion. Open-ended questions give others the opportunity to join the discussion and to give varied viewpoints. Both LinkedIn and Twitter offer a means of gaining a wide media profile, along with other major contenders such as Facebook, Posterous, Pintrest, YouTube and Tumblr. Examine each site carefully before deciding which to use, as the object is to boost your “profile quality” rather than to socialise.

How do writers get people to their blog or website? We advise writers to put their name in the title tag of their home page and then to use it as often as possible in the page itself. This increases a searcher’s chance of seeing the page near the top of search engine results when they type in the writer’s name. It’s also important to use real names when commenting on other people’s blogs or pages. Merge your personal and work personas. It’s a waste of time and energy having two or more online identities unless you work for the CIA.

Having established an online presence, it’s important to be yourself. Be personable and positive. Be authentic! Work hard at eliminating negativity. Avoid any anti-social comments or off-colour jokes. Even if you quickly remove the offending comment, the damage may already have been done. It’s all too easy to lose a potential client or the prospect of a job without even realising it has happened.

It may be tempting to badmouth other companies or products, particularly when others are indulging themselves. Again, it’s not a risk worth taking. Who knows what is going to happen in a year or two? You may be in the position of seeking employment with that very same company – and people have very long memories. If you are in the awkward position of regretting an impulsive comment that can’t be removed, the only way forward is to bury it in a stronger media profile so that it is “lost” by search engines. Don’t let your online personal brand ruin your job prospects or your client base. Always think first and BE PROFESSIONAL.

Be real yet respectful. Your online profile is an increasingly important part of your business career  and personal life, and used wisely, will create a strong network and give you opportunities you have never reached before, this is the  power of online personal branding.

Let us know what other methods you are using to build your online brand.

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