Building Your Digital Personal Brand
In just 20 Steps
More and more professionals develop and maintain interesting digital profiles working on their personal brand through LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Medium and developing and maintaining their blogs.
In our daily work, we usually train executives and complete firms, the more of them with thousands of employees, about the strategic importance for a firm in the hyper-economy of the 21st century in order for all its employees to proactively manage their personal digital profiles in the same way as we marketers and PR consultants manage corporate brands.
However, as we approach certain technophobic leaders, we begin to see a strong resistance to change, a reluctance to accept that everything is changing extremely rapidly, that we live in new disruptive times with new rules that must be learned, practiced and respected if we want to continue being competitive in this, the second decade of the 21st century.
Developing Personal Brand as a Valuable Profile
The first thing to understand is that new eras impose new rules. We must first understand, recognize, assimilate and accept that we are living in a new era, the more exciting and disruptive era according to the World Economic Forum(WEF) where industrial and post-industrial revolutions business models are now part of history or on the brink of extinction and that the world has evolved, yes, evolved towards a more collaborative form of society: The Knowledge Society or as the WEF calls it: “The Fourth Industrial Revolution”.
Let’s do a mental exercise: If we are going to have a meeting with someone we do not know in real life… We google it, right? So … Why leave the answer to this search at random?
There is a saying on the Internet that is extremely valid in these times:
The first impression is the last impression
How do we build that first impression?
1. Analyze your “digital footprint”. Analyze what the web and social media says about you and especially in what order it is presented by the Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page). If there is negative information, the only way to eliminate it is to send it to the later pages of the search engine and this work can be just titanic. In order to do that you have to produce new SEO friendly content, lots of it, using the proper keywords and hosting on a SEO friendly CMS (Content Management System). We strongly recommend WordPress.
2. Study how the best executives and influencers handle their personal brand. The best way to learn is by the example of others. Make a list of what they do and apply that know-how in you.
3. Make an exhaustive plan for the presence of your personal brand (A Blog, Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, Medium, etc.). You must also be special, original, different, credible, creative, consistent between what you say, are and do and particularly sustainable over time.
4. Be honest with yourself and define a working schedule you will respect and honor. Your audience will be accustomed to your posts according to the rhythm you apply. Keep it constantly updated with new information, facts and figures (infographics) and other means of Transmedia Storytelling.
5. Remember that everything adds up if you work well and everything is affecting you negatively if you work it badly or leave it. Try not to spread bad vive, nobody wants to feel worst when we read something (there is enough bad news already on the web). Remember, by sharing positive content you are adding your grain of salt to make our world better and your audience will reward you with shares and reputation.
6. A picture is worth a thousand words: Your profile picture is very important! Use the same in all your networks and blog, so you are easy to identify in a search.
7. Find your niche! One where you really and passionately stand out and share value. Opening up to many topics only causes confusion in people who will not know finally what your blog or networks are about. Sure, innovate adding new subjects, news, information, links and data, but under the same umbrella.
8. Create a blog in WordPress. The blog is the center of gravity of your digital presence where you will publish articles that you will later share as posts on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. There is no friendlier Content Management System than Wordpress. Google just loves it.
9. Be original, do not copy material. If there is material that serves as source for yours, cite them and reward them with links; that helps your SEO and it is likely that in retribution they will also link to your articles improving your search engine positioning in the SERP.
10. Learn to unlearn and learn again. Remember, the rules of the game changed and if you do not empty the cup you will not leave space for new knowledge to enter. Your worst enemy is the arrogance that dictates to your mind: “this is irrelevant, I do not need it”. Believe me, it does not matter who you are, what profession you have or what you do, you need it … we all need it. I simply love the title of this book by Marshall Goldsmith.
What brought you here won’t take you there
11. Your previous success can be your worst enemy. Unbelievable right? Well, it is, and Marshall Goldsmith is absolutely right: What made you successful in the 20th century wont make you successful in the 21st.
12. Provide and share value in the form of knowledge, this way you will position yourself as an expert in the field of your choice. It is recommended that you select certain topics (no more than 10) but all linked to the professional topics in which you are looking to highlight (what I call the umbrella).
13. Do not just post, please “listen” to your audience, engage with them, converse and answer their questions, comments and concerns. When they do that they are actually rewarding you. Your followers / following ratio on Twitter should be as much as possible 1:1. Try to follow people and organizations that also share knowledge. In this ultra fast times we live in there is no time to loose.
14. Follow and engage with thought leaders in the area of your expertise. Comment and share their content, they will do the same for you and raise your reputation. When you share their content you are bringing not just your knowledge to your audience, you are curating great information for them, this also freshens up your content. Overselling yourself is the worst sin you can make when you want to promote your personal brand and this is a great way to “bring balance to the force” like my Jedi friends always recommend me ¿?
15. Monitor current issues. What are the trends in your industry? What are you talking about? Join the conversation, study daily, learn and share value. This is called “real time marketing”. Join current hashtags and join the conversation with your content but only on “evergreen hashtags” hijacking hashtags is one of the worst practices in the social media realm.
16. Participate in LinkedIn groups and lead the conversation. Leading is not just talking, talking and talking, it is reading others, valuing, commenting and thanking their contributions. There is a great opportunity for you to impose a trend: being the leader means that everyone interested on the matter will read you. Look beyond and inform yourself thoroughly analyzing where your industry is going, become a futurist and share your thoughts on where your industry and the world is heading.
17. Use images; they capture people’s attention 60,000 times faster than text.
18. Follow and learn from more people every day, share their contributions, comment them, add value … in this way you will transform yourself into someone with whom everyone wants to relate, and a form of broadcast channel of your own.
19. Be disciplined and make this process a routine that you respect and practice with passion. You will notice through your contributions how much you are involved with your audience, your profession and your career and particularly, how you see the future.
20. Last but not least, enjoy the ride, remember that there is more fun enjoying the walk than just reaching the goal. Now that you know the path… walk the path.