This is a guest post by Lior Levin, if you want to guest post on this blog, please contact us.
Today more than ever, professionals are branching out on their own, creating businesses around their knowledge, experience, personality, and work ethic. Getting clients and building awareness of a product or service is easier than ever before with the use of the Internet and social media tools.
That said, in order to thrive in such a growing, competitive environment, it’s crucial to develop a unique, memorable, and relevant personal brand and to support that brand with online tools. There are simply too many solo professionals in existence now to let yourself blend in, or worse, become indistinguishable from the next solo professional.
Developing a personal brand takes thoughtful consideration, and once you’ve decided on the direction of your brand, it’s time to pull it together seamlessly using online tools.
1. Website and/or Blog
Image credits: HTTP
Even if it’s only two or three pages deep, a personal website branded with a unique URL is a must-have in your brand’s portfolio. Websites are essentially digital presentations – they introduce, inform, sell, answer questions, provide customer service, etc. Websites perform so many functions and can take your brand to another level.
Blogs, similarly, allow you to do double-duty branding in an almost entirely passive way. A blog post, once written and published, lives on for as long as you allow it to remain online, gathering traffic, informing prospects about you, your thought processes, your knowledge and expertise, etc. Blogs are great tools for teaching others about who you are, what you stand for, and what you can for your potential customers.
2. Social Media Pages/Profiles
Image credits: by Matt Hamm
This is like on offline marketing that we use business card printing. When it comes to branding online through the use of social media, it’s not the quantity that counts – it’s the quality. The time you spend building a circle of influence around your social media profile is so valuable, and the tools you use to maintain a lively social media presence can greatly improve quality. The key here is not to get as many social media profiles as possible; rather, the key is to make the ones you do spend time on really count. Building a following that cares about what you have to say is crucial. Use images and language that reflects your brand’s value and clearly communicates what you are trying to do with your social media presence. It’s okay to be social, but be social with purpose, so that you are using your brand and its growing awareness most effectively.
3. Attractive Image(s)
Image credits: by Stuck in Customs
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to how you should represent yourself visually, but the important thing to remember is this: be true to yourself. The images you use everywhere – in your social media profiles, on your website or blog, as your universal avatar, etc. – ought to accurately reflect you and your personality as well as the personality you bring to your brand.
You don’t have to wear a suit and tie if that’s not who you are, and you certainly do not need to go all the way to a professional photography studio for a headshot. And note – some images, such as the Facebook Timeline cover photo – need not even be a picture of just yourself. However you choose to represent yourself is up to you. Just be sure it says about you what you want others to be saying about you.
4. “About Me” Description
Image credits: i am Dan – About Page
Once you start building a presence online, you will be surprised at how many times you are going to be asked to write something about yourself and your brand. On just about every social media website, forum or message board, blog, community, as well as your own website, you are going to need to come up with a few sentences that describe who you are and what you do. Often times, this is called a “bio” and it will go with you everywhere, including the about me page on your website.
Spend time thinking about this. Write it down a few different ways, and perhaps even test it out on various sites. Remember that the words you use in your bio can be indexed in search engines and could bring you great traffic if you give it careful attention.
Creating a few versions of your bio (single sentence, short, and long) ahead of time will help you later on, so that you won’t need to re-create it for every site or community.
5. Professional-Looking Email Address
Image credits: Email
Other than your Facebook wall or Twitter account, email is going to be the primary way you will communicate with others you are introduced to online. For some people, email is the primary way of communication for everyone – including family and friends!
Because email is such a big part of life and work, it’s so important to choose an email address that’s easy to remember but is also up-to-date and professional. Generally, free email addresses just don’t look or sound as good as ones that come with a website domain name (example: firstname.lastname@example.org vs email@example.com). This is not always the case, but if you have the opportunity to grab an email address at your website URL, you should, and you should use it, too.
If it seems that handling a personal email address and a professional email address could get hectic or difficult, an easy way to manage all of your email is with Google’s Gmail service. Gmail allows you to receive email from your other email addresses, as well as to respond to those emails from your other email addresses. For example, you can use your Gmail account to receive mail from firstname.lastname@example.org, and then you can reply to those email messages as well. It’s all done in the backend and no one will know you’re using Gmail but you!
Creating a personal brand takes a lot of work and that’s why it’s essential that you support all of that hard work by using tools that communicate the extent of your brand to the people that matter most. Use these 5 tools every day to grow your business and conduct yourself online in a professional,
Cover image credits: Tools 3