5 Ways to Jumpstart your Digital Brand
In today’s internet economy, your digital brand and reputation is just important as your personal reputation. Now more than ever, we’re relying on social networks and the internet to tell us about the people we’re connecting with. How many of us “Google” a new connection or new person we are about to meet?
At one point in our lives, we’ve heard the “networking speech” about putting our best foot forward. And while it may seem cliché or trite, developing your brand in social and digital networks is something that gets glossed over or forgotten about in the myriad of activities in your daily life.
Developing your digital brand is a great way to differentiate yourself and build your network. It serves as an opportunity for you to both shape and share your story and personality and to amplify that story for others to hear. With that, here are 5 things you can to jumpstart your digital brand.
1. Check yourself
The internet’s been around for awhile, and you’re an accomplished professional so chances are you’re probably somewhere in the interwebs. It’s important to understand what’s already out there about you so you can figure out if you need to do any “cleansing” before developing your brand any further. Start by doing a simple Google search to see what’s out there. If there’s anything suspect or concerning, consider using sites like reputation.com which can help you remove any embarrassing information that might be out there.
2. Find your authority
What do you want to be known for? Are you immersed in the tech-startup scene? Passionate about fashion and ecommerce? Rockstar coder? Its important to define whatever you are (or want to be) and to ensure that authority is noted across all your social and digital profiles. This way, when people come across your profile they can see what you are known for. For example, if you’re an ex-management consultant and looking to break into start-ups, consider adding the different types of technology (ex: 2-sided markets, SAAS Software, Social Networks) you’re most interested in to your LinkedIn Summary or Skills section.
Source: Alex Dea’s LinkedIn profile – I’ve added in the areas that I have experience in and am curious about to my summary section on LinkedIn
3. Get some photos
We all like things that look visually appealing, and that goes for your digital brand. For any digital network you are participating in consider putting up high-quality photos. If you have professional headshots, great. If not, consider finding a photographer to get some done. Giving people the opportunity to connect “the name to your face” is particularly helpful. Note: Some people suggest having the same photo across all of your profiles. Others, suggest tailoring the photo to the network. I think both are great options, it just depends on what you are comfortable with.
4.Evaluate the tools
There are a lot of great free digital tools to promote and augment your brand. You can get a lot of value out of simply signing up for things like LinkedIn, Twitter, and SlideShare. Furthermore, there are lots of great tools for which you can pay extra money for that can enhance your brand even further. These tools are not meant for everyone, so pick what you think works best for you. One of my favorites that I’m happy to pay for is LinkedIn Premium. LinkedIn has been one of the best ways I’ve built my digital brand while in business school and has enabled me to not only build my reputation but build my network into areas I was not active in previously. For me, the ability to “warm e-mail” LinkedIn members was instrumental in helping me build contacts for my desired industry (technology) and helped me land numerous internship interviews.
5. Form Habits
Creating and developing your digital brand is not a one-time activity. It’s something that requires continuous effort and improvement. As such, it’s important to start developing habits when it comes to evaluating and improving your digital brand. Consider committing yourself to 3-4 habits with regards to your digital profiles. For instance, make a commitment to checking LinkedIn for 5-10 minutes a few times a week. Or, creating a Twitter profile and posting 3-4 articles you that you read per week.
Developing your digital brand won’t happen overnight, but with consistent effort it can grow over time and enhance your career.