Recently, I came across a revolutionary article for its time entitled, “The Brand Called You” from Fast Company, published in August 1997.
Tom Peters, the author, discussed how large companies knew the importance of branding. He said individuals should observe these companies and take note. A solid personal brand is vital for propelling yourself forward in the marketplace and chances “to learn, improve, and build up…skills” are endless.
Fast forward to the present. Today, people are more aware of their personal brand. Social media networks and all-knowing search engines like Google make those personal brands much easier to access than when word-of-mouth referrals and traditional advertising reigned supreme.
According to the Pew Research Center, 78 percent of women online use social media. “Google” a friend’s name from high school, and chances are, her face will pop up on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
Since people can find your online persona 24 hours a day, it is imperative you know what message your profiles are sending.
Personal Branding Assessment
1. Search, search, search. Google is a godsend for gathering the basics about yourself.
2. Evaluate your brand. Determine if your current online image is in alignment with your goals for the future. Now is also a great time to revisit where you are and where you would like your career to take you. These measures will ensure you stay on track.
3. Plan a social media strategy for your personal brand. Tailor your messages to project your ideal brand. While social media cannot be controlled, you can help guide the currents of communication.
Today, there is virtually no division between your professional image and personal one. Keep a close eye on your personal accounts. You can control what is visible on your accounts to a certain degree through privacy settings.
Make a plan for the image you want to project including the target audiences you would like to reach and take steps to get there. Find out where your target audience lives online and be there to accommodate them.
Assessment is only the first step in creating your personal brand. Check back soon for tips on managing and maintaining your online image.
*Sources and stats updated in July 2020.