How to Build Your Personal Brand Online
Whether you are applying to jobs, starting out on a new business venture, or wanting to market yourself as a freelancer for hire, you need to develop a personal brand, and that personal brand needs to make itself seen and known online.
Getting your name in front of people is simply not enough to make your personal brand recognizable and successful. When people see your name, they need to associate it in their minds with your brand. Through your online marketing efforts of yourself and your abilities, you must create a way for people to identify and recall the personal brand you have established for yourself.
Things to keep in mind
Narrow your focusPeople often say, “You’ll never be able to please everyone,” and they say it often because it is the truth. Decide exactly who it is you are trying to market yourself to and focus on making connections with these people through what you do online. If you are unsure as to who your target market should be, conduct market research to learn more about what population sectors could most benefit from and/or would be most interested in what you have to offer.
With too broad a focus, you will leave yourself unable to truly wow the right people. Narrow your focus so that rather than just generally appealing to some, you can strike a chord with many.
Be authenticNo one likes a phony or someone who just seems to always be trying too hard to impress. Be the real you in how you present yourself and in the messages you put out on the web. In establishing and marketing your personal brand, you need to be authentic. Doing so will make you more relatable and approachable, and result in more community engagement and customer loyalty from your target market.
Channels to use
Personal websiteYour personal brand needs a website. There is no debate on this. A personal website for your brand is a place where you can provide visitors with samples of your work, testimonials from clients, and an overall better idea of who you are. To best market your brand with a personal website, make sure it has the following:
- Strong domain name:The domain name you register for your site is important. It will often be the first interaction a person has with your brand. When they see your site’s domain name on your business card or type it into their web browser, it should be forming an idea in their minds of what you have to offer them and prompting them to remember your brand in the future. Help it to do these things and set itself apart from all the others by keeping it concise, relevant to your brand, and different from that of your competitors.
- Good SEO: Keep SEO in mind as you develop your personal website and produce content to be shared through your various online channels of communicating with your audience. Utilize keywords and phrases that will help your site rank well with search engines and get in front of more people as they conduct their online searches.
- Engaging content: Everywhere you share content online, you need to strive to make it what will encourage audience engagement. If you are posting things on social media and including things on your website that just get scrolled over by internet users, you are missing out on valuable opportunities to make more connections between people and your brand. Create and share content that is of interest to your audience and that meshes well with your brand and what it has to offer by making your posts visually appealing and by choosing relevant subject matters.
Social Media AccountsFacebook now has 2 billion active users. Instagram has about 600 million monthly users. Twitter averages 328 million monthly users. Your personal brand can not afford to ignore numbers like these. It can not afford to miss out on all of those potential interactions and connections that can happen on social media. Utilize social media to create content (and share the content of others sometimes) that is of interest to and that will catch the attention of your social media community in order to build up your personal brand.
Freelancing job sitesIf you are looking to freelance your services, make use of the tools available to you online. Freelancing job sites like Upwork and Freelancer are great ways to gain exposure for your brand and to check out your brand’s competition. Sign up for one or more so that you can create a profile and network in efforts to further develop your personal brand online.
Engage in thought leadershipThought leadership is a modern way to answer questions that your target audience might have. Make contributions to the websites and blogs of other parties. Share the knowledge that you have on other platforms and make your mark in your industry more pronounced. The more that people see your opinions on a subject and that you are engaged in the community, the more likely your personal brand is to become the most trusted source on that particular category or field and people are to see you as an expert.
There are so many opportunities to market yourself and your personal brand online today -- you would be doing yourself a disservice to pass them by. Engage your target audience by showing the real you and by giving them what they want to see online, and in the process you will be building up your personal brand’s identity in their eyes.