October 26, 2011

The Social Medium: How to Build A Strong Personal Brand Online

You may have noticed I recently rebranded and redesigned most of my personal and professional online properties, profiles, and social networks. I think I was overdue for a (slight) facelift amounting to mostly cosmetic changes and improvements to project a cleaner, more professional look and feel. This was all in an effort to refresh my own personal brand online. Here are a few tips. Enjoy.

1) Define yourself (clearly).

It's no coincidence I use the same keywords, phrases, and slogans to describe myself and my work. I am diligent in maintaining a consistent (more on that later) and reliable personal brand online and in real life. This is part of managing expectations and relaying a solid professional presence.

Don't be afraid to be bold, but do it cautiously. There are extra points for originality (only if you do it right). You want to stand out positively. If the mood strikes, I'll fly loose and use more personal, fun elements to project my personality, but I try to keep it relatively consistent and clean.

2) Make things looks nice.

I am a bit of a design junkie. I read a lot of blogs and know what I like in terms of design and content management. I think there's a lot of value in clean, simple, basic, straightforward designs. I hate clutter and messiness.

Sometimes I struggle between juggling a fun, genuine, authentic personality online or a professional, sleek look. I choose to display amateur, goofy photos of myself in order to build a strong connection with my audience. However, I'm ever more moving towards fancier, classier design elements for business purposes. Whatever I do, I try to never be boring.

3) Build and control your brand.

Own your brand. It will become you are. It should reflect you as a person accurately. Be genuine, but make sure everything you put online truly and accurately reflects who you are and what you do. Keep things professional. I encourage personalism and personality, but assume any and all potential employers will see everything you post or share.

You are the only one who can control what you are seen and thought of. With the advent and legacy of online sources, who you are online will live forever. Obviously, a large part of your brand is who you are and how you act in person. Needless to say, be nice, professional, courteous, and kind. Of course, always be thankful and show gratitude to others.

4) Consistency and repetition.

Whatever branding you decide upon, stick to it and replicate it everywhere. Strong brands project reliability and consistency. Secure your name online as far as URLs and social media properties go. Have a consistent presence and message across online platforms. You shouldn't be wildly different on different mediums, but tailor messages and information to each channel.

You may not notice it (and you shouldn't if I'm doing it right) that I keep a very painfully consistent template and branding for all my postings online wherever they appear.

5) Don't get too fancy.

Less is more and simplicity goes a long way. I use to cringe at the sight of customized MySpace pages back in the day. I get a lot of positive feedback on my relatively basic designs, especially on my business cards which are straightforward and painfully simple yet still creative and reflection of my personality.

Personal branding can be as simple as a good photo of yourself, your name, and what you do. It goes from there and you can complicate and simplify things at your whim. It's very important, you project the proper image and message you wish to convey to the world.

The design and look of your personal branding should never overshadow your content. It should only enhance it and be a true reflection of who you are and what you do.

Photo | Estel Ciurana

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