You know you need to start paying attention to your personal brand but you’re not ready for a professional to help you make it stellar. No worries, there’s always something you can on do on your own to help build your brand. Here are three areas that are perfect for DIYing your personal brand.
Update Photos of You
You know the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”? Well, it’s true. What people see in the pictures you provide online tell a story about who you are. Even if it’s just a profile picture for LinkedIn, you want it to portray you at your very best and in a way that is meaningful for your personal brand. If you are a banker, you do not want to have a picture taken during last summer’s vacation. You’re profession demands that you are seen as a serious professional with high ethical standards who can handle finances. A modern, fitted suit or dress shirt and tie with traditional background would do you well. Silly, I know, but true. If you’re an artist, a picture of you in a conservative suit (that works for the banker) with a traditional gray background shows nothing of the creative person you are and the people you want to notice you are going to wonder why you felt the need to pose in this way. Are you getting my drift yet?
Along that same note, it goes without saying that, whenever possible, you have professional photos done for your official sites (think websites, company profiles, LinkedIn profiles) and that you UPDATE THEM every few years. Yes folks, as much as it pains me to say it, that absolutely wonderful and perfect photo that was taken 10 years ago is not going to cut it in personal branding today. I’m not saying it isn’t a perfect photo to use, it was – 10 or even 6 years ago – but I’m here to tell you NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE, looks the same after 10 years. Imagine seeing a photo of someone and reading about them, learning all you can about that person, and deciding you’d like to network personally with them or interview them. Now, I’m sure you don’t decide to meet with anyone based solely on looks. However, the image of them helps solidify their identity to you. Psychologically, we all find it easier to remember a name/person when we have a picture as well. Imagine how you feel when they walk in the door and they look so different from the person you have seen online. It takes a lot of resolve to overcome the shock and be able to stay focused on the matter at hand rather than the fact that they are nothing like you had imagined.
Clean Up Your Social Media
Here’s the thing, your personal brand is a 360° view of you. It’s both your professional and private life combined. People who you work with or may think of working with you may decide to look you up. Now you can decide to make EVERYTHING completely private and that would prohibit everyone not personally approved by you to see anything at all or even find you. That’s ok but there are a lot of reasons why this might not be good for your personal branding. Namely, it makes people wonder what you have to hide or whether or not you are “outdated” and not well versed in what is current or not. Regardless, you will probably want people to see at least some of what you have out there and if that is the case, it would be good to take an active role in monitoring what is seen on your profile pages and what you say.
Delete any embarrassing or highly controversial posts that could alienate the very people you want to attract. Read how to delete or keep private your social media in the settings of each of the social media you have. You can also find out more via numerous blogs and articles about each of the social media.
Create a Personal Branding Goal
Before you can really work on a personal brand, you have to ask yourself “what do you want people to think about you”. You can’t answer this without knowing what goal is driving you and knowing what people already think about you. The latter, what people already see as your brand, is a question not easily answered without access to branding tools such as 360Reach which will give you anonymous feedback and professional analysis of that data. But knowing your goal is something that can be done on your own and in your own time.
What is your goal? What do you see as your mission today that will help you achieve that goal tomorrow? This might be big or it might just be a simple stepping stone. But, regardless, you need to know the answer to this in order to pursue an intentional personal branding which will give you results.
So, book the photographer, go through your social media, and think about what you want to accomplish. When you’re done, you’ve already started laying the foundation for your personal brand.
Kristine Pierce is an experienced attorney turned certified personal branding strategist and certified social branding analyst. With a decade in government regulatory law, including as the Governor’s appointed State Extradition Coordinator and the Minnesota Commissioner of Public Safety’s Chief Legal Counsel, she has also been a speaker, author and instructor. She’s passionate about sharing her vision that people should do what they love, never give up on their big dreams and never fear change. Rebranding is possible if it’s done well. As Founder of KHPierce Consulting, she focuses her expertise on helping professionals, solo business owners, and people in transition achieve their goals by finding methods and strategies to showcase their uniqueness. You can find her on Twitter @kristine_pierce; Instagram @kristine.pierce; LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/kristinepierce and at http://www.khpierce.com