You—not your company, not your company’s product or service, YOU—are a brand.
And though you’re employed, you never know when that will change, so it’s vital to make certain your personal brand is as good as it can be.
This goes doubly in an age where everything we do goes online and stays there.
That has its advantages: The time for social media and brands has never been better.
But be careful. A headhunter can consider you for a job, look you up, and decide to move on without your ever knowing. That could be a good job and a better life lost!
Here are five tips to strengthen your online presence:
1. Spring clean
Start going through your social media accounts. Make certain there’s no evidence of your misbehavior.
What do I mean by that?
Un-tag your drunk pictures, and get rid of stuff that makes you look like an idiot, a jerk, or lazy.
Also make certain your privacy settings work, so that argument you had a few years ago with your mate online isn’t accessible to everybody.
Many people have found out the hard way that forgotten photos and posts can hurt you.
Keep your profiles up-to-date.
It doesn’t take much time to let your social networks know where you work and what your responsibilities are.
When people look at what you do, they shouldn’t be looking at what you did five years ago.
The adage, “It is not what you know, it’s who,” is truer than ever. Make sure you know people!
Reach out occasionally to the people you know—it doesn’t have to be often, as long as you stay in touch.
When you need a favor, help or advice, they’ll be far more likely to help you.
3. Keep to your niche
Online it doesn’t pay to talk about everything and anything.
Instead, talk about what you’re good at.
You know all about content creation versus excavation? That’s your topic.
You’re an effective leader? Talk about that.
When people look you up, you sound intelligent and well-informed, not like a goof who’ll ramble about any topic.
4. Create a website
It’s straightforward to do and doesn’t cost much.
And if you spend a bit of time on it, it will take people’s attention away from that photo of you walking into a light pole (was that just me?).
Of course, if your site looks horrible, it will do more harm than good. So invest a little effort.
5. Sell yourself
Seven billion people out there: A lot of competition for eyeballs.
If you want to compete, show them your capabilities.
Put your abilities on your website and in social media. Nobody will do it for you.
You don’t have to make yourself sound like a horrible person. You don’t have to tell everybody you’re the greatest when you win a prize, or get nominated, or get a new job.
What tips do you have to build your personal brand, PR Daily readers?
Patrick Cole is an entrepreneur and freelancer. He is also a contributing blogger for several websites. A version of this article first appeared on Spin Sucks.
This article was originally published in December 2016.