Today's post is a guest blog from Kaitlin Zhang. Kaitlin is a London-based Personal Brand consultant, and we met earlier this year at a Personal Brand workshop she was running (and I was asked to speak at).
She has a deep understanding of online reputation management and has put together this great introduction to building your online presence.
Be sure to follow her on twitter (link in the footer) and check out the articles on her blog.... She knows her stuff :)
When was the last time you searched for someone’s name in Google? What type of information were you looking for and what did you find? Increasingly, we are relying on search engines on the internet to help us learn more about each other. Our personal brand online has become an important part of our professional asset. Having a strong visible personal brand online can help you attract better opportunities, inspire trust, and expand your network.
But most of us don’t know how to manage our online reputation and where to start. Did you know that you are in control of the information displayed about you online? Most people who are searching for your name won’t look pass beyond page 3 of Google’s search results. So all you need to do is to take control of the first 3 pages.
Here are 3 beginner tips to get you started:
1. Search Your Name in Private or Incognito Mode
Depending on which web browser you use, you should search your name in the private mode (for Firefox, Safari, Internet Explore) and in the incognito mode (for Chrome). Browsing in the private mode disables your personal browsing history and the web cache, so the results you receive are what everybody else would see, rather than results targeting you specifically. For example, if you were a florist, your search history is likely to contain a lot of flower related enquiries. So when you search for the word “beauty”, you are likely to see listings or images related to flowers in the result. But for everybody else, the search for “beauty” is likely to bring up images of beautiful woman and no flowers at all. Therefore, browsing in the privacy mode is the best way to see how your name is viewed by others.
Step 1: open your browser
Step 2: Go to File > New Private Window or File > New Incognito Window
Step 3: Search the name you want to be known for in Google
Step 4: If you are an international brand, you should go to www.google.com instead of www.google.co.uk which shows more UK-focused results
2. Find Your Unique Personal Brand Positioning
This is a crucial step to effectively communicate who you are to the world. How do you want to be remembered? What impression do you want to leave with people who are searching for your name? What are the jobs or opportunities you are looking for? It’s helpful to have a one sentence pitch that clearly articulates who you are, what you do, and who you can provide value for. Also, remember to use the power of storytelling to engage your audience. Once you are clear on your brand pitch, write it down and put it online. A great place to start is to improve your Linkedin summary and optimize your Linkedin profile.
3. Create a Strong Visual Brand Identity
A strong visual brand identity evokes subconscious associations with your brand that are memorable and powerful. For example, we associate the color red with Virgin and Richard Branson. Red is a part of Richard Branson’s personal brand. A person’s visual identity is as important as a company’s visual identity. It includes visual elements such as personal logo, font, website design, color scheme, business card design etc.
As your personal brand evolves, your brand positioning and visual identity should evolve as well. So when you are deciding on these elements right now, there is no need to find the perfect solution that would last forever. Give yourself the freedom to create something, test it out, and over time you’ll have an establish personal brand that will resonate with others and advance your career to the next level.
About Kaitlin Zhang
Kaitlin Zhang is a personal branding consultant based in London, UK. Kaitlin regularly hosts free events and workshops that teaches personal branding and online reputation management in today’s increasingly digital world.
Follow Kaitlin on Twitter: @KaitlinZhang