In my last post I wrote about the importance of an annual professional brand audit as part of the smart professional’s career management strategy. In this post, I’m going to continue on with some branding odds n’ ends to help you keep pushing yourself to achieve professional brand all-star status (so that you can breeze through the rest of the year where branding is concerned). Here are 4 strategies:
1. Figure Out Where Else You Need to Be (And Be There)
Linkedin® is certainly not the only place you should consider being branded, but it is amongst the most important where professional hangouts are concerned. There are over 259 million people on Linkedin® making it a prime database for hiring managers, recruiters, business-minded folks and basically anyone looking to find that right person for their needs. Other places to think about are your regional, industry or professional groups and associations where like-minded individuals might be hanging out.
2. Think SEO
Having an online presence is also important in the branding game for search engine optimization (SEO). If you don’t know what this is, think: which results appear first when you do a google search vs those results that end up on the 23rd page (the one you don’t ever look at). Your brand SEO is determined by a number of factors including keywords AND various online profiles. For example Linkedin is a big one in that it will produce your profile when someone googles your name. Google+ and ZoomInfo are some other platforms that help SEO. Finally Xing for Europeans or Euro market branding.[wpcb id=”11″ text=”Click Here for a Free PDF Download of This Post” style=”black_flat”]
Let Others Brand You with Linkedin® References
People are always curious to know if references are effective in the branding game. This is an interesting question. From a recruiting perspective I would answer “no.” The reason for this, is because people are likely to to post their best references making the validity slightly biased. Furthermore, as a recruiter, I would still pursue references if the candidate does make it through the interview process. However, references do contribute to profile completeness in which case Linkedin® “rewards” you with stronger SEO, etc. Thus do include strong references on your profile. Some of the best references are past managers, client testimonials, or glowing reviews from successful industry players (think CEO or company leadership). Be strategic in selecting your references so they speak to your desired brand.
4. Don’t Overlook Your Best Asset
With all this talk of profile updates, keywords and SEO it might be easy to overlook what is arguably the best asset to sell your brand: Your Photo. That’s right, branding is not for the photo-shy. In this era of online profiles, the photo is actually a key branding tool in that it gives the viewer an immediate sense of transparency and a glimpse into who you are; even what you’re about. It also either pulls the searcher in or tells them to keep moving. Think about it, do you really want to invest your online search time looking into a profile without a photo? It makes us doubt the authenticity of the profile. Select your photo carefully and aim for a clean headshot that portrays approachability, personality & authenticity to you and/or your target industry. If you are at a loss for ideas, check out what the people you admire are using and aim for something similar.
Apply these branding techniques and I guarantee you will be your new you in no time at all. If branding isn’t your strong suit, contact me for help today!
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