You’ve got a LinkedIn profile that’s not as complete as it could be and you sometimes go days without looking. You occasionally peek at your Facebook page but you rarely, if ever, post. You have a Twitter account but don’t tweet (it was more of a curiosity thing). And although email is part of your life, you rarely give much thought as to how your missives and personal musings come across to their respective recipients. Sound just a little familiar?
More than once, you’ve thought that maybe everybody but your parents were more technically savvy than you? You keep telling yourself you really should learn this stuff and get-on-board but you just never seem to get around to it. You’ve got a “toe-in-the-water” and you’re getting by… or so you think.
Like it or not, you’re leaving an ever-increasing digital footprint that influences how others see you––your personal brand in other words. There was a time when our personal brands were simply a compilation of our observed behaviors but nowadays, your brand can be equally influenced by a myriad of factors, thanks to our inexorably evolving relationship with technology and our growing virtual networks. And the truth is, people are just more voyuer-istic than you might think in terms of their online curiosity about you––particularly if you’re in a more visible role like boss, committee member or some other influential position. However, it could be your neighbor, co-worker, significant other or even a potential employer. The good news is the fact that your digital footprint and related behaviors are controllable. However, it requires action on your part––some actions more simple than others but all doable by you, regardless of your level of expertise. Start by having a baseline profile from which to work and that will allow you to apply your personal information on a consistent basis by pasting and copying throughout each of your other profiles and being consistent is fundamental in controlling your information flow and personal brand. And wordsmithing is work-in-progress. You will edit today, tomorrow and forever in an effort to get it just right and keep it current. If you don’t have the time, hire someone to do it for you… getting your profile right is an important part of communicating who you are. Whether you do it yourself or have someone else do it for you, just make absolutely certain its done well––your brand depends on it.
Your digital footprint isn’t always about offense––you may need to play a bit of defense as well. If you’ve been on Facebook for a while, you may be well served to revisit your timeline comments and photographs and remove things that don’t reflect on you in a positive way. Given the search engine capibilities and particularly Facebook’s Graph Search, anything can and will be found. Cleaning up your timeline can be time consuming and Facebook doesn’t provide any utilities for helping you do so, however, there is a third-party utility called Simple Wash (formally Face Wash) and it will help identify all those unbecoming tidbits that you might not be so proud of in the broad daylight. In addition to scrubbing your Facebook timeline, maybe you’ve had already had some visibility and you find yourself with a couple of negative or not-so-positive “things” that pop up on the first few pages of a Google query of your name. Or just as bad, maybe there’s someone with your exact name that’s a real ne’er-do-well and they have a lot of negative information showing up and you’re tired of having to explain that its not you! Since you can’t remove these items, you have to think about suppressing or pushing them down by adding new, positive content. There are reputation management services out there that can do that for you like reputation.com or you can use one of the do-it-yourself utilities like Brand Yourself, Qnary or About and likely accomplish the same thing for a helluva lot less cost.
Back to offense: What are you famous for? What are your strengths, positive traits and the redeeming characteristics that make you who you are? What are you the most proud of and what do you do well? What’s worth bragging about? What are your features and benefits and have you attempted to put those into words? Somebody has to be in charge of your personal visibility campaign and since you’re the boss of you, you are probably the most qualified! Use the tools available to you and put them to work as your agent on a 24/7 basis. Remember: Out of sight, out of mind.
Well, what are you waiting for?
- Personal Branding Isn’t Important to You…Really? (tommccollum.wordpress.com)
- Advanced Personal Branding 101 – Are You in Control? (tommccollum.wordpress.com)
- Branding-It’s All About You (lorrainedauphinee.com)
- Advanced Personal Branding 101 – Are You in Control? (tommccollum.me)