Building Your Personal Brand Online and Offline
Published by ATD - The Association of Talent Development at: click here
Personal branding seems to be the big buzz lately. So, what does it mean and what do you need to consider? Kudos to Stephen Covey for this one, as you should “begin with the end in mind.” What do you want people to know about you?
It is generally acknowledged that the use of technology and social media in much of the world is ubiquitous and plays a significant role in our daily life. According to Erik Qualman, author of Social Media Revolution, “We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we DO it.”
Indeed, social media is playing a major role in personal branding, but it certainly is not everything.
Business cards are still a component of personal branding, yet many people don’t realize the power of this small piece of paper. There are many things to consider when designing a business card. Here are some tips that may be helpful.
On the front of the business card, you may want to include the following:
- title, so people know what you do
- cell phone and/or office phone
- email address
- website, if you have one (and you can create one for free at www.about.me)
- LinkedIn URL, which you should make sure you customize BEFORE you get your business cards printed
- tag line, which is a “permanent” line for your business instead of a slogan that is typically used with a single marketing campaign (This should state what you do and differentiate you from your competition and show how you are unique with your values and benefits. Further tagline considerations are noted below.)
- logo or graphic that symbolizes you or perhaps a professional photograph
- color(s) that will be memorable
- glossy or matte finish
- physical address if you have a brick and mortar location, but perhaps not necessary if you are consulting.
Many people are missing out on an opportunity for an advertisement by not including information on the back of their business card. Here are some things to consider for the back:
- light background color—so people can write the date and location of where they met you
- matte background, not glossy—so when people write, the ink does not smear
- blank space to write
- inclusion of a value proposition
- addition of a QR code
Remember: First impressions count, so get a quality business card printed by a professional company.
Your LinkedIn headline should be treated like Manhattan real estate because you only have 120 characters, and it is your SEO (search engine optimization) location on your profile. This is your personal branding—your expertise, your core values, and your value proposition. You can exude your personality along with key words that allow you to be findable and may help differentiate you from others. Here are a few more tips:
- Make sure you space the words and any punctuation or symbols properly, so there are no misspellings. Also, don’t abbreviate words, such as Mgr for Manager. Change sales/marketing (without the spaces before and after the slash) to sales / marketing. Although our human eye understands the verbiage and punctuation, you need to leave spaces between slashes (“/”), dashes (“-“), commas, and pipes (“|”).
- If you are in career transition, you might want to avoid using “seeking opportunity.” (You don’t want to appear desperate.)
- Symbols can be a fun touch and add the froufrou to your profile, but remember to use spaces before and after them - ♛ ✆ ☎ ✉ ☛ ★ ✔ ◊ ♦ ► ◄ ↔ ☆ ★ ♫ ■ ◆ ● ✪ ✰ ✔ ✘ ☐ ☑ ☒ ☚ ☜ ☝ ☞ ☟ ⇨ »
- Taglines require a lot of thought and you should run your ideas by others to get opinions. Start with a list of verbs that will convey action to start your story (build, consult, develop, earn, focus, grow, help, keep, partner, transform). Next, consider the key benefits that will be derived (less stress, more support, save time, more power, find a solution, improve potential, gain freedom, achieve success).
- Create a list of industry-specific jargon. Some questions to address include:
- What are your strengths or unique selling points?
- Combine words in different combinations
- Is it visually appealing?
- Is it memorable and easy to say?
- Does it generate positive feelings?
- Is it unusable by competitors?
As a virtual assistance business, our tagline is “Our passion will let you pursue yours.” Okay, so we broke the rule of not starting the sentence with a verb, but we like it! So where can you get help to get key words for your business card, headline, and tagline? Here are some useful links:
- www.wordle.net (for a word cloud)
- www.tagcrowd.com (for a word cloud)
Although there are many more things to think about for personal branding, this will at least give you a start in case you are in the process of reinventing yourself!
Lynne M. Williams, BS, MA, ABD provides on-site local and virtual assistance supporting people in career transition, busy executives, solopreneurs, and small businesses in addition to her fulltime position at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach Realtors. As the founder/owner of Around the Clock Executive Helper in 1994, Lynne provides social media, web marketing and administrative support, especially with LinkedIn. In addition, she is an experienced trainer, researcher, and writer and is passionate about building relationships, networking, and helping others as a servant leader. Lynne holds a BS degree in Business Administration Marketing from the University of Delaware and an MA in Educational Leadership along with doctoral coursework to ABD. Lynne has been a guest lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley; the Academy of Art, San Francisco; Right Management; SCORE; Joseph’s People, Neumann University; Penn State University; Great Career Success Group; BENG; and many local libraries and Chambers of Commerce. Lynne does training workshops on LinkedIn and other career transition topics and has done extensive doctoral research and writing on Web 2.0 Social Media applications. Information on career transition resources and local area networking is posted on: www.lynnemwilliams.com, www.aroundtheclockexecs.com, and www.facebook.com/aroundtheclockexecs. Connect with her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/lynnewilliams, @bonjour606 (Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram) or email her at email@example.com.