Picture yourself sitting on a bench in Union Station during rush hour. You’re waiting for your train to be listed on the screens. You gaze around the mad rush of workers and students darting for their designated tracks when you suddenly spot Susan! You automatically stand up to walk over to her, and halt, when you realize you don’t really know Susan. She’s the avid blogger you follow on all of your social media networks, so you feel like you know her, from her personal brand image. You know what she ate for breakfast (the fruit smoothie she posted on instagram) and you know what she did last weekend (the photos she was tagged in on Facebook). But, you don’t really know her besides what she’s decided to present to the world online. How many people do you think spot you in a busy crowd? What would their perception of you be, based on your online personal brand image?
A personal brand image is how people perceive you online and in turn, how they would perceive you in reality as well. What do they see, and how do they feel? Are you coming across professional, or sloppy? Would someone want to hire you based on what you are revealing about yourself on the internet?
Creating a professional online personal brand image is important, not only for when people spot you in “real life”, but for the business professionals you interact with every day. How do you primarily interact with your clients? Majority of the time, it’s through e-mails or phone conversations. The first thing potential clients and employers (and prospective love interests) may do is Google you.
Have you googled yourself recently? What’s the first thing that pops up? Usually, it’s your social media pages before anything else – Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google +. If nothing pops up for your name, there could be several reasons. Do you use the same name for all of your social media handles? If not, you should. Is your name extremely common? Try to differentiate yourself by adding your middle initial. Be sure to use the same imagery, look, name and profile picture for all of your social media profiles. Consistency is key!
When I’m looking to learn more about an individual who has applied to be on our roster, or a potential client, I always check multiple social media outlets. Therefore, don’t use a professional photo on LinkedIn and have a photo of you chugging a beer in a crop-top in your profile picture. The professional consistency solidifies your personal brand image online.
Speaking of profile photos, we recently provided an opportunity for our Toronto roster to participate in a professional photo shoot. We offered our events staff an extremely low, subsidized rate which gave each individual the opportunity to have two ‘looks’ – corporate and trendy. Each participant will receive approximately 20-25 photos per look and 40-50 photos in total. This iss a great opportunity for our staff to have professional photos taken at an affordable rate. Not only will we be able to use these high quality photos to increase their bookings, but our staff will also be able to use these photos to update all of their social media profiles. It was also a great opportunity to capture clean, professional group shots of the head office staff for our new website – coming soon!
For those of you who don’t have the opportunity to get professional photos, one thing we recommend to our staff is getting a photo taken against a bare wall. A clean photo of you dressed professionally with no distractions in the background will also do the trick, especially for a site like Linked In where your professional and personal brand image is even that much more important.
Your personal brand is all about who you are and what you want to be known for. How do you want to make people feel? How do you want them to perceive you?
We’ve shared what you should be doing, but sometimes it’s hard to decipher how often you should be doing it. According to Kevin Lee from Buffer, this is how often you should post on social media if yo want to work on building your online reputation:
Posting doesn’t always have to be original content – you can retweet or share another person’s post. If you’re really serious about it, you can also schedule your posts using Hootsuite or Social Oomph. Not everyone has time to post this frequently on all of these platforms so these options give you the chance to think and plan ahead. Be sure to share valuable information and associate yourself with other strong brands (don’t just follow your friends!) by liking/following them and interacting with their posts.
We know the value of a personal brand image, and we put importance on building a brand for our account coordinators. They are an extension of our brand and we want to ensure our employees are constantly building their networks, sharing, posting and commenting. Clients want to work with individuals, not a company. Therefore, make sure the individuals that make up your company are professional and interesting (online and in person)!
As a branding agency, we know the importance of brand image (our office walls are accented with the colours of our Tigris logo!) and we can’t stress enough the value of your own personal brand image. If you’re interested in using any of our services to assist with your brand and creating brand awareness, give us a call at 416.283.9119. We’d love to work with you! From event planning to event staffing, we do it all. Our services are available in 15 different markets across Canada, including Vancouver, Edmonton and Ottawa.