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Time to hone your personal brand

By Carmena Wood, Managing Director, North West region

Your personal brand is unique to you. It’s how employers and those in your network perceive you, sometimes before you’ve even met. It is your first impression. Yet many people leave it to chance, and don’t have the time to shape it into what they need.

Thanks to the impact of Covid-19, many workers are finding themselves at home with ample time on their hands, so it may just be the perfect time to start re-focusing on your online brand. Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Be selective about your social networks

My first tip is to be selective about which social networks you have a presence on. The digital world we live in provides boundless brand-building and networking opportunities, but it can also be hugely overwhelming, both for you to manage and for others to keep track of.

It’s not possible to fully devote yourself to developing your career and reaching your goals while also managing your presence on dozens of different social media accounts. You therefore need to focus your efforts on mastering two or three channels, otherwise you’re sure to find your efforts spread far too thinly to be effective

Facebook remains the most popular social media site, with YouTube, Instagram and Twitter following closely behind. I would say the most important network from a personal branding career point of view is LinkedIn, where you’ll find immense competition – but also many of the most relevant and interesting people, leads and professional opportunities.

I’d therefore recommend, as a starting point, that you focus your attention on establishing your presence on LinkedIn. Once you’re comfortable managing it day-to-day without too much disruption, then you can expand into other channels.

2. At a bare minimum, have a (professional) profile picture

A picture is worth a thousand words, as they say, and this is one of the quickest, yet simplest ways to start building your online presence.

The ideal profile photo for LinkedIn should be 60% your face and 40% a distraction-free background – and it could lead to up to 21 times more profile views than if you were to press on without one. If you’re home and think it’s time to upgrade your profile picture, use the time to get snapping.

3. Share content effectively

The more relevant content, articles and posts you share on social media, the more powerful a personal brand you will be able to build online. The good news is that if you’re smart about it, it doesn’t need to take up too much of your time.

So, let’s start with how you can find the right content to share with your networks. By ‘content’, I’m talking about news articles, blogs, videos, research papers etc. Interesting pieces that are relevant to you, and potentially your networks, and position you as a well-read expert.

To find engaging content, try some of these tips:

  • Sign up to email newsletters of relevant blogs or websites for the latest content
  • Follow hashtags, Influencers and companies on LinkedIn – when you do, you’ll start to see relevant content in your news feed which you can then go on to share
  • Based on the information on your profile and your viewing history, stories of interest to you and your connections will be suggested as part of your newsfeed. Simply scroll, read and share.

4. Like, share and comment

When scrolling through your news feed, it’s important to interact with others in your network – every ‘like’, share or comment will prove that you are active and position you as an expert in your field, whilst helping to increase the visibility of your profile to those inside and outside your immediate network. All these quick actions will only take you a few seconds but can have a huge impact over time.

It also might sound obvious, but I’d recommend you have all the relevant social apps on your phone – that way you can interact when you have any free time, and whilst you’re on the go. Also, bookmark them on your desktop, which will save you even more time.

5. Make it a habit – and enjoy!

I think we’ve established that consistent activity is key to building your personal brand online, and there are lots of tricks and tools out there which can help you do so in a way that isn’t going to eat into too much of your time.

Finally, the key to managing your personal brand online is making it feel more like a habit or a ritual, rather than a chore to complete. The real key to that is getting some sense of enjoyment, gratification and value from doing it – whether that be through collecting mountains of followers or making more personal connections with a few key members of your network.

Whatever your goal, use this time wisely to enhance your personal network. For more tips and advice on what to do if you’re remote working or furloughed at this challenging time, visit our Inspire Me in the New Era of Work content hub.

About this author

Carmena joined Hays in 1986 working for the Accountancy and Finance team in Manchester. After eighteen months she seized the opportunity to open the Altrincham office and her career in leadership began. Following increasingly broader management roles across the North West region, Carmena was promoted to Regional Director in 1994 for the Greater Manchester area before changing direction to become a channel lead across the North to support and build the new Office Support business. In 2011 she was appointed to the role of multi specialism Director for Merseyside and Cheshire. Carmena was appointed to the UKI Board in October 2017 and promoted to Managing Director for the North West Region in June 2018.

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