Unless you’re living entirely off-the-grid, you have a digital footprint somewhere. This online presence is already determining your reputation, so why not take control of it?
You don’t have to work in the digital sphere for this to matter, either. Everything you do on the internet, from your social media accounts to your product reviews, has your name attached to it. Over time, all this information builds up to form a personal brand of sorts.
Whether or not you want it to, this brand cements your reputation on how others will see you. This can be a great thing, or it could cost you potential networking and job opportunities.
Since it’s already a given, isn’t it best if you handle the packaging of your digital footprint?
Here are five substantial reasons why you need to control your personal brand, starting today!
1. It Establishes Your Values
As much as we don’t want it to be that way, the reality is that everyone judges others based on what they see. For instance, someone can look on your social media page and find the sites you follow and the friends you have. They may then use that information to make a snap judgment call about your values.
Sometimes, this is accurate. Other times, it’s totally off-base. But when a potential client or employer does this, you may not get the chance to explain yourself.
It’s common to accept friend requests of people we don’t know and agree to follow or “like” business pages for friends of friends. If you’re not careful, though, this could be setting you up to make the wrong professional first impression.
Instead of letting others assume what’s important to you, controlling your brand makes those values clear. And you choose these strategically, not randomly.
Anyone who might disagree or take offense to your branding will avoid you. And you will attract those who agree with you.
2. You Control Your Reputation
For people in the professional world, reputation is everything. A lot of this is your behavior and talent. But another aspect of it is how you show up online when potential employers and clients search you out.
When you control what they see through branding your identity, you build a reputation for yourself.
As you expand your reputation online, you communicate to strangers what you’re capable of doing. If you already have a robust and solid reputation, your brand preserves it.
In short, you’re self-promoting to people who are already looking at you as a candidate for their job. As you package yourself, you are showing them how you are a better fit than anyone else.
Many people don’t realize the importance of controlling their brand. You’ll look much more appealing when you’re up against individuals who have an informal online presence.
3. You Expand Your Network
Networking is a strategic use of contacting those connected to you in some way.
As you work on establishing your brand, you’ll meet new people to add to your network. This is essential, as their connections become your connections.
When you are ready to work with your network, you can plan face-to-face meetings or join virtual events. From there, invite the people you see as the most beneficial to your agenda to a private dinner. This can be something you host, or you can foot the bill at a restaurant if you want to make an impression.
You don’t have to stay local, though. If you travel, let those in your network know you’re going to be in that area. It’s the perfect opportunity to mix business with a bit of professional fun.
4. Your Brand Grows With You
Sharing your social media accounts with those in your profession shouldn’t be embarrassing. Since social networking is the main form of professional connections globally, it’s an expected part of getting to know someone today.
Instead of swapping business cards, those who want to increase their network give out social media accounts or their web pages. If you’re going to be doing this, you need to keep your information up-to-date. As your business and expertise grow, your brand can grow, too.
Any time you tackle a new project that adds to your areas of expertise, or you obtain a new certification, add it to your digital information. Let your online information speak for itself.
If you don’t put it out there, people checking you out for a future networking connection or job won’t know about it. That one thing could be the difference between them moving on or reaching out to you.
5. It Helps You Set and Conquer Goals
Maybe your goal is to land that dream job you’ve been eyeing. Your personal brand helps you get this done!
Whatever your goals are, when your brand is in line with them, it’s more likely that you’ll meet your target.
Think about it: you have a goal to move in a particular direction in your career. As you develop your brand, it helps you to stand out from the rest of the competition.
The message you send to anyone looking at your digital presence will tell them how much value you’ll bring to the table. Then, as you continue to grow and adjust your brand, that message will adapt to your future goals.
We are all guilty of making judgment calls on someone based on their digital presence. This isn’t always the best way to determine another person’s value, but it’s a regular practice.
When you take control of your personal brand, it works in your favor. You’ll open the door to better career and networking opportunities when you manage your digital presence well.
Caitlin Sinclair is the Business Manager at Riata Apartments. With over 5 years of property management experience, she begins and ends each day loving what she does. She finds joy in helping current and future residents and makes Riata a place everyone loves to call home.