Just as every successful company has a strategy to build, protect and grow its brand, you too must build a plan for your online reputation. We identified some simple actions that can enhance your digital brand along your career milestones.
And while we’ve mapped these to careers, it’s important to think of your digital brand as a long-term commitment - it’s something you’re always building. Engaging in social media is something you should be spending time on daily, as little as 15 minutes can make a real difference.
Firstly, as in any strategy, it’s important to know what base you are starting from. Your LinkedIn Social Selling Index measures how effective you are at establishing your professional brand, finding the right people to connect with and developing engaging insights. You can track it daily. Right now I’m at 68 out of 100 and in the top 1% of my industry.
So now you know where you are, let's think about where you want to be along your journey...
If you’re making your first moves into the job market and getting engaged with recruiters it’s probably time to look at your existing channels and make sure they are cleaned up. Recruiters are social stalkers and if Facebook and Twitter is where you have been sharing your college and other personal exploits think about what’s visible in your feed and look at your security settings. Almost half of recruiters believe seeing a picture of a candidate before meeting them influences their first impression. If you haven’t already done so its probably time to move to LinkedIn which 87% of recruiters find most effective for vetting candidates.
When you’re starting up a new venture you’re likely to be juggling planning, product development and raising capital, which can leave your personal brand at the bottom of a long list. But as a startup CEO, you and your personal brand are among the most valuable assets your company will ever have. Early stage investors will determine your valuation on a number of factors including a founder’s passion and purpose. Make public relations and your personal brand a priority and use social media to share news, ideas and network. The stronger your online presence is the easier it will be for investors to find you and your growth story.
Your personal brand is not only your own biggest asset, but is fast becoming your company’s too. More and more companies have started to understand the power of employee advocacy in helping them grow their brands and retain and recruit talent. In today's socially connected world building, maintaining and evolving your digital brand will be critical – some even suggest that social advocacy measurement might be the next performance metric for employees. You can start by sharing your company's content, but keep it authentic, share the content that you connect with and add your own comment, question or point of view to keep engagements going.
Evolving your digital presence can help your company's top line growth too. IDC research shows 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level executives now use social media to research vendors, so sharing your points of view and insights will help shape a buyer’s consideration of you and your company. So take a fresh look at your profile - does it reflect not only your professional skills but also a sense of your purpose?
Today’s CEO is social
If your ambition is the C-Suite then social media mastery is a great skill to pick up on your journey. The rise of social CEO’s like LinkedIn’s Jeff Weiner and Richard Branson are great benchmarks – authentic, engaged and focused on their passions, purpose and legacy, not just their company's results. They are best practice examples of how CEO’s use social media to interact with and learn from their customers. But social media can be both friend and foe and if you are a CEO already - and with many live examples in the press right now - understanding where you and your social media strategy aligns with your company’s reputation and crisis management strategy is critical.
Portfolio careers, the gig economy, the talent economy – the workforce of the future certainly seems fluid and your digital brand needs to evolve too. Learning new skills and improving those that you already have will be critical in developing your career. Perhaps you are well known for being an expert in a sector and you want to showcase your new capability. It’s time to audit your reputation, looking at the search engine results and putting in place a plan to dial up your new competency. Create a pipeline of content related to your new capability and plan to atomize across the major channels. YouTube for example is considered the second largest search engine, so maybe it’s time to focus your efforts on video blogging. It’s sure to impact your search engine profile and in turn what you are known for.
The end of your career isn’t the end of your digital brand. And with an increasing life expectancy you may have many more years of work and social connections to be made after you leave your final company role. Keep plugged in to digital communities. Online alumni programs can often lead to face to face networking opportunities and monitoring social media is a great way to stay connected with issues that interest you, the careers of colleagues and mentees and businesses you interacted with. Join groups and forums too, with your many years of experience they’ll always be someone who needs advice.
Your personal brand is one of your most valuable assets throughout your career, you need to make sure it’s fit for purpose. In our next article, we’ll be sharing a framework for developing a powerful digital brand.
We love to talk branding so go ahead and reach out to us, or how about sharing your SSI score?
Katie Chung and Belinda Esterhammer
The views represented in this article are our own.
Keywords: Digital, Branding, Marketing, Personal Brand, Business Development, CEO, Communications, Social Media