Whatever you do, the world is watching… and in the social world of 2017 it couldn’t be truer.
We’ve become a world of stalkers – we want to see what everyone is up to, what they’re saying about that product they recently bought or how they felt about the service they recently received.
The trouble is, people trust what they see online. If you see one bad review of a restaurant brand, wouldn’t it make you think twice before visiting it?
Well, the same goes for your own brand. If you’ve recently been interviewed, it may only take one negative tweet about you, or from you, to make them decide you don’t fit in with the company’s ideals.
The power of the internet can ruin your personal and professional brand, like this:
So, let’s take a deeper look at the four most important aspects of online branding.
What is your personal or corporate brand?
Your personal brand makes an introduction for you before you even enter a room.
If you have active social profiles, the content that you upload defines what your personal brand is. If you actively publish articles and thought-pieces on LinkedIn, for example, your personal brand will be that of someone who’s knowledgeable, thought-provoking and hardworking. This then has commercial value as you’ll be more employable than someone who has an inactive LinkedIn profile.
Your corporate brand is your brand’s identity. It’s how people feel about and interact with your brand.
Your company could be a well-oiled machine, but if you don’t own and tell your brand’s story and work your way to becoming a thought-leader, then you’re missing a trick.
You MUST own your corporate brand identity – publish stories about interesting trends in your field, create videos to inform your audience and have active social profiles that allow people to interact with you and build your online presence and personality.
If you don’t tell the world what you’re doing, you may as well not be doing it. And if you don’t give the market the story to talk about, they’ll define your brand’s story for you.
How are you perceived?
Do you know how your brand is perceived? If people searched you, would you be happy with what they find? Well, before you begin marketing your personal or corporate brand, you must find out what your digital footprint is.
Carry out a web audit and get rid of anything you’ve put online over the years that may go against your brand ideals. On a personal level, you may want to check your Twitter or Facebook to make sure there aren’t any embarrassing posts that aren’t indicative of your personal brand and professional status now.
To help you with your brand clean-up, you can use techniques such as Google-Fu. This is the process of adding quotation marks and capitalised connective words to a search to hyper-target. For example, Sam Hughes, Head of Digital at Roland Dransfield would search:
“Sam Hughes” OR “Samuel Hughes” AND “Manchester” OR “Roland Dransfield”. This is incredibly targeted and will bring up anything regarding Sam or Samuel Hughes and Manchester or Roland Dransfield.
He could then go through the results and take down anything that doesn’t fit his personal brand. Not a bad hack, eh?
Authenticity vs professionalism
This is how you utilise social media from a personal perspective. You have two choices. You could choose:
- Authenticity: Using your social platforms as both your personal and professional account – this is essentially owning who you are with the hope that companies and brands will appreciate it too
- Professionalism: Using separate social accounts for your personal and corporate brand. This gives you twice the work but allows you a distinction between your personal persona and your corporate brand and responsibilities
Which approach is best?
It’s absolutely for you to decide.
If you don’t tend to publish posts where you’d think “what would my manager think about this?”, then an authentic account may be for you. If you want to keep your personal life totally personal, a professional account might suit you better.
Owning your space
As we mentioned before, it’s important that you own your brand’s identity and share the specialist knowledge you want to become known for.
A great way to ensure you’re up-to-date on the latest trends within your interests is to set up a TweetDeck – this gives you focused content straight to your laptop or device that you can create video, audio and written content about and share to your audience, solidifying yourself as a thought-leader.
Oh, and don’t forget to keep your brand amplified using social bios and your website’s “Meet the team” page. Create a personal brand statement that helps you stand out from your competitors in the form of 1-2 sentences answering what you’re the best at (value), who you serve (audience) and how you do it uniquely (USP).
And finally – the DOs and DON’Ts
- Conduct a personal audit and clean up your brand
- Identify your niche, or make one
- Be helpful and add value to your target audience by answering their questions
- Monitor your personal and corporate mentions – online reputation is SUPER important
- Include a positioning statement in your bio
- Become a gatekeeper for your subject – share your knowledge and become a thought leader
- Add fuel to fires – if you don’t know the full story, don’t jump onto the social media hype
- Post before you think – see above
- Tag colleagues or your employer without prior consent – make sure you read your company’s social guidelines before hitting send
And that’s it!
You are what you tweet. It’s unavoidable, but it’s totally manageable. We hope our look at the four most important aspects of online branding has given you some insight into how to manage your personal and corporate brand identity.
If you’d like further information, or actively need help in managing your online presence, get in touch with us at Roland Dransfield to find out how we can support your social media efforts.