We live in a very competitive business environment driven by digital transformation. It is increasingly difficult to stand out and be recognised as a professional.
That's why you need to build a professional brand online.
Your brand can help you attract clients and business partners, support you to separate yourself from your peers and establish yourself as an expert in your field.
Here are five steps to build your professional brand online:
1.Leverage your LinkedIn account
LinkedIn is the most popular business-oriented social media platform: the latest statistics show there are 500 million users on LinkedIn.
So instead of browsing your Facebook newsfeed early in the morning, over coffee, start your day by checking your LinkedIn account.
Here are our tips&tricks to help you make the most out of your LinkedIn account:
- show a professional profile picture: friendly and approachable, but not casual
- show your two most recent employment position; LinkedIn statistics revealed it's 12 times more likely to be found in searches if you keep your resume updated
- customise your profile headline to show your expertise
- use your LinkedIn background photo (the space above your profile picture) to talk more about yourself and build credibility: don’t use stock photos, create your own image
- customize your LinkedIn url - linkedin.com/in/yourfullname; LinkedIn has a high Google Page Rank and this means you will increase your chances to get found in searches; add your personalized link to all other social accounts, email signature, blog, etc
- tell your story using the Summary and Experience sections of your LinkedIn account: in the Summary section write about yourself as a professional, mention your interests and ambitions, write as if you were talking to someone you just met; in the Experience section detail your resume, show what you accomplished, what projects you worked on, what was your input and how you helped your team succeed
- publish posts and write articles on Pulse, LinkedIn's blogging platform regarding your professional experience and lessons
- find your industry peers and comment on their posts
- use posts and articles related to your professional field and post relevant comments
- find relevant professionals and invite them to your network
For more actionable tips to improve your LinkedIn account and use it to achieve your goals, check LinkedIn's blog.
2. Profile photo
How many social accounts do you use? Do you have a different profile photo for each of your accounts? Would someone who doesn't know you in person feel confused?
Use the same profile photo on all your social accounts, email signature or blog profile.
This helps you show consistency, get recognised more easily and more importantly, it adds unity and strategy to your brand.
3. Show your work
If your work is visual, create a website to display your creations.
If you feel comfortable talking in front of a camera, start posting video content on your social accounts.
If you express yourself easily on paper, start a blog and write about your experiences and your professional projects.
Do you have a particular take on the latest news? Turn to your blog and write about your perspective then post your articles or content on all your social media profiles.
4. Be active on Quora
Quora is one of the largest questions and answers sites on the internet today.
It is an excellent platform you can use to build and grow your professional brand. Use it to establish yourself as someone who knows a lot about his or her industry and, just as importantly, could explain it to other people.
How to use Quora:
- search your field hashtags
- search for questions relevant to your domain or niche and answer them
- give advice, offer relevant insight
- be helpful and consistent
5. Start your own professional side projects
Professionals differentiate themselves by their side projects. Side projects are the best way to showcase your skills and abilities.
Your project can be a subject-focused Instagram account or a blog. It can involve photography or video or writing. Or you can do voluntary work helping your favourite charity organisation. There are so many creative tools you can use to express yourself and show how you can add value.
Feeling uninspired? Check out 51 coolest side projects!
Your personal brand is not about exaggerating or showing off.
It is about showing how you can add value and insight.
Establish yourself as a thought leader in your professional area.
Get your thoughts and opinions out there, but be true to yourself.
Remember: professional branding is a long-term strategy!