A strong brand is essential if you want to succeed in business, but it's also important to have a polished personal brand. Your personal brand should be a genuine, honest culmination of who you are. It should represent all of the things that make up the one and only you, including your interests and career goals.
How do you brand yourself online and keep it in check? Business News Daily asked experts for their best tips. Here are six ways professionals say can help you perfect your personal brand.
1. Google yourself.
The first step to polishing your personal brand is knowing what's already out there. According to Jean Dobey, founder and CEO of personal publishing social platform Hibe, the information recruiters find from Googling you could be enough to cross you off their list, if you're not careful.
Take some time to search your name on Google and see what information comes up, what key things are missing, and what needs to be taken down, Dobey said. This includes things you might have forgotten all about, like old social profiles from your youth with potentially embarrassing or reputation-damaging content.
2. Check your privacy settings
You're likely on several different social media platforms for both personal and professional uses. But because you use different platforms for different things, it's important for you to be aware of your privacy settings.
3. Think about your voice
Your personal brand is about you, so it's bound to be unique, and therefore, your voice depends entirely on your personality and the goals you want to achieve.
"While some people benefit from a more controversial and opinionated presence, others are able to connect through a more conservative and measured approach," said Danica Jones, marketing manager at Fabricut.
This means that you should identify whether your personal brand will include facets of your personal life — which can further humanize your brand voice — or if you should keep your personal and professional worlds separate, Jones said.
"While lifestyle bloggers can reveal far more about their personal lives, it's often challenging and risky for a political or corporate professional to do so," she added. "Knowing which way to bend hinges on a deep understanding of audience members and key objectives."
4. Be consistent
One of the most important steps in maintaining your personal brand is to stay consistent. Anytime you do anything online, you should consider how it contributes to your personal brand, said Matt Brady, founder and former CEO of career consultancy Path2Hired. This means that every time you write an article, post an update on social media or interact with your audience, you should think about the overall message you're trying to convey. Keeping your brand consistent helps you build a strong brand that others will begin to recognize, Brady said.
5. Actively promote yourself
You can't just write an article or start a blog and expect people to find it and follow it. You need to promote yourself actively through all of your channels, Brady said.
"Branding isn't just about designing the brand," he said. "Successful brands must be promoted and get into the minds of the target audience. You can accomplish this by interacting with the community through branded social media accounts, guest posting on websites and blogs, building a personal branded website and other similar actions."
6. Make valuable connections
It's important to promote yourself, but it's just as important to promote others. Jeff Stephens, founder of blogging consultancy Top Shelf Blogging, said the best way to connect with people and establish your personal brand authority is to constantly recognize the work of peers in your community or industry.
"While this may seem counterintuitive, sharing others' content establishes a deeper direct relationship with that person and endears you to those you have yet to meet," Stephens said.
Additional reporting by Brittney Morgan. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.