4-Step Guide To Personal Branding for Business Owners

personal branding

Like it or not your personal brand has the potential to reflect positively or negatively on your career or business.

We live in the world when almost everyone has a digital footprint which is readily available for anyone who searches.

And people do search!

The recent study by Manifest states that as many as 79% of businesses have rejected a job candidate based on their digital footprint (social media). Another study states that almost 40% research their dates online, and 76% of people spend at least 15 minutes researching their potential suitors.

What may those people find out about you when typing your name into the web search box?

Don’t worry, there are a few quick and easy steps you can take to evaluate and improve your personal branding!

Google Yourself

It sounds simple, but many people don’t have any idea what results appear when their name is entered into a search engine.

Hopefully, if your name isn’t among the most common (sorry John Smith!), you’ll see links to your social media profiles, online resume or website, with you listed as the owner.

For better or for worse, my name is not unique enough to trigger search results about myself. But with some tweaking you can get Google to understand who you mean:

Build a Positive Personal Brand

Now that you’ve found your personal brand results and ranking, or lack thereof, it’s time to get to work on improving them!

The good news is improving and tracking your personal brand is quite doable. And it likely won’t take too much of your time.

Try to imagine what a random person would think of you if they saw those search results. Is there anything you’d rather not show up on top of Google? In this case you may want to make other profiles of yours more detailed and better interlinked.

Overall, if you expect your personal brand too grow and get searched for more, you may want to invest some time in completing and organizing your social media footprint:

  • Create a list of all your public profiles (social media, blogging columns, online resumes like About.me or Linktr.ee)
  • Check if you’d like any of them to rank higher
  • Complete those that are more important to you: Add as much text as you can. That includes “About me” or a bio section, photos, interests, hobbies, any additional info that you see fields for. Google loves text content, so more detailed profiles will rank higher.
  • Interlink your public profiles. Many online and social media platforms allow you to link to your site and other pages. Using these fields to their fullest potential is a good way to keep your digital footprint well interlinked.
  • Link to your important public profiles from your sites and your other contributing columns. If you have a website or write for other sites or blogs, link to one or more of those from there. Links are crucial to get those profiles rank. There are some cool free plugins allowing you to create beautiful links to your social media profiles across the web and even display some of your most important feeds on your site. These are a great idea to use if you want your blog readers to be involved with your social media updates.

Limit Negative and/or Highly Personal Content

Equally as important as building a positive personal brand is limiting negative or highly personal content that is associated with your name.

The most common issue we see is public photos and posts on Facebook profiles that reflect poorly on an individual, their career, or their business.

Try clicking to the “images” tab in Google. Is there any of your pictures you’d rather not show up for everyone to see?

It is important to remember that it is easier not to publicize your private pictures to begin with than trying to remove them when they are already indexed.

So consider keeping your private life private. Assuming that you already carefully consider what type of visual content of yourself you publish on your social media accounts, that includes:

  • Making sure you should confirm when anyone tags you in a picture. (or disable the option to be tagged in other people’s photos)
  • Keeping your private profile private for only your friends to be able to see them (Although keep in mind that there’s always a possibility that any of your friends may find it fitting to save any of your pictures and publicize online)

If you’d like to maintain a personal profile on Facebook without it being indexed by Google, I recommend making the profile completely private.

On Facebook, this option hides behind the “Settings and Privacy” link in the top-right corner of your profile. There you can see can see your content and change the visibility of your past and future content:

On Instagram, you can make your account private by clicking on “Settings” in the drop down behind your profile picture and going to the “Privacy and Security” section. The option is on the very top:

Making your profile private will keep it visible to your current friends. All the new connections will have to be confirmed by you before they can see your content.

If you have a professional Instagram account or Facebook page, limiting its visibility may not be a very good idea.

Monitor Your Personal Brand

Personal branding should be a constant effort for anyone. Consider putting a monthly or quarterly reminder on your calendar to check your Google rankings.

If you are active online and even manage your own site, create a Google alert to get an email whenever anyone mentions you on another site.

From there you may want to start building your personal brand.

Make sure that your personal brand supports and doesn’t interfere with your professional career and personal life by protecting your privacy and carefully monitoring what you make public. If you are working to build a personal brand, set up monitoring. Check your branded search results often to ensure everything is going smoothly.

This guest post was authored by Anna Fox

Anna Fox is a blogger and writer helping fellow bloggers to get hired. She loves writing about personal branding, building your own business and productivity.

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.

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