Image Credit: Karolina Grabowski/ Pexels
"Who are you?"
How would you answer this? Your name of course. But then, not all of us are there (yet!) where our name is enough, right? Like Oprah... or Cher... or Bond, and then, James Bond!!
Would you use your career, your family status, where you went to college, what sports team you support- how would you say who you are? Personal branding is everything. First impressions last long. Sometimes forever. And while pleasing others is not really a goal, creating a strong personal brand for yourself, one that reflects to the world who you are is really quite important.
What you post, images and words, what you share, re-share- everything is documented somewhere and stays forever, and easily trackable. So it is quite important to create and curate an image, a brand of yourself that closely reflects who you are (or at least who you want the world to think you are!)
We bring here some tips and ideas, especially around curating an image for yourself in the virtual world.
WHAT YOU POST & WHERE YOU POST IT
You are trying to brand (or re brand) yourself professionally, remember that.
Sign up on ONLY blogs and networking forums in areas that you think will further your purpose. If your professional world and personal hobbies vary vastly, consider using different emails. Separate them.
Also look laterally, at websites, blogs and forums you have previously ignored. And create posts and comment on things that interest you, that are important. It could be trending, it could be an obscure article, if you are convinced it is important, go ahead and post it.
"@" people whose attention you seek, whether companies you want to work for or people or recruiters.
Do NOT expect results overnight, you may make the odd contact but don't expect too much from this exercise.
Use it instead to curate a persona for yourself as someone knowledgeable in <your area or particular sub area>.
Over time, a persona is built. Be careful what you post and BE CONSISTENT.
AND ONE BIT OF ADVICE: Check for grammar. It is NOT cool to have spelling errors, multiple exclamation marks and loads of emojis. And use a laptop or desktop for lengthier write ups please. Makes your work SO much more professional.
FORWARD AND RE POST; FOLLOW THOSE WHOSE WORK MATTERS TO YOU PROFESSIONALLY
Do not randomly fwd posts and images. There has to be a reason- remember you are branding yourself in a particular niche way! So if you are, say, a caterer, fwd stuff pertaining to that. Do not randomly fwd and re-post everything that comes your way. (That is what your personal networks are there for!)
INCORPORATE YOUR INTERESTS
If you are into poetry or graphic design or something far removed from your work life, try to incorporate that somehow. Your posts can end with a quote or a funky doodle or a fact from history.... it is great way to create a personal brand, to remember you!
Marketing specialist Siyuan Ren is also an accomplished artist and often uses her art to express herself. Seen above is a painting collage of NHS (UK) healthcare workers, her way of thanking them for their tireless work during the pandemic.
EMBED VIDEOS, ADD A SELF VIDEO
People are giving up reading, for reasons known only to them! The stats are staggering, with video content only increasing and click rates increasing if videos are embedded, consider adding videos you think reflect what you want to say. Make shortie videos yourself. There is no dearth of help on the web for this. Here is something to get you started. Biteable is a short video maker that has pre set templates that lets you create short videos. There's free and paid plans, start with free and see if you need a paid version.
A video lets you say things, which you may not be able to translate into writing. So whether it is LinkedIn (for professional networking) or more social (Instagram and the likes), a shortie is a good idea! (And a video increases click rate nby 90% according to Forbes. See more stats here.
So add images and short videos of yourself explaining things to boost viewership.
A SIMPLY EXPLAINED ARTICLE ON HOW TO MAKE GOOD SELF VIDEOS
We scoured through several 'how to take good videos of yourself' links and found this one by NYU. It is simple and sensible! Check it out here.
MAKE SHARP LOOKING POSTS
There is plenty help for this on the web. From the reliable MS PowerPoint to the more savvy Canva, there is plenty help with pre-set templates for this. Here are some sources you can play with:
(Note that all these options have free and paid versions, start free and go from there!)
Our March 2021 Instagram Blog post announcement. A combination of a personal photograph and preset template made for Instagram
Despite knowing your stuff, a lack of confidence, or appearing to be full of self doubt can hamper your chances at, well, anything! This article from Psychology Today does a very good job of both discussing the issue and giving ideas on how to present ourselves with confidence.
DRESS WELL. ALWAYS.
This is not the same as being all decked up in uncomfortable clothes and shoes and tightly pinned hair. It is about being presentable, not in the same clothes you slept in (you are welcome to wear jammies, but wear fresh ones please!) and generally well kempt.
The 99 Percent Lifestyle has an article on the importance of dressing well at work. Check it out if you want.
Human Rights and Women's Skills builder Jo Nzerem of Nigeria (founder Human Angle, Director Ashoka W Africa) at a social occasion and at a conference. Jo inspires confidence in the women she works with for her work, her advice and her total control over herself, be it any situation. While not always decked in traditional gear(top left), she is nonetheless always well dressed at work!
DRESS WELL. DRESS YOUR SPACE WELL!
When doing virtual calls, you do not have to dress up. But not be a mess, no matter how well you know the group.
Ditto with your surroundings. Virtual backgrounds and blur tools are an excellent substitute, but there is something more personal about showing your surroundings. Make sure what is seen is clean and presentable!
(See right for an excellent video on 'How to look Good for Zoom/ Face Time / Skype)