Your Personal Image Is Everything PART 3/3: Digital Presence
This 3-part image consulting blog series inspects your personal image from 3 different angles: Your communication, appearance and digital presence. In this third part you will learn how to build a strong personal brand online and on social media.
Have you ever looked at someone’s social media profile and did not have a clue what their personal brand was all about? Did you like or dislike them immediately? Can you pinpoint what made you look further or click away?
You can roughly divide the most annoying social media profiles in two extremes. They are either a mishmash of awkwardly public glimpses to their private lives, serial shares and likes of articles from non-reputable sources.
At the other end are the eerily silent or abandoned profiles without anything tangible to hold on to. As your image consultant I am advising you: Don’t be either of these extremes.
Your successful digital presence should fall somewhere in between. It should have accurate, yet interesting and engaging, information without oversharing. And it should present clearly what your personal brand is all about. All your content should have a positive and upbeat vibe, and it should leave your audience inspired, educated and hungry for more.
It’s important to remember that nowadays your personal brand is only as strong as your online presence. It’s a fact of modern life that cannot be overlooked. But the good news is that I am here to guide you through it all. In this blog post I will give you realistic advice on how to improve your personal brand online.
We All Google People
Are you going to meet someone new? The first thing that pops into your mind while preparing for an interview or a date, is to enter the person’s name in that search field and to hit the magnifying glass icon. In the recent years it has become socially acceptable and a every day custom to Google all new acquaintances.
According to a CareerBuilder study in 2018 57% of employers have decided to not hire someone based on their online content. The survey also revealed that 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates. And that’s just the people who are looking to hire someone.
Thanks to technology it’s now so easy to have friends, enemies, dates, colleagues and business partners all over the world. It’s opening us doors that we never even knew were there. I am very thankful for all my online connections who support me, help me learn and continue to inspire me.
Your closest friends and family know you in real life and can overlook your online mishaps. Perhaps they will never even see them because they are not on those platforms. But it’s good to remember that some people who will only know the digital you -and there are many of them. Probably more than you could ever meet in person.
That is why it’s important to pay careful attention to your digital presence. If you don’t already have one, start building fast. It seems that without a digital presence, you almost don’t exist. I find that a scary thought and can very well imagine that you feel the same. Hopefully wit my advice you will get a good headstart towards a better online personal brand.
Your Digital Presence Consists Of…
- All your the content on your social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, to mention a few…
- Your website and blog (if applicable)
- All the photos of you that you or anyone else have ever posted online
- Anything you have written or that has been written about you on discussion forums, groups, blogs or articles posted online
Have A Proper Digital Clean Up
- The best way to start is to google yourself and to look at all the findings with a critical eye. Ask help from a friend who will tell it like it is, or a professional image consultant, such as myself. I do this kind of social media audits for my clients on a regular basis and many have profited from a second opinion on their content
- Is your content aligned with your personal brand? And is your content relevant to your personal brand? If your answer is no it’s time to delete it or limit it’s audience
- Consider separating your personal and professional profiles. How you want to define the boundaries between work and private is fully up to you. In general it’s rarely a good idea to connect with your business contacts on a too personal level, but modern business etiquette allows more personality than say 10 years ago
- Remove anything on your public profile that can be interpreted in the wrong way. When is doubt, delete. Or even better: Don’t post it in the first place. That’ll make your future clean ups way easier!
- Consider that your public profiles include also information about the other pages that you liked and your membership of public groups. What you follow and comment on tells a lot about you and your values without you even mentioning it
- Tasteless and inappropriate jokes, remarks and comments are best shared with a limited audience. Or actually not at all, as we all know how to take screenshots by now
Tidy Up Those Photos Albums
- Take a critical look at your photos because this is what people see first. Consider if they need to be public or should you limit their audience. Or perhaps you need to delete some altogether?
- A professional head shot gives always a good impression, however nobody expects it on your personal social media profile. On a professional social media page one is of course a must, although the rules are nowadays more relaxed also on professional profiles
- Photos of food, nature, animals and sports are always a safe choice. Parties, people and alcohol may prove problematic, so approach carefully
- Avoid politics, religion, bullying and violence. It goes without saying that this type of content is very risky and considered a major faux pas in the modern business world
- Make sure your photos don’t violate the privacy of others. If your photos display minors, always ask their parent’s consent
Take Control Of The Digital You
- The good news is that you are able to feed and mold your digital footprint with positive content on relevant platforms
- Concentrate on cultivating a solid online presence that makes your personal brand shine in the right light
- Highlight your skills and achievements, including your personal ones (without being too personal, if you catch my drift). Running a marathon or doing volunteer work always give a positive first impression as does sharing professional content of events that you have attended such as conferences and workshops
- Create a realistic online strategy that fits your goals and technical skills. You don’t have to post all the time. In fact fewer high quality posts will give a better impression of you than trying too hard to make the mundane exciting
- Choose the right platforms for you and give up the ones that are no longer relevant. You don’t need to be everywhere all the time. If you do, consider hiring a professional social media manager to help you appear online more often
- Update your content regularly and keep your pages manned. When the lights are on people assume that someone is home, and the same applies to social media
Show Some Personality
- Don’t be afraid to show your creative or compassionate side as it makes you more dimensional and therefore more attractive and unique
- Keep on feeding relevant and positive content on your pages and engage with others in a friendly and professional manner
- Remember to thank people and praise them for their achievements. People will remember the way you made them feel and form an opinion about you accordingly
- Here comes the spoiler alert: Social media is not only about what you post. It’s also very much about how you react to other people’s content. So write with a warm heart and be encouraging. This will certainly be noticed by others!
Make A Great First Impression Online
Nowadays first impressions are often made online so it’s logical that your digital presence is a vital part of your personal brand. Here at I on Image I help you to manage your online presence on relevant online platforms and to increase your visibility.
With my help you can build a online reputation that is fully aligned with your digital personal brand so don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. Together we can make your online persona look like the best and the most comprehensive version of yourself.
READ ALSO other episodes in “Your Personal Image Is Everything” 3-part blog series by I on Image
- 1/3: Communication – Learn to communicate better and more professionally
- 2/3: Appearance – Learn how to dress better and look the part
I am looking forward to help you improve your online image!
This article was originally published on 3rd January 2018 and updated on 3rd November 2021