My thanks to my friend Kelly Medrano who this weekend sent me eight good ideas for the blog. One of them is the subject of this post, which has some of the best tips I have for how to make sure you have a good personal brand online. Since I have already written about the importance of having one here I will skip that and jump straight in.
First a word on Klout.com. This website measures your online presence and gives you a score. Now this website is somewhat infamous for good reason. On the one hand it does give something of a reflection on how you appear socially, on the other it can be erratic and unpredictable. Also, it does not take into consideration all of the possible sources that it could (for example Yelp) and it seems to rely heavily on Google+. That said, anyone considering their personal brand should use it as an approximate guide.
So how do you improve your profile? Here are my tips:
No matter what anyone says or how many assurances you are given, do not think for one moment that your Facebook profile is secure or cannot be seen. I have a very good friend who works in Human Resources for a major university and she and her colleagues get regular briefings from their lawyers on all the legal ways to view what you and your friends post. Even if you are as well behaved as Mother Teresa, if you have a crazy friend he or she will still reflect poorly on you. My advice for Facebook is to get into the habit of deleting everything on it after 24 hours. Make sure that whatever you do decide to keep would be OK for an interview with the CIA. Also, lock down everything that you possibly can.
One might think that to have a better personal brand they need to have their information available, so it is counter-intuitive to prevent people from seeing them. However, this is because if Facebook is truly personal, then you do not want your private and personal behavior to be your public and professional face.
Here are my best tips for what I believe is an excellent and scalable tool for professional, personal branding.
A. Pick a title that is more than just your job. Unless you are such a workaholic that you cannot define yourself by more than just what you are paid to do, then change this to reflect that kind of person you are or want to be known as. Take your time and think about this carefully, then use the same description with other websites that ask you to describe yourself. Stay consistent, as you want ‘brand integrity’ by maintaining a constant message.
B. Avoid too many words, and add as many numbers as possible. This guide from Forbes on what words to not use in your CV (resume) applies to LinkedIN as well. Hard numbers lie less than words and give a clearer picture of your achievements. If you are in HR or Finance, this applies to you as well. For example; how many people are you responsible for? How many cases did you manage? What size P&L do you run?
C. Selectively use tweets to keep your LinkedIN profile prominent but don’t permanently link it. I did that and drove some people away from me because too many Twitter updates are irritating. Since then, I have disabled Twitter from LinkedIN and now use the #in suffix for selective tweets that are useful and relevant. For example; Vodafone buys Visa #in would be useful and interesting for people to see.
D. Get recommendations. It is not cheesy to ask. Do it now, not when you are looking for a job. That way, you can build up a set over time and its more relaxed for you and the people you are asking. If you are asked to give one, then be kind and take a few minutes to do so. If you are not sure what to write, then take a look at this great guide here.
As mentioned above, get an account and tweet away but make sure the tweets are relevant and interesting and not personal or venting. Or worse yet, boring. This slide guide is fun and helpful.
Forums, User Groups. Clubs.
If you have any interests, then chances are there are websites for them along with forums. I thought of the most bizarre hobby I could think of, came up with yogurt making and lo and behold, there is a forum for that too. So join and start contributing in forums relevant to your interests, then start linking to your posts through Twitter. Where appropriate, add the #in hashtag and your forum post will appear on LinkedIN. Soon you may start to appear as what is referred to as a ‘domain expert’, someone who is a guru in a given subject. Next thing you know, you will get calls and emails asking for advice and possibly even a job offer.For more reading I like this blog here.
About the Author
Roy Taylor is a veteran executive in the tech industry. Roy was one of key executives at NVIDIA, creating and leading divisions in the company which drove the company to its leadership status. The start of NVIDIA in EMEA region, developer relations, The Way Its Meant To Be Played program, Telecom Relations (first Tegra design wins) were all driven by a charming Englishman who discovered his second youth in both sides of California. Former projects also include serving as EVP and General Manager of MasterImage 3D and his vision is to bring glassless 3D to our hands in the forms of tablets and smartphones. You can follow him on LinkedIn, Techhollyood and via his new Twitter account.