Author: Alex Shteingardt, Managing Director, Hays Russia
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has been famously quoted as saying that “your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room”. Your personal brand is essentially the perception that others have of you. And, in today’s digital age, you have more opportunity than ever to control and craft exactly what those perceptions might be than ever before.
But developing your online personal brand takes time – and, time, unfortunately, is not something most of us have much of these days.
Social media is a powerful, but time consuming personal branding tool
If you’re reading this, you probably already understand that social media is a powerful personal branding tool, but I’m sure you also know from experience that it can also be a time-consuming one. There’s no getting away from the fact that developing an online personal brand that delivers results takes commitment and effort – and that commitment and effort needs to be applied consistently.
Whilst I’m a firm believer in the fact that anything that’s worth doing takes time, I also believe that we should all be trying to work smarter and not harder – and that that ethos should also apply to managing our online personal brands.
I therefore thought I would share some ‘hacks’ which I think could help you to more efficiently manage your personal brand, especially if you’re time poor and have 101 seemingly ‘more important’ priorities:
1. Be selective about how many, and which social networks you have a presence on
My first tip is to be selective about which social networks you have a presence on – these days there are more out there than ever, all of them vying for our attention. The digital world we live in provides boundless brand-building and networking opportunities, but it can also be hugely overwhelming – and potentially a massive drain on our time.
It’s important to understand that you can’t realistically devote yourself to your business, to developing your career and reaching your goals, all at the same time managing your presence on hundreds of different social networks. You’ll therefore need to focus your efforts on mastering just one or two channels if you aren’t to end up spreading yourself too thinly – and generate little to no impact in the process.
Whilst of course Facebook remains the most popular social media site, with YouTube, Instagram and Twitter following closely behind, I would say the most important network from a personal branding point of view is LinkedIn. With more than 575 million active users using the site to further their careers and build their businesses, there is undoubtedly an immense competition for attention – but it’s also where you’ll find many of the most relevant and interesting people, leads and professional opportunities.
So, I’d recommend as a starting point, you focus your attention on establishing your presence on LinkedIn. Once you’re comfortable using that platform, and have incorporated it’s management into your day-to-day routine without any disruption, then consider moving on to another – but only ever add another social channel when you’ve mastered the others.
Check out this blog for some useful tips on how to get up and running and noticed on LinkedIn.
2. At a bare minimum, make sure you have a profile picture (and that it’s professional)
This is one of the quickest, yet simplest ways to start building your online presence. You might not think a simple photo would make much difference, but would you ever attend a networking event with a mask on?
The ideal profile photo for LinkedIn should be 60% your face and 40% a distraction-free background – and it could lead to up to 21 times more profile views than if you were to press on without one.
With it potentially taking just a few seconds for you to upload a more suitable profile picture to your LinkedIn account, you can’t really claim to ‘not have enough time’ to follow this tip.
3. Save time when finding content to share
The more content you share on social media that is relevant and useful to potential employers, colleagues, stakeholders and clients alike – the more powerful a personal brand you will be able to build online.
Content sharing, is an essential aspect of optimising your online presence – and the good news is that if you’re smart about it, it doesn’t need to take up too much of your time.
So, let’s start with how you can find the right content to share with your networks (which, if not done properly, can be time consuming). By ‘content’, I mean news articles, blogs, videos, research papers that are relevant and of interest to you, and potentially your networks, but also position you as a well-read industry expert.
Instead of spending hours searching on Google, or scrawling websites, try some of these tips:
- Sign up to email newsletters of relevant blogs or websites – that way, the latest content will be delivered straight to your inbox
- Set up Google Alerts using relevant keywords – again, this will ensure the latest content is delivered straight to your inbox with minimal effort on your part
- Follow hashtags, Influencers and companies on LinkedIn – when you do, you’ll start to see relevant content in your news feed which you can then go on to share
- Every time you log into LinkedIn, check the ‘Today’s news and views’ section in the top right hand corner of your screen on desktop – this is a list of the latest news curated for you by the LinkedIn Editors, and can be an interesting source of content to not only share, but also to comment on
Sure, you might need to spend half an hour setting up the above – but once they’re in place, believe me, they’ll save you a lot of time in the long-run.
4. Be smart when scheduling and sharing content
Now that you’ve understood the best ways to find the most relevant content to share, in a time efficient way – how can you then save even more time through smart scheduling and sharing?
- Dedicate five short minutes every morning (or at least once a week) to sharing a piece of content with your network – diarise this time in your calendar, set reminders on your phone – do everything you can to make regular content sharing part of your daily routine – it needs to become a habit for you
- Utilise tools such as Buffer to help you batch schedule content in advance – that way you can log in once a week or, once a month and schedule all your content in one go
As I said earlier, the key to developing and optimising a strong personal brand online is consistency – so use these tips to ensure you’re posting regularly and consistently.
However, one thing I would say is that it’s worth putting a bit of extra time crafting your personalised perspective or opinion on the content you’re sharing – this will encourage your network to engage and help position you as authority on the subject in your own right. Another great way to initiate further discussion is to ask a question.
5. Spend a few seconds liking, sharing and commenting when you can
However, sharing and scheduling content isn’t the only thing that is important if you are to build your personal brand quickly.
When scrolling through your news feed, try to interact with others in your network – every ‘like’, share or comment will prove that you are socially active and position you as an expert in your field, whilst helping to increase the visibility of your profile to those inside and outside your immediate network. All these quick actions will only take you a few seconds but can have a huge impact over time.
Also, it might sound obvious, but I’d also recommend you have all the relevant social apps on your phone – that way you can interact when you have any free time, and whilst you’re on the go. Also, bookmark them on your desktop, which will save you even more time.
6. Set up Google Alerts for your own name
While there’s a good chance that you’ve Googled your name in the past – after all, more than half of Millennials have Googled themselves before, and more than a tenth of Generation Zers do it on a daily basis – but did you know you can actually set up an email alert to a mention of your name online?
Similar to setting up a Google alert to flag relevant content you could share with your network, as outlined above, setting up an alert for your own name should also be a standard part of your online reputation management. That way, you can find out instantly, daily or weekly what people are saying about you online, whilst barely investing any time to do so. If you run a personal blog or website, Google alerts will also tell you if you are being quoted or linked to.
Make it a habit – and enjoy!
I think we’ve established that consistent activity is key to building your personal brand online. But being consistent obviously takes time – time you probably don’t have. However, as I hope I’ve outlined to you, there are lots of tricks and tools out there which can help you do so in a way that isn’t going to eat too much into your already-busy schedule.
However, I think the key to managing your personal brand online is making it feel more like a habit or a ritual, rather than a chore that you ignore, avoid or forget about. Managing your social media presence needs to become something you automatically do without even really thinking about it.
And the real key to that is getting some sense of enjoyment, gratification and value from doing it – whether that be through setting targets for yourself in terms of the number of connections or followers you can attract, or on how well your posts perform.
So, try using these tips to help save you some time when building and optimising your all-important online personal brand, and importantly, incorporate them into your schedule. If you do, over time, they’ll become habit, and you’ll soon start to see the results, without having to dedicate hours of your precious time.
Thank you for reading. For more useful advice and insights about the world of work, visit our dedicated blog page here or click on one of the links below.
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