Having an online presence isn’t just about staying in touch with your locker mate from high school anymore. Real business opportunities can arise from the right digital branding but the stakes are high. The right digital moves lead to new connections. The wrong moves can make you look foolish, or even hurt your standing in the business community.
Today we will look at the dos and don’ts of online branding, from optimizing your LinkedIn profile, to the importance of shaping your key messages so your branding stays relevant and reaches the right audiences.
Do: Establish a Presence
Needless to say, the world wide web isn’t just a fad. More than three billion people are active users of social media. If you can’t be found online you are missing out on a vast reservoir of potential connections and resources.
Do: Find your niche
With a lot of ‘noise’ online these days, it’s helpful if you have a niche audience, rather than producing content for every man and his dog. Find the type of people you want to share your messages with and keep them in mind when creating your content – this will ensure your presence is effective and efficient.
Do: Keep SEO front of mind
Using key phrases and ensuring you're up to date with the latest SEO tricks, will ensure that you reach like-minded people and that your content can be easily found. Whether you’re righting a LinkedIn article, a blog for your website or even sharing your thoughts on Facebook / LinkedIn or twitter. Having the right key words, headlines and hashtags will be the difference between your content being seen, and your content being pushed by the wayside.
Don’t: Be Divisive
The majority of people use their social media or digital presence to express their views. There is certainly an extent to which this is acceptable behaviour.
If you want to share your personal insights into business trends, an online outlet may be an appropriate place to do so. However, it is important that you make sure the message you’re putting out there is more cultivated and thought out than that of the average internet user.
Avoid the thorny issues. Politics, religion, etc, will isolate at least half the people viewing the content regardless of your stance.
Do: Present a Consistent Image
The difference between a branded image and your average Facebook page is consistency. Social media profiles can be all over the place. It’s not strange for a Facebook user to post a picture of their dog, a complaint about their neighbour, and a personality quiz all in the same hour.
However, if you’re to create a truly branded image of yourself, you want to be more deliberate in what you put out into the world wide web.
When people view your page, they should find valuable insights that could come only from you. As an executive, creating this content won’t be difficult. You’re an authority on something. The content you produce should be light, readable, but also firmly rooted in the niche that you operate within.
Do: Consider Getting Your Own Domain
Social media is all well and good. In fact, it’s an invaluable part of having an online presence, but if you want to take your digital branding to the next level, your own website will do the trick.
However, if your online presence is to be scattered around several places (i.e a website, a LinkedIn, a Facebook page) be sure that you’re consistent across platforms.
You want to produce the same impression regardless of if people are finding you on your website or your Facebook.
Don’t: Post Anything You’ll Regret Later
It’s almost a cliché at this point, but don’t post anything you will regret later. The internet has been known to be a career killer when done the wrong way. There are major examples of this. James Gunn being fired from a Marvel movie for tweets from many years ago comes to mind.
But there are also smaller, less obvious violations that can undercut your credibility. Even photos of yourself drinking, or appearing to be unprofessional can have a major impact on your career somewhere down the line.
Produce a cultivated image of yourself online. Be precise in the message that you convey. You’re an intelligent, successful business person who has everything going for them. Make sure what you post online speaks to that. If a potential post doesn’t, then consider deleting it and replacing it with one that does.
Your online presence is more important that you think. Tread carefully and treat your online self with respect and confidence, as you would if you were at a professional networking event.
Good luck and let us know if you need support building a sleek, professional brand for yourself online. We’ve got your back.