Everything is searchable on the Internet and this means you are too. Ten years ago, a Google search on an individual was considered poor form and a little bit creepy. In 2020 it's considered acceptable and, in some cases, a complete necessity.
Job security is more of an issue once a certain age is reached. Some industry sectors are more active in the M&A sector than others, such as technology. Many times I've been working on a client on Friday only to be told the following Monday it's been acquired and I'll be losing them. I worked with one client that was acquired four times in three years.
Therefore, building a reputation online - even if low maintenance - filled with information can help build trust, help people understand who you are, and create a positive image. This is key if, for instance, you are looking to raise funds for that new startup venture you've always dreamed about. People will want to know who they are dealing with and will most likely search your name on Google.
Go ahead and do a Google search on your name now.
If you are happy with the results, and believe you work in an area where your skills will always be in demand, then skip this post.
If you see yourself changing jobs, working in a different field, starting your own firm, or a million other reasons, then this post is for you.
The aim is to make sure the page of a Google search is of links that lead to something positive you've said, written or posted. Here are my eight tips to establish a personal brand on the Internet without too much effort. Of course, the more you put in, the more you get out. If this is all brand new to you, slow engagement is better than charging in.
There are so many sites out there to enable a self-build and hosting is cheap as chips; I reckon a new, basic website can be launched in under thirty minutes. Once you get the hang of it, make improvements (this can be a serious and fun experience) and remember the golden rule, you're building a website viewed and used by others not (just) for your own gratification.
[I use Strikingly as it's easy to navigate, it's novice-friendly, and the customer support is top drawer.]
Look at your website as being the headquarters of you. Everything you do online should be linked to your website and vice versa.
Requires a bit more time to set up and fill out all the bits and pieces and make the necessary privacy / communication settings. Accept all connection requests and after six months, delete those you feel don't want in your network. Put your website address (company and personal) and any social media links on your contact info page.
This requires a bit more work, say half an hour every two or three months. Even if you are averse to participating, minimal effort is required. If you can, link your account to your website. So, if you do post on Twitter, it also appears on your website. Open to everyone rather than private. Put your website address on the profile page.
Create boards of interest and leave forever. Or conduct basic maintenance every 12 months by adding to the boards, accepting all connections, following some boards. Then forget about it for another year. Include your website address on the profile page.
Post a couple of photos, follow 50 accounts and that's it. Link to your website (same as Twitter). Unless this is for personal use, open to everyone rather than private. Put your website address in the profile.
Choose any topic in your specialisation, write 400 words, and post it on Medium. Put your website address on your Medium profile and a link to the article on your website with a few words telling people why they should read it. Then forget about it forever.
You want to be authentic and original not a copy and paste merchant as this will harm your reputation.
There are many. Unsplash, Pixabay, Twenty20, and so on. Open an account on each and post a few of your most stunning photos, then forget. If appealing, bloggers and others will use your photos and sometimes credit usage. Pretty much forget about making any money from these sites in the short term.
With two billion users Facebook is a valuable self-marketing tool. At the minimum, open an account, put a photo of yourself, fill in the briefest of details, provide all your social media links, then forget about it. Accept all requests and delete those you don't want every six months, so you have a network personal to you.
If writing has never been your thing, there are plenty of options to overcome this. You can browse on Fiverr, Freelancer, Upwork and find a freelance writer. Or, another option is to use tech as a springboard to write your own stuff. Enter a keyword, wait for 90 seconds, and Articoolo will spit out an article of original but imperfect content. Use this to then create your own work. Machine learning content is imperfect because the tech is unable to differentiate between sincerity, sarcasm and humour.
These tips should provide the foundation on your personal brand journey. Of course, you can hire a virtual assistant or a digital-savvy person to do all this for you. Just make sure you are very clear about what you want and change the passwords of each site after handover.
A final note. You always want to be authentic and original in your postings rather than a cut and paste merchant (although Pinterest is actually geared towards the latter). Social media engagement can be a nightmare and a minefield to navigate so take small steps at first.