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10 Steps To Build Your Personal Brand Online

building your personal brand onlineDo you ever Google someone when you want to learn more about them?

Do you think anyone Google’s you when they are thinking of doing business with you?

Today it is the norm to do some research on potential business providers, vendors, suppliers, employees etc. Most people will even Google someone they are thinking of dating! What comes up in that search identifies the quality of your personal brand.

When it comes to building your personal brand online, you have to constantly examine whether or not you are being presented in the right light. The reality is that you will lose control of how you appear online if you are not the one in charge of managing your presence.

You have to understand what your potential clients will look for and trace the path that they will use to discover you.

In this article I am going to share with you ten of the most important factors when it comes to building your personal brand online so that you can impress any potential prospects that look you up.

1. Do The Google Test

Obviously one of the first things anyone will do when they are looking into you is type your name into a search engine. Go to Google right now and search your name to see what comes up.

Here’s what I see when I type my name into Google.Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 4.29.28 PM

My top ten search results are:

  1. My LinkedIn profile
  2. A page on my website showing all my recent articles
  3. A page on my website showing articles tagged with my name
  4. My Twitter profile
  5. My Facebook page
  6. My personal Facebook profile
  7. My personal Google+ profile
  8. Articles tagged on SocialMediaExaminer.com with my name
  9. My Pinterest profile
  10. My author profile on SocialMediaToday.com

Nine times out of ten, you will probably find that your LinkedIn profile, Twitter profile, Facebook profile and (hopefully) your website are going to be in the top 5 results. Although this is ideally what would come up when people search your name, what will they find when they start opening those pages?

2. Complete Your LinkedIn Profile

Due to LinkedIn’s powerful position in search results, your LinkedIn profile is most likely to be the first thing that shows up when people Google your name…even above your website. This is a big deal because we know the power that is held within the elusive #1 spot.

Have you completed your LinkedIn profile? Do yourself a favor and go through the 21 Steps To The Perfect LinkedIn Profile and don’t miss the following:

  • Get at least 10 recommendations for your current business/role
  • Ensure the profile is written as if it were speaking directly to your target audience
  • Craft a compelling headline for your profile as it is seen inside search results

3. Setup Google Authorship With Your Blog

Being an author is a great way to gain credibility when building your personal brand online and Google Authorship gives you a unique method to highlight that fact right inside the search results.

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 11.53.14 AM

This showed up as the second result when searching my name on Google. If whoever is searching decides to click that link, they will be taken directly to my blog with hundreds of high-quality articles that are dedicated to my exact target market.

How’s that for making a good first impression?

Recommended Resource: Google Authorship: How To Get Your Picture In Search Results

4. Write a Great Facebook Bio

My Facebook page came up as #4 in my Google test and this is what you see on the actual results page.Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 1.16.42 PM

The first 150 characters of your Facebook page bio are the most important as that is what shows up on the search results page. Here is what my actual Facebook bio looks like.Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 12.58.14 PM

Look familiar? Make sure you are creating maximum impact in those first 150 characters if you want them to check you out.

5. Write a Great Twitter Bio

My Twitter profile showed up at the #5 position in my Google test. Google pulls the first 100 characters from your Twitter bio for the meta description inside the search results.Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 12.53.12 PM

6. Create A Killer Google+ Tagline & Fill Out Occupations Section

Google+ information displays slightly different inside Google search results. Notice how it shows how many circles you have been added to. Great for social proof!Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 12.44.21 PMInstead of it pulling from the bio, Google search shows your G+ tagline and approx. the first 70 characters of your Google+ occupations section.Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 12.44.43 PM

7. Specialize

I know that it might seem like you’ll get three times the amount of business if you are promoting yourself as an SEO expert/Photographer/Realtor but the truth is the opposite. People want to work with those that specialize in what they are looking for. They want to see that you’re so good at what you do that you don’t have the time or the desire to do anything else.

8. Guest Blog For Websites Bigger Than Yours

There is nothing like the power of third-party credibility and guest blogging for a well-known website is among one of the most powerful uses of it. I’ve blogged for Social Media Examiner, Social Media Today, Advisor.ca, Canadian Business Journal and many more publications that have a greater reach than I would get releasing articles on my own site.

A WORD OF CAUTION:
I should mention that this was also considered a reliable SEO strategy for a few years but this has recently decayed amidst the proliferation of spammy practices. That said, guest blogging is still valuable if you are doing it for a reputable website that can truly offer you additional credibility through association. If you wish to learn more about this change, read this article from the head of Google’s Webspam team.

As you can see from my Google test, results 8 & 10 were my author profiles on major websites I’ve contributed to. That’s definitely something I want potential clients to see.

9. Use Professional Graphic Design Services

Nothing reveals an amateur more than poor visual branding. I’m sorry but it’s true. There are a few things that are necessary to have when building your personal brand online and, as far as I’m concerned, they are non-negotiable.

Everything from your logo to your Twitter background should scream professional, be designed by a professional graphic designer and you should have matching branding across all platforms and your website. Even if you don’t have the money, this is something you have to save up for. Be sure to check out the recommend resource below to ensure all graphics are created to the exact dimensions required for where they are being used!

Recommended Resource: The Ridiculously Exhaustive Social Media Design Blueprint

10. Remember The 10 Commandments of Social Media

There are a few fundamental rules of social media that apply directly to building your personal brand online and this graphic sums it up perfectly. If you let each of the principles in the 10 Commandments of Social Media guide your actions online, you won’t have anything to worry about.ten commandments of social media

How Are You Building Your Personal Brand Online?

Let us know how you did in the Google test and share some of your suggestions for building a personal brand in the comments below.