By now you’ve likely heard that “personal branding” is the key to helping you stand out in a crowd, whether in a competitive pool of job applicants or in your local community. We wrote about five great ways you can build your personal brand using social media, but in case you still aren’t sure just how to go about using blogs or social media networks like Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook, we’re going to break it down even further and give you 10 more specific tips for how to build your personal brand.
Claim Your Domain Name
If you’re trying to make a name for yourself, whether for professional or personal recognition, you will want to make sure you register your name as a domain. This will look something like YOURNAME.com, though you may need to use punctuation if you have a very common name. For example, one of my personal domains is Kelly-Clay.com, since (for some reason) KellyClay.com was already registered. A .com domain is usually available for around $10 when purchased via a site like GoDaddy.com (we even have a GoDaddy.com discount code for you). Additionally, you may want to register other variations of your name and use other endings, such as a .com domain including your middle initial. If you are afraid that someone else may threaten the credibility of your personal brand, consider registering .net and .org versions of your name, too, to prevent the need for reputation management in the future.
Claim All Your Names
Are you quickly building a well-known personal brand? You may find that other individuals are eager to imitate your brand on social networks that you have not yet joined. Services like KnowEm make it possible for you to check if your name has been registered on other social networks. Additionally, the service allows you to claim your name on dozens of other social networks with just a few clicks. Though not free, KnowEm makes it easy for personal brands to ensure that their brand remains unthreatened by squatters and imitations, which can be a personal reputation nightmare should clients or fans become confused and unable to determine your legitimate accounts and actions.
Have a Common Name? Create a Signature Personal Brand Name
If you tried using KnowEm to claim your name, but found that your painfully common name has already been registered on most social networks, you can use either KnowEm or another service, NameChk, to determine a personally branded username that is still available on most social networks as well as on most common domains. Having a consistent username will help keep your brand consistent and easily identifiable. You may even want to consider using these services before you register a domain for an especially consistent and fluid personal brand.
Use a CMS
Do you have a blog yet? If not, this an incredibly easy, fast, and potentially free way to solidify your personal brand. Blogs can be set up for free on WordPress.com, or hosted for just a few dollars per month on a private server, and are a great way to share the ideas of you and/or your personal brand. Using WordPress (or other platforms like Joomla or Drupal) as a CMS also allows you to showcase your brand’s portfolio and other types of media, which can help others discover and recognize your personal brand.
Create a Profile Page
We previously discussed that building a blog is an easy way to establish a personal brand, as well as setting up a personal profile page using services like About.me or Flavors.me. These pages allow you to utilize elements to highlight important elements about your brand, whether it links to other blogs, your photography portfolio, or your dozens of social networks. These pages are highly customizable, which allow you to not only use the profile as a hub, but also a way to demonstrate the personality and focus of your personal brand. This profile page is best when paired with your personally branded domain name. (If you already use your domain name for your personal brand, consider registering another branded domain name to help people find and remember your profile.)
Use Your Name as Your Twitter Name
Your personal brand is all about you, and your Twitter name is a great way for others to help associate the profile with you. If you are reading these tips, you’re likely developing a strategy to build your personal reputation through personal branding. This branding is accomplished by leveraging you via your identity (i.e., your name). As you should consider registering and using domain names that include your name, using your name as your Twitter handle will help solidify the personal brand you are building. However, like domain names, it is likely that, if you have a popular name, your name will also be registered — and forget the possibility of claiming just your first name. Consider including your initial — for example, my Twitter handle is @kellyhclay. You can also use underscores and/or numbers, though the easier a Twitter handle is to remember, the better it will be for brand recognition and memory.
Use Your Picture on Twitter
Have you ever wondered why you often see the same few pictures of celebrities repeatedly for months? Additionally, you may see the same headshots of other well-known industry or thought leaders for years — even decades. It is often easier for people to recognize another person if they see the same image repeatedly. (This is why, for example, you may not recognize a coworker whom you only see a few hours a week if they get a drastic new haircut.) If you are building a personal brand, be sure to use your own image on Twitter and do not change it often. Also, consider using this same image on your other social networking sites. Bonus points for using a professional (or professional grade) headshot that you can use for all of your personal branding efforts for the next year, as this will help make it easier for all those who follow, fan, or do business with you to easily and continuously recognize you, wherever you may be.
Link to Your Profile Page on Twitter
Have you developed that blog or personal profile page I mentioned earlier and utilized a personally branded domain name? Your Twitter account is a great way to complete a personal branding circle and link back to this domain. You may acquire new followers on Twitter who are unfamiliar with your other social network profiles, or who do not know you have a blog (let alone any other accomplishments). Linking to your personally branded hub on Twitter can direct new followers to this blog profile and, it is hoped, convert them to become readers of your blog, fans of your Facebook page, or even clients of your business.
Start a YouTube Channel
The Internet is a great way to connect with thousands of people you may have never met, but people instantly feel much more connected with others when they can see your face and hear your voice. Several personal brands have built a dynasty on utilizing video to connect with their audience, including not only Chris Pirillo, but others like Gary Vaynerchuk and iJustine. If you have a story to tell and/or share, consider starting a YouTube channel with your name and perhaps even a personal design to cement your personal brand, vision, and purpose.
Use Google Alerts
Do you know when someone is talking about you as a personal brand on the Internet? Google alerts is a great way to be instantly notified via email when someone else mentions you in a blog post or news article. These alerts can be set up at google.com/alerts and can help you both manage your reputation and thank someone for the kind words when appropriate.
Have you developed your own personal brand strategy? What are some of your tips? Let us know in the comments.