Whether you’re an entrepreneur or an employee climbing the corporate ladder, it’s worth developing a personal brand online.
Crafting an online presence was once a novelty. Now, it’s an expectation for both businesses and professionals. One of the first steps a prospective employer or client takes after hearing your name is to run a Google search. It’s up to you to determine what shows up.
Maintaining a professional image online is an art form. Here are some simple steps you can take to guide the process.
1.Develop a Personal Brand
Whether you are an entrepreneur or an employee climbing the corporate ladder, it’s worth developing a personal brand. Your brand will act as your guidebook for how you interact online, what tone you use, and how you pursue your goals. Having a personal brand creates an image of consistency and reliability that will attract the connections you wish to curate.
However, having a personal brand goes deeper than how you appear to others. This exercise will act as a personal compass, guiding you toward content you should be a part of and away from subjects you should avoid. It will give you a framework when making decisions by encouraging you to ask yourself, “does this fit my personal mission?”
Navigating the online world can be tricky. Using a personal brand as your GPS will help you avoid inflammatory comments and activities that contrast your goals.
2.Use High-Quality Photos
Technology has evolved exponentially in recent years. One of the many benefits of this evolution is the accessibility to high-quality camera equipment via smartphones. As such, there’s no excuse for low-quality photos on your website, LinkedIn or other platforms.
Use high-quality photos when posting online. Avoid overly photoshopped or airbrushed photos, opting instead for a professional profile picture editor. Use natural light, portrait settings, and stability to your advantage when shooting photos.
Keep in mind that high-quality also pertains to the subject matter. While posting a photo of you enjoying a glass of wine on the deck is totally acceptable, photos from the office Christmas party with a lampshade on your head is not.
3.Position Yourself as a Thought Leader
One of the best ways to grow your network and maintain a professional online presence is to position yourself as an expert in your industry. Share relevant content and post your personal take; don’t just post a link with no context or “thoughts?” as your caption. Take a stance and support your argument, inviting conversation with your audience.
4.Edit Twice, Post Once
Carpenters have a saying that also applies to maintaining a professional image: “measure twice; cut once.” In this case, however, you should edit twice and post once.
Take some time to read through your content before posting. Aim to use proper grammar and ensure that everything is spelled properly. If you struggle with this, use a service like Grammarly to highlight errors beforehand.
This advice also applies to addressing potentially sensitive or inflammatory subjects. Give yourself time to think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. Never post in anger.
Be responsive to those who take the time to interact with you online. If someone comments on your post and shares their opinion, validate their contribution and continue the conversation. Being responsive is a fantastic way to expand your network and build trusted connections.
You can be professional and still be yourself. People can sense when someone is being inauthentic or false, and it creates a sense of distrust. You can talk about your life outside of work and make jokes— it’s all about knowing which lines not to cross. Let your personality shine through in your posts.
7.Guard Your Time
Finally, be sure to guard your time when maintaining an online presence. While posting and interacting is important, it’s not as important as the work you do outside of the web. Potential employers want to see that you’re dedicated to your work throughout the day, not spending all of your time on social media.
The key to maintaining a professional image online is finding a balance between your career and your human existence. Keep it classy and authentic, and the rest will come.
This article was first published on Fuzu.