Pause for a moment, and let’s ponder something together: When you Google your business, what shows up? What does it say about you?
Here’s the straight truth: These days, your online brand precedes you. Whether you know it, ignore it, like it, or not… people ARE going to find you online, so how you show up is often the first impression you’re making. Ultimately, the way you present yourself online can make the difference in landing that lead, establishing a new client or network relationship, or securing that job you’re after.
So what exactly are you communicating to the world online? Is your online presence setting you up to be a trusted and knowledgeable source in your profession, or is it leaving a different impression?
Although these are big questions, have no fear: we’ll walk you through all the questions you should be asking yourself on a regular basis when evaluating your online presence. The idea is to stay true to your brand while building trust and showcasing your prowess.
The WHY of Online Brand Auditing
It’s important to consider the why of anything, and that certainly doesn’t exclude your online efforts. Of the myriad reasons having an online presence is crucial for building and growing business, among some of the most important are relationship building, connection, learning, teaching, growing, researching, reviewing, marketing, networking, sales, and accessibility. Staying in touch with people online is an incredible tool we have at our disposal during modern times, with the ability to share intimate snippets of our life that people and/or customers may not see otherwise. This builds an authentic connection that goes beyond the walls of the internet and into tangible (and hopefully promising!) business endeavors.
The WHERE of Online Brand Auditing
Have you ever wondered where exactly you could be showing up online? Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list, but here are some of the most popular (and important) categories: search engines, career sites, previous employer sites, blog sites, directories, review sites, and lastly, if not most importantly, social media sites. Within the social realm, there also exists specific categories: those apps intended for photos, sharing, messaging, video, professional networking, writing, and listings/reviews. So, if where people show up online is usually based on who is there and why, think about the platforms and what each of them offer. Think about who is showing up there. Think about your goal. What do you want to accomplish? That will tell you everything you need to know about where to show up.
The WHEN of Online Brand Auditing
There may be seasons or particular reasons you go to a platform and engage. Off the top, here are just a few: When you’re looking for a job, when you’re growing your business, when a significant event has happened; when you have something fun to share or important to say, etc. Your “when” isn’t just about why, it’s also about timing. Paying attention to when your target audience is active will help you gain visibility by showing up at the right time. On Facebook, for example, you can see when your friends are live and using the platform. On certain platforms and profiles, it’s possible to subscribe to notifications from specific network associates so you get an alert when they post. Knowing where your clients or networks are posting, reading, and sharing can really make the difference in staying top of mind in your industry and reminding people you are a resource, still relevant, active, current, and available.
The HOW of Online Brand Auditing
Wondering about personal flair or branding? Or how exactly you should appear online? This also comes down to strategy. Consider the following areas:
- Claim profiles: It’s not all about social media or about managing conversations on ALL the platforms. It is, however, about SEO that helps you show up and establish presence.
- Establish usernames and URLs: Make them unique, be consistent, use professional designation or title.
- Write with SEO and audience in mind: Incorporate bios with keywords, answer questions, and create detailed descriptions of your current position.
- Brand it: Utilize a professional cover image and professional headshot. Appearances matter.
The WHAT of Online Brand Auditing
What I do suggest is showing up in a way that truly reflects the unique individual you are and the personality you have – within a professional framework. You want to stand out, but you also want to be taken seriously, and you want to be respected, so be sure you’re showing up that way today, and you’ll make the impression you want each time you’re found.
Your online brand says a lot about you professionally… make it count
If you’d like to stay on top of your brand awareness, I invite you to utilize Jamie’s checklist, which outlines everything above, so you can perform routine checks on your own and stay on top of your online brand presence. Remember: all your efforts to stay on top of branding and online presence will always keep you fresh, relevant, and attractive in the world of business. Make them count!