Over the years I have done many TV segments and blogs on personal branding and personal marketing. I strongly recommend that every individual have a personal marketing plan to grow their brand.
Recently, I asked my intern Emily Glickman, a student at Ithaca College to ask me a few questions about personal branding.
How should somebody start building their brand?
I am often asked for tips and pointers for growing a brand and I tell professionals to start by assessing how they are presenting themselves both online and in the real world. The strategy behind this first step is to develop and project a consistent message.
To convey a consistent message, individuals should be utilizing a variety of online and social media platforms. Professionals should start by creating and regularly updating online profiles. This includes updating photos and videos. When creating online profiles, convey a message that aligns with who you are, why you do what you do and why you are an expert. For example, business professionals must use a professional head shot to create the right first impression. By dressing professionally for photos and in person, you will avoid a disconnect between your real world and your online image.
How often should profiles and social media sites be updated?
After creating social media profiles, remember to keep them up-to-date and active. This means having a bio that is current and posting content frequently and consistently. All profiles should use current photos so that your brand has a face connected to it. Online profiles should be updated any time there is a significant change in your career such as a promotion or being named a board member.
LinkedIn profiles for example, are a very important networking tool that should be looked at every three months. I like to do a complete refresher of my LinkedIn at least once a year. This includes removing services I am no longer offering and adding new services. I also like to look at my skills and remove items to keep a concise list and to avoid confusion. As for your LinkedIn business page, I suggest updating it several times a year. Additionally, Facebook Business pages get a lot of traffic and should be tweaked at least every six months.
How do I monitor my brand?
Remember, your personal brand “lives” online. This being said, it is a good idea to Google yourself regularly to see what others are saying about you or your brand. A helpful tool to use is Google Alerts. Google Alerts allow you to plug in key words such as your name or company. You will receive an email when the key words are mentioned online. It is also helpful to search specifically within platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. For businesses with over 15-20 employees check Glassdoor.
What should a person do if there are negative comments or reviews?
Negatives reviews are similar to a “crisis situation” that we manage all the time for clients at Corbett Public Relations. The key is being proactive. This means constantly putting out positive information about your expertise, your services and your business to build that good will and positive reputation. Doing this you will have demonstrated your knowledge, expertise and commitment to clients over a long period of time. In the event of a bad situation or negative review the good news and content will far outweigh the negative.
In the event of a negative review first make sure the complaint is valid. We have seen many fake complaints or reviews posted by competitors. Conduct an internal search before answering complaints. After doing so, I recommend following these three simple steps:
1 Own it
No one is perfect, some issue or event will occur and a customer will comment. Acknowledge the customer’s concerns. I suggest replying privately and limiting any public back and forth conversations. Keep interactions short and over the phone if possible to be sure your message is received and understood.
2 Fix it
Whenever possible correct the problem with the customer. Respond to the unhappy customer and let them know that their concerns were heard. Many times simply acknowledging that an issue occurred will dissipate the situation.
3 Communicate it
Follow up with the customer. Recognize that some customers will never be satisfied and that all interactions can be posted online. I suggest never arguing online, instead, simply state the facts and never call into question a person’s comments.
Everyone is responsible for managing their brand online and in the real world. As a business owner you should portray the way you communicate with customers, how you demonstrate your expertise and how you help others.
Take the time to keep your personal information up-to-date. These actions create an accurate picture of who you are and make it easy for people to find you and get to know what you stand for.
Have questions, need a resource? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Need to start creating a personal marketing plan? Email me at email@example.com and I will send you a list of questions to ask yourself to get started.
Looking for some help setting up your LinkedIn plan? Visit www.growyourpersonalbrand.com
By Bill Corbett