Five essential ways to build and maintain your personal brand

There was a time when you kept a copy of your CV on a disk and every couple of years or so you updated it with a new job title and phone number. Voila! Your so-called 'personal brand' was bang up to date. Alas, those days sound so twee, I can’t believe it was that simple. With the advent of the internet, social networks and now interconnected communications across your business and personal personas, it’s hard to know where to start. This time last year, I made a concerted effort to tidy up the stream of info that already existed out there about me and I wanted to share the five best tools I have found best for to keeping your personal brand fresh, vibrant and ready to wow.

Before I start, it’s worth stating that a personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. Also this post just deals with the part of your brand that will help you in work or in business. How you dress, how you behave and how you deal with life are possible future topics, but assuming you are a rounded character who wants to do well in life, this might be for you. Oh, and it's for chefs too. Mwaah.

Here goes:

1) Get on


Ah yes, the 800lb Gorilla in the room when it comes to creating that professional tone to your outstanding personality. Even if you are not looking for a new job, a presence on


is critical in sailing the choppy waters of promotion, cross-departmental collaboration and any initiatives where you might be required to represent your company externally. With the newly updated mobile app at your fingertips, it’s never been easier to check in, connect and comment on what your network is up to.

Maintaining your LinkedIn profile is a bit like caring for a delicate plant… it takes time, nurturing and lots of pruning to get it just right. Oh, and if you're

 not going to upload a photo, then don’t bother.  Get a professional looking picture in there, fill out as much detail as you can and then tell the world as much about your career using the least number of words possible (the pruning part). 

2) Start a


If you haven’t got one already, then it’s time to make it happen. I cannot stress enough how vital this is at gaining real influence among your peers and senior management at work and in the wider circle of your chosen industry. I am not saying it is easy, far from it, but it does challenge you to be both disciplined and bold as you commit your thoughts for wider consumption. Whether you


about a hobby, or an aspect of your work that you are passionate about, it doesn’t matter. Just be yourself, be positive and be knowledgeable on your chosen subject. Don’t worry about followers, subscribers or what people think when you start out. Just write. Eventually you will find your voice while honing your topic. Eventually your audience will find you. 

And remember, if the CEO of your company reads your blog and is impressed enough to mention it to you in passing - then you only need an audience of ONE to make your effort worthwhile.



your life

We all have a digital footprint on the net. Google yourself to get an idea of what other people might come across, if they did the same thing. Guess what? They did already. Which means if you’re still in a job, then all is not lost. The best way to present your digital self to a prospective employer or business prospect is to curate what’s out there and serve it to up in one tidy package. That’s where


comes in. Basically it is like having your very own website, but filled with data that you have created through your interactions on social media. Once you sign in with your various Social Media credentials, Vizify will analyse your accounts and regurgitate the information into a very slick presentation. If, like me, you have travelled, there is a very clever tool that takes the visitor on a virtual tour around the globe. But don’t stop there, go into the ‘edit’ menu and spend time tweaking the information until it comes out with exactly what you want to present about yourself. Once done, you can embed a click-thru button on your email signature and that will direct people to your digital brand, before they have a chance to Google a random selection of positive - or negative - snippets about you.

4) Lock down your

Facebook settings.

You’re probably already on


and use it to connect with your mates and family. No problem there. No problem, that is, as long as you have not been reckless with your privacy settings. Spend time going over your account settings to make sure that only ‘Friends’ can see your content. This includes pictures you are tagged in, location check-ins and other posts you have commented on. I don’t want to dwell too much in this area, but I will offer one vital nugget of advice: DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO WRITE ANYTHING NEGATIVE ABOUT YOUR JOB. It is your private space, but all bets are off if a work colleague flags it up with your employer. Time and again, people find themselves out of a job because they didn’t appreciate how seriously their employer is about their company brand integrity.

5) Embrace


This is the Daddy of them all. Ignoring Twitter is no longer an option. And yet

joining Twitter

is also one of the biggest risks you take with your personal brand due to it’s openness and relentless energy. What I would say is, start cautiously, think twice before posting and be exceptionally generous. By that I mean, share other people’s content, reply with politeness, engage with integrity and leave them wanting more of you. Do this and you will take to it like a duck to water. Yes, you can have an ‘enthusiastic discussion’ if you feel strongly about an issue, but don’t fall into the trap of bullying your point of view into first place. Because there is no first place. There’s only you and everyone else who will think you’re a tit.

Used in the right way, Twitter gives your personal brand so much mileage, it’s not even funny. Since I joined, I have had so many doors of opportunity open and made a huge number of friends from all walks of life. Today I can’t imagine a world without it. Which reminds me, once you do sign up, find me there and connect.

© Not known at time of publishing.
© Not known at time of publishing.

Creating a unique and consistent personal brand on lots of digital channels will set you apart from the crowd.

There are lots of other avenues you can use to showcase your brand - YouTube, Instagram and Foursquare for example, but these five should be your top priorities in building a professional, creative and sustainable presence online where people can find you in the best possible light. Let me know of any new ones you come across and don’t forget to connect with me as you check them out.

Please feel free to leave a comment. And if you enjoyed reading this you may like other related posts listed below. To receive future posts don't forget to subscribe via email (just enter your email above), or by RSS, or why not follow me on twitter



Social Media and Social Business: Distant cousins

Over the past few months I have been very lucky to meet some key thought leaders in digital marketing and chat with them over pizza about latest happenings in the world of Social Media and Social Business. There is certainly some astounding stuff happening at the bleeding edge of innovation, but for one reason or another, I haven't written about it up to now. Hopefully this will go some way to putting that right before I stop being invited for that inspirational banter. Or pizza. Which wouldn't be very social at all.

The first question I guess is What is social media? 

We need a starting point, so let's begin with a loose definition of what social media communication looks like for most people, although this is changing faster than I can type.

Many colleagues and friends I talk to are very confused with all the brands they hear about. 'There is so much Facebook this and Twitter that', they tell me as they shrug their shoulders and in the end they give up before they've even tried to understand. 'Tis better not to engage, than to look foolish, seems to be the logic.

To be fair, I can't blame them, so perhaps this image might help to illustrate the various channels that most people are communicating through currently. And apologies for the uncouth spelling. Ugh. No really, 'ugh' is missing from every doughnut...

Now that's not an exhaustive list. My daughter for example, uses Snapchat and Kik as her social networks of choice. (No, I don't either.) Nor does it include Blogger, Wordpress or Tumblr (recently bought for $1.1B by Yahoo) which are kinda like personalised websites people like me use to write blogs (derived from the word 'weblogs'). This post you are reading is hosted on the Google-owned blogging platform Blogger.

What then, do we mean by Social Business?

This is a little more difficult to explain, but essentially it is similar to what a person would do in the above scenarios, but in the context of a business or brand talking to it's customers, stakeholders (think suppliers or employees for example) and each other. 

Please remember this is not a full answer to the question posed, just a starting point to get the conversation moving. First however, let's take a look at another graphic that I picked up from Sarah Duncan's blog promoting her fab little consultancy called Sleeping Lion. (Lions. I know, right?) It certainly correlates nicely with the previous image and helps to give some direction on how you might use social media in your business. 

I'm sure the Swindon factoid is tongue in cheek, but you get the idea...

In the next few posts I am going to try and explain more fully what I mean by 'Social Business', why this is such a perplexing challenge and most importantly, why this is so crucial to your business today.