Friday, 25 March 2016

Your Online Personal Brand

I thought it very important to share this piece of wisdom By Mirim Chege of the Kenya Institute of Management. 
With the world living online, it is amazing the kind of connections and information that is shared every second. From people posting what is going on in their minds, to sharing photos, updating profiles, commenting on posts, tweeting, sharing blogs and articles, the platforms for engagements are phenomenally mind-boggling. We can now share content and news and even give feedback on real time basis. 

Unlike in the old when first impression was made within a physical encounter, today people are googling you as soon as they see your name in a workshop schedule or in a news item. By the time you are standing before an audience or appearing in an interview, people have already formed perceptions of who you are. By a click of a button, your potential employer can pick bits of digital information ranging from your bio, articles, posts on Facebook, comments on twitter and blogs and make a judgement on whether to employ you or not. The same info might be the reason a potential business partner keeps away or gets interested. 
This means that we cannot just interact online without strategically and deliberating thinking of the effects of our social media activity on our personal brands. With social media, we have a huge opportunity to exploit our business and career potential. Your collective social media presence can give you an advantage which you should not only manage but shape continually to give you a competitive edge. The question then is - how can we strategically leverage our social media positively to build our personal brands? A personal social media strategy starts with you thinking of your goals both personal and professional. What do you want to achieve on both ends and how do you consistently address both in the most authentic manner. You don’t want your social friends to post comments or images that can compromise your professional image and neither do you want to remain stiff and aloof to your family and friends online.
Protect Your Personal Brand Online
There is need to protect your personal brand online. Without proper consideration of the kind of people you want to befriend and information that you seek to receive and share, your personal brand can be vulnerable. Ensuring that you have your settings in control is a good place to start. Previewing friends is also a good idea. Ensuring a professional profile online can be an advantage. A current bio and a professional picture gives you a good CV. Ensuring that your username is unique is highly advised. 
Distinguishing yourself from other online users with similar names can be the differentiator that you require to ensure your brand is not compromised. It might be helpful to google yourself and see the kind of information or comments around your brand. Minding your language, ethics and ensuring a professional decorum is a must. It is worth noting that compromising real life situations can filter into your social media space, go viral and become a scandal that not only hurts your personal but also professional brand. The rule here would be to avoid compromising situations and pictures which can be used against your brand at some point even long after. Some of those posts might be a permanent record for the consumption of generations to come. 
In a highly online world we have many platforms such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn to build a personal brand. As organisations spend time and resources to manage their institutional brands online, professionals cannot afford to be casual and inconsistent on the same.

Happy and blessed Easter to you. 

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