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5 Steps to Building Your Personal Brand Online

Some brands are almost universally recognizable. With just a glance at their logo, you know precisely the level of service or the quality of product you are going to get.

BrandsWouldn’t it be great if your own personal brand could communicate the same trust and consistency? While top companies have huge teams (and usually more than a few agencies) devoted to the positioning and reputation of their brands, they all follow the same steps--steps you can easily implement into your personal brand today.

The importance of curating an online brand cannot be overlooked. According to CareerBuilder, 60% of employers research candidates on social media and 49% of recruiters admit to eliminating candidates based on information they found online.

“Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding.

We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”

– Tom Peters, Author, In Search of Excellence

The good news is that with the growth of digital and social media, there are more tools and platforms than ever to help you grow your presence online and make the process simple and easy to manage.

Ready to get started? Here are five steps help you begin:

Craft a personal mission statement

This is the first and most important step. Before you start developing an online presence, determine how you want to be seen. Craft a personal mission statement and take some time to think about how you’re going to bring it to life. This will be the foundation of all your hard work, so make sure it’s authentic.

Google yourself

After you have a sense how you’d like to be seen going forward, go ahead and audit the content that’s already out there. Google yourself and see what comes up in the search results. Use Google Alerts to make sure you get an email anytime something is published mentioning your name.

Choose your channels

Make sure you’re investing time in the channels that matter to your audience. Do your due diligence and research who it is you want to speak to and where they’re engaging with content. Most social media sites will give you general statistics on platform demographics, such as age and location. Find the platforms that fit your audience target and craft your content to resonate with them.

Be consistent

One of the most important aspects of a brand is consistency. When someone travels between your different pages, they should be able to recognize your branding. This starts with your image and extends to your tone. Use the same professional (or professional-looking) headshot across all your platforms and stick to the same color or color family for cover images and text color.

Grow and adapt

Give it time. Growing a brand doesn’t happen overnight. Be sure you’re staying current on social media technology and trends so that you’re able to deliver the content your followers are looking for. Audience not engaged? Try tweaking the accompanying blurb. Not getting clicks to your articles? Try doing a live video update. Participate and engage regularly and see what approach works best.

Socrates once said “The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear." Using these steps, you can build a personal brand that will uphold a reputation that you are proud of.

Interested in learning more developing your social media presence? The AICPA has user guides available to help you get started.

Liz Rock, Associate Manager--Enterprise Social Media, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

Chrissy Jones, MBA, Manager--Communications and Member Engagement, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.

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