The Brand, Myself, and I

How are you perceived online? If you don’t have an answer to this question, you are going to want to read/skim this! Helpful tips on personal branding with the use of SEO and social media tools along with a closer look on developing your web profile. Written by Juliet Rocco

Personal branding is just as important as deciding which bank to trust your finances with. Yes, I am aware that I just used the words bank and trust in the same sentence, but let’s really look at personal branding more in-depth. Whether you're a student, business professional, teacher, etc.--how you're viewed online can have a big impact on your professional and everyday life. The ideas of having any online privacy are long gone and you probably have googled yourself once or twice just to see what’s up (don’t worry, everyone has done it at least once or twice). However, many people ignore checking anything that could be shot out into the lovely universe of the internet. This is where I come in to help.

One of the first things to do if you haven’t already is set up a Google Profile so that when your name does come up, there is correct information being given to searchers. Note that this is not a Google + profile, it’s simply the most basic information that you should be comfortable sharing with the public. This is especially helpful when you’re in contact with a company for an interview or collaboration and you can bet my college tuition they will most definitely be doing a web search on you! All you need is a Gmail account to get started.

So, this is how my profile looks to everyone: https://profiles.google.com/julietrocco/about. Make sure when creating your page that Profile discovery is set to “Profile visible in search.” This is the most important thing that needs to be kept checked on once your profile is completed. Once you’re done with that, you can google yourself all you want and the profile should be the first hit when searched. Something to keep in mind–this is only assuming the person searching for you is using Google and not Bing, Yahoo!, or any other search engine because they all use slightly different algorithms and top hits will not be the same.

Last week, I went to the Social Media and Communication Symposium (SMACS) at Rochester Institute of Technology.  One of the speakers was discussing klout.com, an up-and-coming social media platform that compiles marketing metrics in all platforms across social networks. If you’re involved in all types of social media, sharing content online, and anything else that involves people responding to you, then this is the next biggest must have! Not familiar with Klout? Here’s a solid definition, compliments a la Wikipedia:

“The scores range from 1 to 100 with higher scores representing a wider and stronger sphere of influence. Klout uses variables on Facebook and Twitter to measure True Reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Score.” 

Of course, branding yourself is obviously not limited to online activity. We must be aware of how we act, dress, speak, and respond to others in everyday walking life because you have to leave your computer eventually whether you like it or not! When it comes to socializing, your own mother has probably used the phrase “just be yourself” way too many times to even count, but you know it’s completely true. Mom is always right.

Takeaway: Think of your personal self branding as if you were a product that people needed to use everyday, like a car. People don’t want you to be enigmatic and full of problems. They want consistency and dependability (also something aesthetically pleasing if you’re blessed with good looks). For some, it may be more difficult to establish a clear cut personal brand strategy. Stay strong, you will find your niche!

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