In the modern age of social and professional media, personal branding is an essential part of your business strategy. Let’s take a look at some top tips for successful online personal branding to help you create the right impression.

1. Decide who you want to be

The first rule of personal branding is to develop a vision of how you want to be perceived. Who are you? What is the message you are trying to send out? All the elements associated with you and your business need to reflect this personal and professional image. The look and feel of your personal brand will depend completely upon the industry you’re working in. If you have a small, friendly business, you’ll want to develop a welcoming, homely image; conversely, if you’re working in a competitive corporate environment you’ll need to create slick profile which reflects your professional values.

2. Pick the right tools

Once you’ve decided what kind of image you want to create, you need to think about ways to build this look. If you’re working in the creative industry or in the IT sector, you’ll want your personal brand to reflect your skills. Online branding can be a great asset for graphic designers or website builders, giving professionals a chance to add their own, personal touches to their publicity. In certain sectors, your personal brand can be as important as your CV, so use your online presence as a chance to show off to potential employers or collaborators; even if you’re not currently looking for work, you never know what kinds of opportunities might present themselves if you prove yourself to be outstanding in your field. Whether you design your own website or employ a professional to create your online base, you’ll need to make sure that you use eye-catching graphics and a user-friendly interface to make you and your brand accessible to potential clients.

3. Polish your prose

Your words can make a huge impact on your audience. Freelancers working in sectors such as translation and copywriting will be aware of the need to showcase their language on their personal website, as well demonstrating an impressive linguistic aptitude on networking sites. Those freelancers specialising in working with corporate clients might want to keep their prose pithy and to the point, whereas a children’s author could use a website or blog to demonstrate their imaginative way with words.

4. Find out who else is out there

If you’re looking to buy a new phone or car, it’s inevitable that you’ll shop around to make sure that you’re getting the most from your money; your clients and customers will do exactly the same when checking out your products and services. If your personal brand doesn’t match up to the competition then you may find yourself missing out on the best contracts. When establishing your personal brand, it’s essential that your image is more attractive than that of your competitors. As well as creating an impressive look, you also need to ensure that you can deliver more than anyone else in your field. Of course, an eye-catching page and well-written prose is just the start; ultimately, your personal brand should show that you’re the kind of person that people will want to work with. To do this, you need to demonstrate that you’re a friendly person, without compromising on professionalism. A good personal photograph and laid-back but accurate written copy can help you to strike the right balance.

5. Use social media

As in the physical world, on the internet the boundaries between social and professional life are becoming increasingly blurred. Using social media to promote your image is almost the online equivalent of a networking drinks party. However, it’s not enough these days simply to join one social networking site; you need to get yourself on a range of platforms; using multiple sites and applications will help you to develop your profile and attract attention to your personal brand. More recently, different social media sites have started working together so you can integrate your online activities, and ensure that you get noticed in a range of circles.

6. Beware of your online activity

If you’re using social media to develop your image, you need to be aware that your every move may under scrutiny from millions of people, all across the world. Using online tools to comment on blogs and newspaper sites can be a great way to get your presence known on the internet; however, airing your views in public can work to a negative as well as a positive effect, so beware of being too extreme in your online activity. Ensure that all comments fit in with your brand identity and double check your posts for spelling, punctuation or grammar mistakes, especially if your business involves writing or language skills.

7. Stay up-to-date

Many people put a lot of effort into establishing their online brand but fail to update their websites and social media pages. Having an out-of-date page can be detrimental to your online image, and is likely to mean you lose business to your competitors. New people are going into business all the time, establishing online profiles designed to trump the opposition; if you want to get ahead and keep the lead in a competitive market, you need to devote regular time and attention to keeping your online brand as fresh as possible. Regular blog posts and status updates will help to maintain communication with customers and clients, allowing your business to go from strength to strength.