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4 Ways to Help Build Your Personal Brand Online in 2017

4 Ways to Help Build Your Personal Brand Online in 2017 | Social Media TodayThere are many reasons to make 2017 the year you resolve to build or enhance your personal brand online. The biggest reason is that it's a digital world - not only do most people search online when looking for information about products and businesses, it's also how they find information about people.

Do you know what people will find if they search for you?

If you're a recent graduate beginning a job search, a consultant looking to expand your clientele or one of the many people looking to make a career move (as many do this time of year), make sure you think about your presence on the internet. You can give yourself an extra edge and stand out from the crowd by taking control of your digital footprint. And, the easiest way to do that? Register a domain name and secure your space online to show who you are and what you can offer.

It doesn’t have to be complicated - here’s how you can start building your personal brand online in four easy steps:

1. Define Your Brand

The most critical decision in personal branding is figuring out what you want to be known for.

For instance, do you want to showcase certain skills, values, knowledge or experiences? The more you can focus in on your unique talents and point-of-view, the better.

The goal is to stand out from your peers and establish a narrative that is authentic and showcases the very best of what you can offer.

2. Register a Domain Name

Once you know how you want to define your brand, get your own space on the internet and register a domain name that reflects your brand’s direction.

Registering your name is always a safe bet, but a keyword-rich descriptive domain name can better convey your brand (and also be more memorable).

You should select a domain name extension (the part after the dot) that's credible and well recognized, like .com or .net, so that it supports your personal brand. 

3. Choose the Right Communication Channel

Next, consider how you want to communicate your message. Your social media pages are a great way to boost your brand, but a personal website can also provide additional flexibility, control and maximum awareness.

If you choose to stick with social media alone - let’s say your LinkedIn profile - you can redirect the domain name you register to your profile page. That way when someone types in your domain name, they're taken directly to your LinkedIn page.

Increasingly, individuals and small businesses are taking advantage of this web forwarding feature - in fact, redirects from .com and .net domain names to LinkedIn increased 27%, year-over-year, as of the end of Q2 2016. Doing this not only gives you a branded web address to highlight on your resume or marketing materials, it also eliminates the work of creating a website from scratch and can make you look more professional.

However, if you decide to create a website in the future, you can simply redirect your domain name to the new site so  you don't have to update your marketing materials or other collateral.

4. Be Consistent in Your Delivery

To build trust and confidence, consistency is key. Like strong corporate brands, strong personal brands utilize a carefully chosen set of core principles and messages, and focus on them throughout all aspects of the brand’s execution.

Depending on the communication channels you've opted to use, make sure that you brand your channels and communicate with your audience appropriately, e.g. consistent messaging and frequency. For example, if Twitter is your focus, you should try to post at least one Tweet daily; however if email marketing is your focus, daily emails may be annoying to your audience.

Also, consider creating a branded email address that matches your domain name. Branded email can add a sense of professionalism and extend your brand across all of your channels. Plus, people are more likely to view you as credible if you have a branded email address.

If you already have a Gmail account, learn how to forward your new branded email to Gmail so it is a seamless process.

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