Personal branding is all the rage.
I wrote a post offering 11 suggestions for getting started with your personal brand development last month, which was well received. Then I wrote a listicle version for the popular site, 12Most.com, which went ballistic on social media, especially LinkedIn.
Next, (with a big assist from my friend Seth Price of Placester) I created an infographic called "The A to Z Guide to Personal Branding." It quickly became the most popular piece I've ever done. 78K views on SlideShare. It's been republished by HubSpot, MarketingProfs and Steamfeed, to name just a few.
Google it and see for yourself.
Speaking of Googling it...
This article is about doing a search of yourself. I suppose that could be your name or your company. Since we're talking about personal branding today, try it with your name first.
I guess I have a good overlap thing going on in that my company has my name in it. The search results won't be the same for "Barry Feldman" as they will be for "Feldman Creative," but there will be some overlap.
I want to tell you that was a smart naming strategy is, but it's mostly smartly lucky. (Or would that be luckily smart?)
See, in 1995, when I launched my company, I wanted to name it BFD Advertising. That is, "Barry Feldman Does Advertising." Wifie gave the idea an enthusiastic thumb down. Feldman Creative was approved.
Anyway, consider a few of these new media realities:
- Your brand is what other people say it is-not what you say it is.
- Like it or not, a Google search result is the easiest, fastest and best way to gauge your public persona.
- It's also the best way because it's what potential employees, partners, customers and even friends are going to do.
- Google is essentially your home page.
- A Google search result is essentially your business card (or even resume)
You with me? If so, I believe you'll understand why I suggest Googling yourself now and then.
I hope to help you understand why-and the process-and the results-and its implications.
Do you like what you find?
When I search myself, it looks like I'm doing some things right online. I'm not saying all is perfect. It's a work in progress. But results I want people to see dominate the first page.
What about you? Happy with the results?
Let me give you a tour of mine (as of today) and deliver some tips to help your with your search. Refer to the numbers in the screen shot here.
(1) Put your name in there. Search. Simple as that. You could do it on Yahoo! and Bing and you may learn something. Obviously, Google is most important.
(2) Push the unprivate button. See that portrait icon? It's on by default and it indicates your search results are private, which really means they're personalized. Yes, Google knows a helluvalot about you and your online behavior.
Click the globe to "hide private results" and get a better take on the search results the other 7-billion people on the planet will see.
(3) The top spot. I found me. Shwew. Regardless of what happens next, I'm at peace with the Google gods. The first listing on the SERP (search engine result page) gets approximately a million times greater CTR (click through rate) than TOR (the other results).
Did you find you?
I'm helping a client develop his personal brand and he has a fairly popular first name. SERPs for his name put another guy at the top spot. Next is another guy by the same name. Then comes a film strip of photos of dudes I don't know. In third place is my client's LinkedIn profile.
We have work to do. If you're not #1 when you search yourself, you do too.
Also, in that first spot, you see my photo. That's huge, but not because I'm pretty. It's because research reveals it magnifies your clicks by a mile. You need a Google+ account to make that happen. Then you need to do the rel=author protocol (I know, catchy name.) Like it or not, you need a Google+ account and you need to do the "thing." Get on it.
Search yourself. It's an essential task to keep tabs on your personal brand.
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(4) Local results, part one. I'm not a plumber.I don't have a storefront and I don't deliver. So what appears over on the right where Google's "Places for Business" results are served isn't vital.
You see I chose to use a colorful version of my logo. Looks good, right? It's the most colorful thing on the page, so it attracts attention.
(5) Google+ page. Yup, Google plays favorites with Google properties. You won't find your Facebook page as a subsection of your main listing.
Again, get a Google+ account and learn how to take advantage of it. IMO, it's the most powerful social media of them all (and it's a lot more than a social medium), but in keeping with Google everything, there's nothing simple about it. Budget some time to get the hang of Google+.
(6) Sitelinks. Sitelinks are beautiful bonuses. Here you see two very important pages on my site:blog and free pointers.This definitely helps the reader find what he or she seeks and helps my company put its best content marketing feet forward.
However, you have little control over this. Use this link if you want to fully understand. What you'll learn is:
- Sitelinks are automated.
- There are a few practices you can apply to help your cause.
- There's a process for demoting these links, but not promoting them.
(7) Local results, part two. There are some benefits to doing the "Places" thing, but the important one is the prominence of the listing. It gets its own column and box. If "directions," and "reviews" are important to you, you see they're offered here. "Follow" is a shortcut to Google+. If you want your phone number to be public, there it is.
(8) More results. Hmm. I don't know enough to tell you exactly what to expect to find at this link. For me, a number of links were served from my website and blog, which is obviously a good thing. The results appeared a bit arbitrary, but I suspect they are (recently) popular pages, which is obviously something Google would know.
In any case, it's good to click there and find an entire page of links to your content. That said, I doubt the link gets many clicks.
(9) Barry Feldman on Twitter. I'm very active on Twitter. I'm glad Google knows it. No Twitter lesson will be offered here. However, if you want search and social to collide in your favor, get active on social. I love Twitter. Most marketers feel the same.
(10) Feldman Creative | Social Media Today. I'm a hardcore guest blogger. You may know that. Though I have contributed to 20+ websites in an effort to build an audience, Social Media Today has been a mainstay.
I contribute posts, infographics, podcasts and eBooks there. I've done webinars with them. My blog is syndicated there and as of last year, I'm also a columnist. Google recognizes my affiliation with Social Media Today and places it prominently on page one. If you aim to enlarge your digital footprint-and do so via guest blogging-put in the effort and you may enjoy this type of search love.
(11) LinkedIn. I'm doing a LinkedIn dance right now. Love 'em. I'm not a LinkedIn expert, but take LinkedIn extremely seriously. Notice how after the URL, the listing includes information from my LinkedIn profile page including the long list of things I used to create a title, and then, a snippet from the top of my profile.
Take this stuff to heart and return to LinkedIn profile often to do some fine-tuning.At the risk of stating the obvious, you want everything on your LinkedIn profile to be hunky-dory.
(12) Facebook. No serious revelation here. Facebook simply earns its place near the top. I'm more committed to a variety of activities than Facebook and if my page slipped down to make room for one of the many listings on page 2, I'd be quite alright with that. That said, Google aims for relevance and Facebook pages are relevant to more people than any other.
(13) SlideShare. Now we're talking business. I'm so pro-SlideShare I almost wish it appeared second on my SERP. I'm very active on SlideShare, do SlideShare content for many clients, have written about its benefits, and did a Social Media Examiner post about how to generate leads on the site. It's a major weapon in my marketing arsenal because of its enormous audience and the content does remarkable in search (as evidenced by the first page listing).
So there you go. Consider what I've shared with you here and go search yourself.