Brands aren’t just things that companies pay a ton of money for. These days, we’re all out there doing our thing in the public realm of the online world. And “that thing”? Is your personal brand. Whether you’re a CEO, a freelancer, a solopreneur, or someone who works under the umbrella of a bigger company like a real estate agent, it pays to optimize your online personal brand. Here’s why.

1. It positions you as a leader.

Been on LinkedIn lately? Sure, it’s not as cool as some of the other platforms. But it’s great for B2B visibility and for positioning yourself as a thought leader. Keep your info updated, and post regularly. Even a short post of 250 words once a week is great. Every time you publish an article on LinkedIn, all of your followers are notified and you’re cementing yourself as an industry leader. (Protip: the content doesn’t have to be original. Repurpose it from elsewhere.)

2. It generates opportunities.

A strong personal brand is a chance to connect with people—and opportunities. Use your online presence to partner with people, widen your circle, bring more people in, and float great ideas.  

3. It can land you a job.

Whether you’re thinking about getting back into the 9-5 or you’re hustling for clients, keeping your online presence up to date is a great way to catch the eye of prospective employers. Highlight your expertise, share your ideas, and deliver value. People will sit up and take notice.

4. You never know who’s looking.

The internet is a wide-open place. People might be browsing your profiles looking for someone to join their committee, their board, or some other campaign. Don’t limit yourself when it comes to your personal brand. 

5. …you might be giving the wrong impression.

The corollary to the above is that if people are looking, make sure you’re giving off the right vibes. Don’t post anything that might make your grandma cringe, or at least post it under an alt account. You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity because of that blurry shot of you shooting tequila at the work holiday party.

6. It’s good for your brand.

If you’re a CEO or COO and have a bunch of employees under you, encourage every employee to create a polished, professional online presence that reflects well on you and your organization. Definitely have a social media policy, but give them some breathing room online. Let them be people. It’s good for your brand, and for current and prospective staff! (Appian is doing a great job of this.) 

7. Your brand goes with you.

Your brand lays a foundation for who you are in your space. Even if you move jobs or change careers, you’ll have a piece of the internet carved out—and a following that will go with you. In addition to your social profiles, try to buy your own domain name as well.

Whether you have a full-time job and a hustle on the side, you’re starting your own thing, or you’re the boss of great staff members, a strong personal brand helps you shine. Put yourself out there, finesse your messaging to reflect your strengths, and position yourself to deliver value to your audience. You’ll rack up the fans – and will provide a strong foundation for the next step in your professional life. 

Need some tips on building a personal brand that inspires engagement? Drop me a line!