Last year, when March rolled around, companies started moving their workforces home. And some of them will continue to work from home, at least part of the time. A recent Gartner survey of company leaders found that 80% will allow employees to work remotely at least part of the time after the pandemic, and 47% will allow employees to WFH full-time. That means your flesh-and-bones brand has been replaced with the bits-and-bytes version of you. And it means you need to be more deliberate, skilled, and steadfast in managing your digital personal brand to ensure it remains authentic and compelling. The good news is that there are many tools and resources that can help you deliver a powerful first impression, connect with those who matter, keep you informed about what’s being said about you online and demonstrate your relevance and brilliance in the new digital workplace.
1. Video Tools
I have spent the past year acquiring vast amounts of video equipment—but that’s because I’m a public speaker, so video is core to my job, not just a part of it. For you, video is likely one part of your job—a big part if all of your meetings turned into Zoom meetings. Did you add up how many hours you spent over the past year on Zoom? It’s not something to be upset about. A PwC survey of 669 CEOs found that 78% believe remote collaboration is here to stay for the long-term. If you’re going to spend more time away from those you work with, you might as well make those interactions as rich and robust as possible. That means acquiring a small number of video tools to project your brand. These three investments are the most important ones: A light that ensures your face is properly lit, a portable green screen so you can project an on-brand background and not have to worry about the wobbly halo effect, and a great mic. Your laptop or mobile phone camera delivers the level of quality you need, but with those three accessories, you’re truly ready for your close-up.
2. Brand Awareness Tools
Now that your brand has moved online, you need to keep on top of what you’re saying and what’s being said about you on the web. Get Notified is a LinkedIn feature that lets you know when you’re mentioned in the news. Google Alerts notifies you via email every time your name appears in content on the web. BrandMentions helps you see the content you posted online, and it gives you insights into where that content has been shared and other places it appears. This helpful tool also enables you to monitor those all-important hashtags that you follow so you can keep up with the latest musings on topics that are important to your brand. With these tools, you don’t have to actively track what’s happening. You can sit back and get notified.
Rebrandly is a tool that will add efficiency and branding to your communications. It’s a link management platform that allows you to shorten and brand the links you share. It also allows you to track them. Since you’ll be interacting more and more with your networking contacts through social media, leveraging your links is a smart move.
MORE FOR YOU
It’s also important to be visible and valuable on all the sites where your brand community lives. Namecheck.com helps you identify the social media platform names that are available to you. It’s a good habit to reserve your name on all relevant social media platforms even if you aren’t ready to participate. It’s like securing undeveloped real estate that increases in value while you’re getting ready to build the house.
This rich-media social media platform is replete with some powerful benefits for those who seek to build their authentic brands. First, the medium of video allows you to deliver a complete communication, which is much more compelling to those who want to learn about you. Second, video content is more likely to show up on page one of a Google search than similar text-based content. That’s thanks to universal search, which creates a multi-media summary of the topic being searched, displayed on page 1 of search results. YouTube also boasts second place (behind Google, of course) in popularity as a search engine, with more searches being executed there than in Yahoo and Bing combined. For all these reasons, YouTube is a great place to make your brilliant content visible so you can expand your brand.
4. Your LinkedIn About
The most important tool for managing your online brand is LinkedIn. That’s because when someone is checking you out in a professional capacity, they’ll visit your LinkedIn profile. And even if they begin their search at Google, they’ll be directed to your LinkedIn profile because it will show up in the top spot – or at least in one of the top three spots. Your LinkedIn About will serve as your first impression and will be the most read version of your bio. So devote the time to make it a virtual replica of the real you. And don’t make it all business. Be sure it sits at the intersection of likability and credibility so people will want to get to know you.
Your brand has moved online. And that’s good news, if you’re willing to use these tools to showcase your brilliance, stay connected, and manage the brand strategies that are essential to achieving your career goals.