Everyone has a personal brand. Some are created intentionally. Some are not.
A personal brand is like a reputation on steroids. Your reputation is the collection of your work, history, knowledge, leadership and teamwork abilities. This is passed along mostly by word of mouth. Your personal brand includes all of the above, plus your online presence. Unlike reputation, your personal brand leaves trail. Every trail is different.Some include forgotten Facebook party photos, Pinterest boards dedicated to the Backstreet Boys, or a Twitter feed of complaints. Maybe it didn’t matter then, but it matters now.
Cleaning up your online presence is the important first step in the creation of your personal brand. Keep the Facebook photos, but mark them as private on your timeline. Delete comments that are overly revealing. Consider making some private Pinterest boards.
Increasing your online presence is another step to consider. There are plenty of ways to do this, ranging from starting and maintaining a blog to joining conversations on social media.
Personal presence is the last component in this equation. Determining your baseline status in the “personal presence” category involves more work. Your interpretation of how you are perceived is only one part of the story. To get a full picture, you need feedback. There are a lot of ways that you could do this. You can ask directly, send an email, or look for a more anonymous way to get the information. Whatever route you choose, ask for strengths and room for improvement. As humans, we tend to focus on our strengths and overlook the areas we need to improve. Feedback from a variety of different sources is the best way to circumvent this tendency.
Once feedback is received, you have a full picture of how you are perceived. Ask yourself if you like the result. If not, are there any actions you can take to change the public perception of you?