This Is Why Your Personal Branding Matters
- January 18, 2020
- Posted by: pbacademy
- Category: Blog
By Kevin Naruse
Who you are on the Internet is not what your friends, your family, and other loved ones say about you.
Who you are is what Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn says you are.
Try this experiment and type in your name into a Google search, and see what you find. Do you like what you see?
If you are this person below that posted this on Facebook, you may not.
How One Facebook Post Destroyed A Person’s Career
You might be thinking: “It’s just one social media faux pas. How bad can it be?”
This post went viral, for all the wrong reasons. In fact, it became a national headline for several days and appeared in numerous news outlets like this one.
The consequence speaks for itself.
Just this one trollish Facebook post went viral, ignited a media firestorm, and forced the said person (in this case, the Communications Director for a public official) to resign from her job in disgrace after mounting public pressure. The apology came a little too late, as the post had already spread like wildfire, and deleting it (as she did) was too late. Catch this screenshot.
3 years later, typing in the same name in a Google search shows this:
You can get the full story in this Forbes article from 2014.
“91% of employers use social media to screen applicants.”
If you were looking to form new professional connections or looking for a job, there couldn’t be a worse situation like this, because like it or not, that’s one of the first things any employer will do when vetting you for an interview. This is what your potential date is going to do before agreeing to go on a date with you. This is what a potential customer or client will do when deciding whether or not to buy your product, read your book, or subscribe to your service. Businesses and organizations will do this before considering a future partnership with you.
Rarely are consequences of one social media post this extreme, but it is a case in point and the take-away is this:
You can’t control what everyone in the world has to say about you online or offline, but you can to a great degree control what people see you when they Google your name, by taking full control of your social media profiles. Post only what you want the world to know, and you can shape how the world sees you. Whether you’re active on social media or not, it can bite you if you don’t take active control of your narrative.
“Nowadays, your online brand is as important—if not more important—than your ‘in-person’ brand. Your online presence means that people viewing you are getting an understanding about you and buying into it (or not) before they have even met you.”
– Jennifer Holloway from “7 tips to developing your personal brand on LinkedIn”
Be Proactive And Take Charge Of Your Own Narrative
Here’s what you can do, and it’s all a matter of building and cultivating the most important brand that exists in this world – YOU.
This is why having a complete profile on LinkedIn in a big advantage. For a number of reasons.
First, if you Google your name and you are active on LinkedIn, usually it’s the search result that appears at the top.
This is because LinkedIn has a lot of domain authority. In my case, it is also due to the fact that I am the most active on this social network of all. My Instagram profile doesn’t really show up and it has a lot to do with the fact that I am hardly ever active on it.
For this reason, a great deal of what shows up on a Google search is the information I place in my LinkedIn profile. That is generally the case with any other social network, as the one you are active on the most is what will show up higher in search results relative to your other accounts.
You too can take control of what people see when they research you online, and in today’s world, you should just about expect to be Googled numerous times without you ever knowing.
Nature abhors a vacuum, and the same could be said about the Internet. If you have an incomplete profile or leave out crucial details, other people and sources will fill it in for you. Or – if you’re lucky, someone will Google your name and not come up with anything. This can be a disadvantage though if you want to be seen as a thought leader or even an accomplished professional with some street creds.
If you need more convincing, consider these stats:
“Recent research by Reppler.com shows that 48% of employers use LinkedIn for recruitment, with 68% of them hiring a candidate because of what they saw on a social networking site”
How does LinkedIn compare with the “king” of social media platforms?
“87% of recruiters use LinkedIn but only 55% use Facebook”
There’s no denying that LinkedIn is saturated with recruiters going after the same candidates. On the other hand, only 55% of recruiters utilize Facebook for sourcing.”
I hope these are reasons enough to convince you. Choose to be proactive and take charge of the narrative about you, because, in the online world, bad first impressions can linger on for a long time, but you have only one chance to leave a great impression.
I find LinkedIn to be a highly useful and strategic platform to do exactly this. I wrote more in-depth about personal branding using LinkedIn on a separate article.