Tips for building a reputable online presence

Thinking of rebranding?
Bernard Kelvin Clive, Brand Strategist at BKC Consulting, making a point at the maiden Brand-CON Africa in Accra

Let’s look at three most important factors to consider while developing a great online presence:

  1. Branding

Branding is the first step towards building your online personal brand. You will be perceived based on how you present yourself, so make your brand worth every glance. Make use of both visual and verbal content. Your content is your digital currency, and the value you provide determines how much it appreciates and depreciates over time.

You need to decide what type of content you want to create around your niche. Do you want to focus on creating videos? Or maybe you are more interested in writing articles? Once you know what kind of content you want to produce, then you can start thinking about how you can make this content better than anyone else out there.

  1. Social Media

Social media is another great way to connect with people who share your same interests. This is a great place to get started if you are looking to build your own online personal brand. If you have never created any social media profiles before, then you might want to consider starting with Facebook. You should always use the platform that makes you feel comfortable and happy. Don’t stress too much about trying to figure everything out right now. Just start somewhere! Don’t create an account only to leave it idle; instead, be consistent with your content and provide value to your audience. That’s how you get your message out while also keeping your brand at the forefront of people’s minds.

  1. Email Marketing

Most essential, use your content to develop a list and then grow your business from there. Your email is your powerful connector for establishing rapport with your audience and even selling your services. Email marketing is something that you can do from anywhere at any time. All you need is a computer and an internet connection. So, don’t wait to sign up for an email list. Start sending out emails today to help you build your own online personal branding.

Branding Mistakes to Avoid Online

  • Not understanding your own goals

Why you do what you do? Most importantly, you must understand your own goals before you create a personal brand. You should know what you want to achieve and how you want to be perceived by others. Your audience will vary depending on the job position or industry that you’re in, but some commonalities will ring true across audiences. In most cases, personal branding will allow someone to showcase their specialties and strengths to demonstrate why they’re qualified for a particular job or opportunity.

If your goal is to highlight your leadership abilities, for example, consider including content like a portfolio of leadership anecdotes from past jobs, testimonials from former colleagues (or current ones), and references from previous interviews. These additions can elevate your personality as well as promote trust with potential employers.

  • Not differentiating yourself

A personal brand that doesn’t do this is like a car with no wheels: it’s not going anywhere. The goal of your brand is to stand out from the crowd and attract attention, so be sure to make yourself unique from everyone else in your industry. Focus on what you are doing that makes you different, and then make sure you include that information in all of your social media profiles and other online presences. The more original value you offer, the more people will recognize it and return to you for future opportunities.

  • Over-promoting on social media

On a platform like Facebook, you may be able to get away with more aggressive promotions because of your familiarity with friends and family. However, if you’re posting affiliate links or talking about products in the context of your online presence, try to keep things in perspective. Remember that social media is supposed to be social! You want people to engage with what you’re saying, not necessarily purchase from you.

Over-promoting on social media will turn people off from engaging with you at all. Instead, focus on creating good content that provides value for others and starts conversations rather than just sharing links or trying to sell something as soon as someone comments. If it’s not obvious already, the goal of this kind of advertising is lead generation (of leads who will buy).

Re-evaluate your strategy if it does not seem to be working after a few months. Do the majority of your posts prompt engagement and conversation between fans? Or are most people just scrolling past without interacting? Can you take any actions to change the outcome?

  • Neglecting to update your profiles

In the fast-moving world of social media, it’s important to stay up to date on the latest trends and happenings. But before you get caught up tweeting about your lunch or posting pictures of your kids on Facebook, make sure you’re keeping up with your professional presence. Your online presence is a reflection of you, so make sure it’s accurate and up-to-date. Make sure that you’re using the same name across all platforms (no nicknames or shortened versions) and displaying consistency in your language and tone. Your profile should be an accurate reflection of who you are as a person—and what better way to show off your skills than by staying on top of things?

  • Using the wrong images for your profile pictures

When creating your brand, it is important to remember that your image is an integral factor of that brand. The image you choose for your profile picture can either make or break your personal brand. It is important that the image you choose fits those criteria:

  • Relevant to Your Personal Brand
  • Appropriate
  • High Quality
  • Clear and Visible

For the image you choose for your profile picture to be effective in enhancing your personal brand, it must be relevant. For example, if you are a pet-sitter, then having a picture of yourself with one of the animals you care for would be an appropriate choice as it shows potential clients what kind of services they can expect from you and makes them feel comfortable knowing that their animal will be in good hands…

  • Neglecting to embrace opportunities for personal branding

You should be strategic about finding opportunities to incorporate your personal brand into your professional life. Remember, your personal brand should always align with your professional brand. For instance, if you’re a financial planner and want to present yourself as trustworthy and dependable, don’t post pictures of yourself on social media that show you doing questionable things like drinking excessively or spending time at the casino. Your actions outside of work can quickly tarnish the image you’ve worked so hard to create for yourself at work!

However, there are some ways that you can use your personal brand to promote a positive image for yourself at work. For example, if you’re passionate about a charity or volunteering in the community, consider promoting these activities on your social media channels—especially during “Giving Tuesday” or other days when people are encouraged to give back. This is another way that you can make sure that others understand what’s important to you and what motivates you!

Don’t let opportunities like this pass you by—take advantage of them when they arise!

  • Clarity

Think carefully about what message you want to send with your personal brand before you start promoting.

Before you even start to create and promote a personal brand, make sure you know what it is that you’re trying to achieve. If your goal is to get hired, don’t spend time focusing on things that won’t help with that goal.

Similarly, before you launch into promotion mode, consider how people will perceive the message you’re trying to send. Don’t forget that other people will see everything you post as representing yourself, so be careful not to come off as conceited or arrogant in any way. If there are things about yourself or your work that might be interpreted negatively, ask for a second opinion from someone who can give honest feedback on whether it would look good or not.

Have a good reason for everything that you do when creating and promoting the brand—and if it feels like something doesn’t fit with what your brand should be about, then don’t do it. It can also be very helpful to ask for advice from others who have strong personal brands themselves—they may have some tips on what has worked well for them and what hasn’t.

Above all stay trustworthy!

Bernard Kelvin Clive is an Author, Speaker. Lecturer and Corporate Trainer. Africa’s foremost authority on Personal Branding and Digital Book Publishing. An Amazon bestselling author of over 50 published books.

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