In a single sentence, that’s what makes up your personal branding online. With so much information available on the internet, and a number of different social media outlets and websites where you could possibly represent yourself in a way that you didn’t necessarily intend, how do you manage your personal brand?

Follow these tips to keep it under control:

Google Your Name and See What Comes Up

Unless you are well known for a specific reason, in most cases, a Google search for your own name will return results that are relatively benign. In fact, you may not see one listed result that is actually related to you. However, if you are active on social media or operate a personal or company blog, your profiles will likely appear.

If you are trying to increase the visibility of your personal online brand, you should be creating profiles, websites and blogs in your name and actively managing them. This is the best way to ensure that when someone searches for your name they find YOU instead of a bogus mention of you or your name that you don’t control.

If you are concerned about negative mentions, Googling yourself is the easiest way to check up on your name to see if anything overly negative appears near the top of Google’s results.

Keep the Confidence of Other People

When someone, personally or professionally, shares something with you that they want you to keep confidential, do that. Whether spread intentionally or unintentionally, gossip grows as fast as wildfire, and you can be sure that whatever you do will come back to you later on down the road. By keeping the confidence of others, you make yourself a source worthy of trust both online and offline… And that’s something everyone respects.

Beyond keeping private information private, do what you say you are going to do. Although there are cases where a negative comment about you will pop up without a “real” reason (think ex-employees or competitors, for example), often times a negative review, rip off report and the like are posted because that person truly feels betrayed, ripped off or lied to. If you want to keep your name clean, then don’t make promises you can’t keep and always hold to your word.

Respond to Every Inquiry/Comment

This is easier said than done if you have a large network across several social media websites. But, the better you can do it, the more people that will trust your personal brand. Today’s marketing environment is all about establishing a personal connection, and responding to comments and inquiries is a great way to build a trusted connection.

Many celebrities and high profile business owners have been called out for using a company or ghost writer to manage their accounts. Even if you don’t have the time to manage everything yourself, you should still attempt to keep up with what’s happening on your social accounts and websites that appear to be managed by you, in your name. That way you are in the loop and can add a personal touch whenever possible which in turn will help keep your personal brand clean and your users will see you as more genuine.

Share Valuable Information for the Audience You Want to Attract

…but don’t be afraid to show a little personality too! If you want to attract employers, share your successes at work and post updates about the latest events and news in your industry. Follow and engage other people in your industry where possible. You’d be surprised how many will follow you back or respond to your message – sometimes even well respected influencers. When you share information in the future, there’s the potential they could share that information again themselves, creating viral opportunities for your name and shared content.

Once you appear to be a knowledgeable expert and your profiles reflect your business interests as well as your personal, you will gain a bigger, more loyal audience.

Always Think with Your Target Market in Mind

Branding is always about your ability to deliver on your promise – especially about who you are and what you have to offer. Think of what you want your target market to experience and how you want people to perceive you whenever they come across you online. Then, fine-tune your social profiles, personal blogs and other personal websites to reflect that.

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