What’s the biggest mistake people make with their digital brand? Not having one. Here’s why a digital brand matters.
When I was in the corporate world, I didn’t think about my LinkedIn profile much. After all, I wasn’t looking for a job, so having a profile that had my current title and most of the details from my resume seemed like all I needed to do.
Of course, this isn’t what makes a good LinkedIn profile (see Keys to a Great LinkedIn Profile (Part 1) for details on that), but I do want to tell a short story about why your digital preference matters.
There is a guy I went to Harvard Business School with named Tom (not his real name). I don’t know Tom real well, but in one way or another we became Facebook friends.
Over the last couple years I noticed that Tom would share really interesting articles on Facebook. Usually they were about happiness or life satisfaction or leadership or something along those lines. I actually looked forward to it when Tom posted one of these articles, which was every week or so.
Then one day I was thinking about who in my network really knew about life satisfaction and happiness. And I thought about Tom…
and this pissed me off…
It upset me because if anyone in my business school class was an expert on life satisfaction, careers and happiness it is me. In fact, I did an independent study on it with one of my professors, met some of the leading researchers in the field and even spoke to a group of 100 extremely senior executives at Harvard about it.
But who knew I had this expertise? I knew it… a few of my classmates probably knew it, and that was it.
Yes, Tom had successfully created a digital brand around the subject areas where I had expertise. In other words, the world sees Tom as the expert rather than me. He had systematically shaped the way others perceive him through the content he chooses to share.
I bring this up because we all have the ability to influence our digital brand.
How to shape your digital brand
If you are looking to influence your digital brand, the first thing you need to think about is what you want to be known for. Once you have that clear, you need to be sure that you share information that reinforces that brand.
For example, on LinkedIn you should have a profile that talks about your positioning (e.g. as a project management expert), and you should regularly share articles around that expertise. If you use Facebook to connect with colleagues, you should do the same there.
In fact, there are simple strategies that allow you to do this with a minimal amount of work, but the key point is to position yourself clearly and consistently reinforce that image. Remember, my view of Tom wasn’t shaped overnight, but rather over many months.
So, take the time to think about how you really want to present yourself online and then spend a bit of time reinforcing that image regularly. The result will be a network that has a clear image of what you do, and makes you far more likely to be recruited to new positions.