By Anna McDermott

Recently, Instagram users were in a panic as, overnight, many social media influencers lost thousands, if not millions of followers due to a bug in the system. In an age where influence marketing is a big deal, losing your fans is a nightmare. Personal brands are an important currency today. Now while you may not be Kylie Jenner, who gets paid to promote things on Instagram because of her perceived influence over millions, you do have a personal brand of your own. Your personal brand is like those of big organizations – such as Apple, Gucci, your favorite sports team – and it is just as important for your career. Here are some tips on building and managing your personal brand.

Tips to Build Your Personal Brand
  1. A good place to start is by asking yourself questions: “What is my personal brand? What are my strengths and skills?” Think about what makes any brand strong and successful and see if you can apply it to yourself. Are you a hard worker? Detail oriented? Creative?
  2. Next see what is already established as your brand by Googling yourself. Find what images, articles or videos of you are out there as they tell the story of your brand. If you don’t like what is online, you can edit privacy settings on social media and generate new content for the internet’s eternal memory.
  3. There are many ways to generate publicity coverage about yourself in the news media. You can appear on a radio show as an expert or send a press release when you win an award or get a promotion. You can create a blog or vlog and generate your own content where you are in complete control of your brand. It’s important to have your name come up on more than just one or two websites when people do a Google search.
  4. If you have a common name, like Joe Smith or Susan Jones, be sure that people can find you rather than someone else with your name (especially if the other people with your name don’t have such a good reputation.) Again, the way to do this is to make sure that you appear on as many different sites as possible.
  5. Review your social media accounts to ensure they best reflect you as a professional. You want anything public to be an accurate representation of how you want to be seen. Maybe a headshot with a glass of wine in your hand isn’t the most appealing photo for a prospective employer or client to find.
  6. Use LinkedIn like a pro. Make sure your profile summary is full of great SEO and well-written copy. This section is visible to everyone, not only your connections. This copy is a great place to let your personal brand shine! As you write it, think about what you would say to someone you’d just met to get them to think highly of you and what you do.
  7. Stop. Think. Post. Before you post anything online – from a tweet to an article – stop and think about how it reflects your brand. Always remember that you are your very own personal brand ambassador.

Managing your personal brand is ultimately about self-pride. While you don’t want to come across as vain or self-aggrandizing, you do want people to believe you can add value to their lives.