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5 Reasons Personal Branding is Non-Negotiable for 2018

Make no mistake, personal branding is incredibly important in 2018. In fact, in order to become a leader in your industry, you must establish your presence online.

5 Reasons Personal Branding is Non-Negotiable for 2018

It seems like everybody's all of a sudden wanting to become LinkedIn famous. Is anyone else tired of people trying to hack the system in order to get ahead?

Real personal branding is more than gaming the algorithm.

Make no mistake, personal branding is incredibly important in 2018. In fact, in order to become a leader in your industry, you must establish your presence online. It's an essential element of any digital footprint.

And research confirms it:

According to Kredible, 52% a professional vendors lost customers because of what they did (or did not) find online about the company.

It's alarming, really. Startup founders and entrepreneurs can't afford leads to come across the wrong information. And finding no information at all? That just might be worse.

But it's not just entrepreneurs and startups who need a personal brand.

Job seekers should also know what information is published about them online. Did you know 95% of recruiters believe a polished digital brand will differentiate you as an applicant? That's an important statistic for 2018.

That means when your writing those broems on LinkedIn, make sure it aligns with your goals.

If the introduction hasn't convinced you already, you'll learn of 5 more reasons why developing a personal brand is an essential element of any business strategy this year.

1. Your Image Matters

They used to say that you needed to put your best foot forward. In today's world, that phrase would state that you needed to put your best face forward.

If you look in the HR World, you'll find a number of applications promoting and anonymity. They want to remove things like names and photos from the hiring process in an effort to lower bias. But despite their best efforts, image still matters.

“Experts estimate it takes less than one-tenth of a second for someone to make an impression of you from your photo. They don’t bother reading your profile or digging deeper if their initial impression is negative.”

-- Claire Bahn, CEO of Online Profile Pros

We've heard the importance of professional profile photos, especially on networking sites like LinkedIn. However, it goes beyond just what someone sees on your digital resume.

Every aspect of your digital identity needs to reflect professionalism.

2. You Control the Narrative

So much is beyond our control these days, especially in the online world. It could be embarrassing photos a friend posted, or something you said got taken out of context.

It's even ended some careers.

You may not think that employers care about your Facebook rant. You may not believe it matters what business partners think of your Instagram photos. You may feel like your personal presence online shouldn't be judged as your professional presence.

But it doesn't matter what you think now does it?

It matters what employers think.

With so much outside of our control, it would do us well to take great care of the few elements within our control. Flood the Internet with as much content as you can create. Drown out any negative voices, embarrassing photos, or anything else you don't want your boss to see.

When you develop an intentional online brand, it has a way of drowning the other things out.

That's what makes personal branding so important. Because it gives you control over what people see. Sure, they can still dig into the depths of your online identity. But they're less likely to do that if the initial results show someone who is professional and hirable.

As a bonus, publishing professional content establishes you as an expert. And when it comes down to you or another person in an interview, chances are they're going to choose the expert.

3. Social Media is Important

As Bahn puts it:

“People used to have one or two online profiles, but these days the average is closer to nine, if you include dating profiles.There’s just a lot more for people to research about you these days.”

Before you worry about anything else, it's important to polish your social profiles. They're becoming more and more important in this digital world. Just look at the recent acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft. When a company like that recognizes the importance, pay attention.

In the new year, commit to updating a few social profiles regularly. Mix in personal and professional content. Don't be afraid to show pictures of your personal life. Just make sure they aren't questionable.

Seeing active social profiles is an encouragement to most employers.

It's even more valuable if they see that you're contributing to the industry as a whole. It shows that you're committed to your job and your career. Employers like that.

4. Invest in Yourself

Social content platforms like Instagram and YouTube has given rise to influencer marketing.

This is when brands use popular accounts to promote their offering. As a result, we're seeing a overflow of “influencers” trying to capitalize on the trend. They quietly sell advertising spots, then create a covert ad in the form of an “organic” shoutout or review.

Consumers are starting to catch on to this game -- and their tolerance is waning.

It's a smarter strategy for brands to invest in their own profiles instead of influencers profiles. Then they can build up an audience of their own, and monetize it themselves through customer acquisition tactics.

5. Don’t Fall Behind

You won't build a trustworthy personal brand overnight. It takes consistent contribution.

Sure, you could update your privacy settings, write something new for your LinkedIn profile, and delete all your risque Instagram photos from your feed. While those are good steps, it's not what makes a profitable personal brand.

That takes investing in the community. It requires you to update your status, comment on the statuses of others, and add value to everyone with whom you connect.

It takes time.

And because it takes time, you shouldn't put it off.

Go ahead and get started, even if it's something small -- even if it's just updating your profile a few times a week. Do something. Do anything. It matters, and you don't want to be any further behind than you already are.


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