Professionals who actively work on their personal brand can curate their digital identity, showcase what matters to them, connect with like-minded professionals, discover new career opportunities, and more. Everyone has a personal brand, regardless of whether it’s intentional. Even the absence of a digital presence, or an abandoned one, will make an impression on people seeking you out for networking, partnership, or career opportunities.
In this Q&A, Julia Weikel of TrueName Domains addresses the key factors professionals need to know when creating their personal brand identity.
Julia Weikel (A): Anyone interested in building their personal brand should check out other professionals in their industry or work at companies they admire or aspire to join. See what kind of content they post, repost and engage with. Observe the mix and which posts are getting a lot of engagement. Note how often they post, their tone, and anything else that stands out.
How would you describe this person to someone else? This is their personal brand.
Curate who you follow, including publications and individuals who discuss and post content you find interesting and have a point of view on. Some people turn on post notifications for certain individuals so they can engage with the content or repost with their own take early on.
Finally, make sure your handle names are consistent and secure a matching branded domain,e.g. [yourname].world or .today, to redirect to content you published or to other social accounts you want to grow a community on. For example, drink.haus secured @drinkhaus for their social profiles. There are a wide variety of domain name options available, so you can choose the one that works best for you.
Q: What should they focus on?
A: Anyone looking to work on and maintain their personal brand should focus on authenticity. Over-thinking and looking at personal branding in the same way as a corporate brand will not work. Personal accounts have on average 10X more followers than corporate brands because people like to follow and engage with real humans. Many popular people on social media share their professional experiences, or if working on a side hustle will “build-in-public” sharing the highs and lows of their journeys.
Remember to not only focus on professional experience — show your human side, and don’t be afraid to engage or post related to other things you care about.
Q: How can it help their career?
A: Showing that you actively engage with brands and individuals relevant to your profession and interests can up your value to prospective employers. According to Flying V Group, 82% of customers trust a company when their senior management are active on social media, regardless of their content being overtly brand-promotional or not. In recent years, this has been shown in action as “hot” startups hire all-star teams comprised of team members who have healthy followings on social media for reasons ranging from their expertise to their memes. Additionally, Flying V Group reports that 78% of hiring managers find the best candidates through referrals.
Without a digital presence, you’re losing this advantage.
Q: What if they’re bad at networking – what other ways can they build their personal brand?
A: Crafting a digital identity and brand is introvert-safe. Talking about being “bad” at networking could even be embraced and incorporated into a very human, relatable personal brand. It’s most effective if your mix of owned, shared, and engaged-with content feels authentic. Your personal brand should evolve alongside your interests and career path.
About Julia Weikel
Julia Weikel is a branding and marketing domain industry insider with years of education and experience within industries in Australia, China, and the U.S. She shares brand-focused insights and intel about the democratization of internet real estate and opportunities available to entrepreneurs.