As promised in my last post, here are more tips from the St. Louis PRSA Career Development Day. Digital marketing maven and Director of Marketing at Cantor & Burger Staci Harvatin gave the luncheon keynote on building your personal brand.
To demonstrate why your digital personal brand matters, Harvatin quoted a few statistics from a 2013 Jobvite survey:
- 94 percent of recruiters use or plan to use social media to recruit and vet candidates
- 78 percent of recruiters have made a hire through social media
- 42 percent have reconsidered a job candidate based on their social media activity
That certainly got the audience’s attention—pros and students alike!
She went on to say that an active brand is the best brand. Many recruiters use Twitter to vet candidates for their style, attitude and communication aptitude—soft skills, things that are difficult to determine from a traditional resume. Her tips to building your brand online included:
- Use consistent profile pictures across your various platforms
- Claim vanity URLS on all profiles that you’re able to
- Pay attention to your bio—this is your professional “elevator pitch” to sell yourself, but should also include some insight into who you are as a person
- Create and use vanity email and professional signature blocks
- Cross-promote public profiles so they are tied together
- You can’t be everywhere so pick a couple social networks or other digital outlets and put all of your efforts into making an impact in those areas
- Invest time participating in LinkedIn groups, Google Plus communities, and industry-related Twitter chats
- Connect –follow, friend, and like other professionals
- Share posts (socially) and other content created by companies you are interested in
- When you comment on blog posts or online articles, make sure you use a consistent name and link back to one of your public profiles.
- Participate in the blogosphere by reading and commenting or asking questions on pertinent blog posts
Harvatin suggests Googling yourself often—remembering to turn off “private results” so you are seeing what someone else would see. She even suggests setting up a Google Alert with your name so you can keep track of any mention of you (aka your brand).
Personally, I use the free version of BrandYourself. It tracks my search results and alerts me (via email) whenever the results change. It even offers a “search score” based on how many positive versus negative results are on my first page of Google search results.
Harvatin wrapped up her presentation saying that if you want your personal profiles (like Facebook) to be private, then lock them up! Check and double-check your privacy settings. If you are commenting on something that you don’t want to be associated with publicly/professionally, use a different email address and alias and do not link back to your professional persona.
In addressing why this matters, Harvatin concluded there are two major advantages( and I’ve added a third of my own):
1. You’re leaving breadcrumbs of content with which you want to be associate
2. You are building a REAL network of professional contacts
3. The more professionally active you are online, the more those activities push down less desirable search results
What additional advice would you offer? What strategies do you use to remain visible online?