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Taking your Personal Brand Online

Taking your Personal Brand Online

This interview with Rachel Killeen appeared in Briefly, a weekly briefing by Chartered Accountants Ireland, in February 2019.

Personal relationships, referrals and reputation are the key elements that you rely on to bring in new business or when you want to impress an employer. These elements are a critical part of your personal brand. How do you widen that network, extend your profile, and attract a broader audience? You have to take your personal brand online.

Maintaining a strong personal profile online is important in contemporary Ireland. Most people will expect an accountant to have an online presence; not having this in place could drive clients to other service providers who promote in a digital space.

While your profile may appear on work-related websites and media articles, images and videos, these can be difficult to control. It is important to take charge of and build your personal brand online so you can portray the image that you want your clients to see.

Here are five time-efficient ways to take control of your online profile:

1. Research. Try to get a sense of where your clients or employers look, when they want to find out more about you as a person. Is it a website? LinkedIn? Facebook? Instagram? LinkedIn tends to be the go-to for business people. However, people will also take a look at other social media profiles, such as Facebook or Instagram, just to get to know you better. In other words, they probably Google your name and look at the top results that they see.

2. Visualise. Sketch out the image that you would like to put forward about yourself. What skills do you want to be known for? Which industry segments are you best suited to? What level of seniority do you want to portray? We are all more than our immediate work roles and portraying a work/life balance is important too. Illustrate how you engage in sports, for example, or the arts or charity work. Make sure that you visualise the whole person, not just the professional.

3. Present Professionally. Set up your LinkedIn profile to reflect the professional image that you want to convey. Complete your career history, educational history and your professional description as comprehensively as possible to illustrate that vision of yourself. Add a professional photograph to your profile rather than a casual selfie. Use images of you attending, presenting or interacting with people at events and conferences. Pictures of you engaging outside your immediate work role are particularly valuable on LinkedIn, as well as, Instagram and Facebook.

4. Get Endorsements. Self-praise is no praise, so get your clients, colleagues and employers to add endorsements for your skills. There is a section on LinkedIn where people can add their recommendations for and about you. Make sure you add any awards, accolades or commendations that you get to your online profile.

5. Share Expertise. Add professional presentations, expert articles or white papers that you have written to support your professional profile. Include video presentations and podcasts, which are increasingly popular as promotional assets.

Finally, key your name into Google every so often to see how you come up: you may be quite surprised by the top five representations of your name. Rather than a carefully crafted LinkedIn or website profile, you may find that your Facebook page takes precedence because it gets more interaction.

Rachel Killeen’s new book, Digital Marketing, is available to buy now at the Chartered Accountants Ireland online store.

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