It‘s been only a couple of weeks since the world was paralyzed by the COVID-19 crisis but our working mode and lifestyle has changed significantly. Now we spend most of our time at home, working remotely to a schedule. This has its advantages because we save loads of time not being caught in traffic jams, or not frequenting restaurants, bars and places of entertainment.
The question is, even with more time on our hands, are we using it effectively?
Quarantine is a great time for those willing to strengthen their personal brand. Now you have all the time not only to develop a personal action plan, but also to take action. Even though your personal branding may not appear a high priority item right now, sooner or later the quarantine will end. Then we will have to brace ourselves for the next reality, from job searches (given the predicted decline in employment) to making our voice heard in the competitive market to regain clients.
So, what kind of personal branding activities should we focus on during this period?
Setting your personal branding goals
Your efforts to strengthen your personal brand will have valuable results if you set specific and measurable goals now. Here are some examples:
- New job in a particular industry or role (initially this could be measured by job interviews received and job offers later);
- Opinion leadership in a particular area (initially measured by social media metrics, later – by mentions in social media posts by others or media in general);
Specific goals will help us plan ahead. The more detailed the goal is, the easier it will be for us to measure the steps to achieve it.
Refining your personal positioning
Having a specific goal in mind, you should also ask yourself whether you are currently positioning yourself in the right way. For example, you might be looking for a new job in marketing, but currently all you have to show is your experience as a project manager in the public sector. Think about how elements in your current position could be related to the field you desire, say, perhaps, marketing initiatives, opinion surveys or engagement meetings you undertook as part of the job.
Here are some personal positioning elements you should consider:
- Target audience. Who are the people to whom you want to direct your personal branding?
- Category reference. What’s your professional field?
- Creating value (or promise). What value do you intend to create for your target audience?
- Reasons to believe in you. What is the professional or personal experience that confirms your credibility in the field?
Once you refine your personal positioning, you can start thinking about more practical things to further your branding.
Reviewing your social media profiles
Having advanced your personal positioning, it might be a good idea to check whether it’s reflected in your social media profiles. Does information on your LinkedIn, IG or FB really communicate your value to your target audience? If the answer is “no” or “partially,” it’s time for an update.
Below are some of the most essential social media profile elements you should be paying attention to:
- Profile pictures. Are they of a high quality? Do they create an image of you as a professional to your target audience?
- Cover photos (especially relevant on LinkedIn). Do you use this space to boost your personal brand? It’s a space where you can position yourself as an important part of the company you represent by using your company logo or company-related photo. If you are working for yourself, it might be relevant to highlight your core business activity or upload a visual that highlights your personality. If you are looking for a job – you might want to use a neutral background that matches your profile picture.
- The About section on LinkedIn, biography sections on other platforms. These are the sections that we often take the longest to fill in, but once you’ve figured out your personal positioning, this task should be a lot easier. Who we are, what we represent, what our values are – these are just some ideas that could be reflected here.
- Experience and Education sections on LinkedIn. These are the spaces where you can provide key information that will increase your credibility in the eyes of your readers.
In the context of LinkedIn, you should not forget to indicate your Accomplishments, Volunteering experiences or certifications. Once you enhance your profile to the fullest, you will receive an all-star rating, which, according to the social network, means that it will become 40 times more visible to others.
The next step towards a strong personal brand is the content you create. However, before you start creating it, please consider preliminary guidelines to reflecting the main topics at hand. For example, if you are willing to become an opinion leader in the field of marketing, your content should be focusing on this field as well as other related topics (e.g. advertising and branding). Besides topics, it is also useful to plan the format you will be using (e.g. posts, articles, video content, etc.), hashtags and other aspects that will facilitate the process later.
Once you‘ve set your goal, refined your personal positioning, updated information on your social media profiles and drafted preliminary content guidelines, it‘s time to get into creating content. If you are new to this, do not set your goals too high – a post once a week or once in two weeks is enough to get started.
If you decided to reshare content posted by others, remember to provide your own insights and opinion. Your target audience will engage with your content more if you present yourself authentically and add a personal touch. Most importantly – search for ways to differentiate!
Although quarantine and personal branding seem to have little in common on the surface, ask yourself when will you have the next extended stretch of time to devote to strengthening your position as a professional?