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Your Digital Brand As Seen In 2013

Hey, that 160 character Twitter bio sure sounds nice, but what if someone was to Google you? What would they find?

Would they know what drives you to get up each morning and find your Space Jam or would they find themselves in a tangled web of short statements followed by hollow actions or a case of MDPD (Multiple Digital Persona Disorder)? On the other hand, what does that matter when we are, after all, a society that is strengthened by our ability to overlook the judgments of others? It matters because the judgment calls others are making about you online amount to your digital brand as a whole – a brand, that even while you lie sleeping in your flannel pajamas with drool streaming from the side of your mouth, is busy telling your story in 2013.

Whether you are a student, already in your professional field of choice, or the CEO of a prosperous company, positioning your digital brand to reflect how you want to be perceived in the marketplace, in your industry and throughout your career is imperative to your overall value. Just as in corporate branding, personal branding is meant to curate an image of you that stretches beyond surface value.

But I’m not a product sitting on a shelf. I’m a person (with a heartbeat).
Yes, however we are each a product of our environment and we live in a mainly digitalized one at that. Regardless of what life would be like in a perfect world, each one of us is being judged whether we agree with the concept or not. And if you have any type of online presence – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Blogger, or anything in between – the ability to be judged around the clock (locked account or not) is endless. Let’s say you opt for the road less traveled – the social media free path – you will allow others the means to craft an online persona for you. There is no magic cloak of invisibility when it comes to the internet. And why would you want to remain a mystery? After all visibility creates opportunities and the right online brand strategy will create the stimulating reputation you need to reel those opportunities in.

Do I need a sign that explains I was never picked last in basketball, or what?
In some situations such as applying for the NBA that may actually be helpful, however normally such a measure is not required. Your online brand should communicate what you’re passionate about, demonstrate your hobbies and community activities, highlight accomplishments, and speak to topics you consider yourself well-rounded on. Touching on each of these aspects allows people to quickly gleam what you bring to the table on various levels – whether that be an organization looking for an expert to speak at their next event, a company searching for a new team player, or someone seeking a mentor.

I didn’t think my boss would be impressed with how many Solo cups I put back this weekend.
And nor would your old college crowd. In the digital world your personal brand will have to dip through the impact of various audiences while still chiming the same tune – much like Disney movies have done for years. Yes, it’s necessary to have a polished, professional appearance on LinkedIn whereas on Facebook a genuine, fun side can shine. Regardless of the slight differences between your Twitter, Instagram, Google+ or other online personas, you must keep your key brand components consistent. Are you a thought leader, creative, philanthropic, adventure-seeking? Whatever your top 3 keywords may be, keep those close at hand while marketing yourself online.

Let’s snag a glimpse at how Awarians have been doing this for years (or months, or since the morning we asked them to contribute to this blog post):

Kris

“I’ve sought to target my Twitter posts around the interests I’ve stated in my profile. For example, it bothers me when I follow someone who touts themselves as a leadership guru and I have to wade through tweets about their kids’ soccer games or what they had for dinner. I’m seeking knowledge, insights and trends and I try to give the same respect to those following my own external communication by staying true to the interests I’ve advertised. I’ve found that helps to tailor the people who follow me to those who more closely share my interests which helps to keep the “conversation” relevant and meaningful, even if no back and forth dialogue ever ensues.” Kris Kieper, VP of Client Delivery at Aware Web Solutions

 Nate

"Developing a strong personal brand can differentiate you from similar disciplines. Keeping your comments, posts and discussions focused can help you distinguish yourself and make you more marketable and increase your following. Since focusing my Twitter posts on UX Design and Front End Development I have had a large increase of followers that are specific to my industry.” Nathan Walsh, UX Designer and Front End Developer at Aware Web Solutions

 Katie

“Once it’s online it can live forever! Our personal online presence… like it or not… is a big part of what others find even before meeting face to face. It speaks volumes about what you’re passionate about, your interests (personal and professional) and even your sense of humor. From a professional standpoint, one of the biggest things your online presence speaks to is your level of engagement and contribution regarding topics that are important to you. Overall, this paints a picture for others about who you are and what you care about.“ Katie Krick, HR Development Manager at Aware Web Solutions

What changes will 2013 see in your digital brand?

social media strategy, web content, writing web content, digital brand, personal online presence, online reputation, content marketing

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