Social and professional networks have become an incredible resource in today’s business world. Through a simple online search, you’re able to attach relevant information to almost anyone, whether a close friend or potential client. However, the information being broadcast across the Internet can either propel or hinder your personal brand. Personal branding, as defined by Dan Schawbel, author of Me 2.0, is:
“what you stand for and what makes you special. [It’s] composed of values, a mission, and a positioning statement that depict what you do and who your audience is. [It] is an indicator for how valuable you are to employers and customers at every stage of your career.”
So just what are your leads and clients finding when they search for you online?
If answering this causes you to scratch your head, shrug your shoulders, or frown a little, you may need a bit of help in managing your online presence. Here are a few best practices to consider:
- Search for yourself – Before you can effectively attempt to manage your presence online, you must know what you currently offer to the world. Visit the top search engines and simply search your name. Also try searching for your name along with the keywords “realtor” or “agent." PRO TIP: For busy real estate professionals, setting up a Google alert will automate how you keep track of any new content associated with your name. You control the frequency of emails you receive.
- Take advantage of free industry resources – Often times when a consumer searches for your name + “realtor” or other similar keywords, they will see your realtor.com agent profile rank among the top searches due to the high volume of traffic realtor.com receives. Take advantage of their SEO power by making sure your free agent profile is kept up-to-date and active. This is an easy way to start managing your online reputation to help you make a strong brand impression.
- Buff up your social media – Join and/or better manage your presence on social networking sites. Click here for some helpful tips on how to manage your social networks like a pro.
- Know your selling proposition – RISMedia instructs you to think of it as your 30-second elevator pitch. Think of the questions consumers are probably asking – Who are you? What do you do best? Why are you an agent? Write down your answers and back them up with data. Here’s an example: With 20 years of experience, Amy Agent has become Anytown Realty’s go-to agent with a reputation for tenaciously protecting her clients’ interests. Savvy negotiation skills, cutting-edge marketing efforts, and uncompromising integrity have made her the top-producing agent in her area 10 years in a row.
- Keep things current – Your business card photo should not display a younger version of yourself and the same goes for the photos attached to your online profiles. When visitors are directed to you online, they should meet a similar person face-to-face when the time comes.
Be intentional with your approach. Whether you’ve already established yourself or are new to the online world, it’s imperative to have an objective for your overall presence. By taking control of your personal brand, you dictate what others see and help them to form an accurate picture of who you truly are.