Need a weekend project? How about organizing your personal brand on the web?
We’ve been dealing a bit with “online personal branding” with the executives of some of our portfolio companies, and one of the biggest things we’ve noticed is the feeling of being out of control of “where you are” online. People don’t realize how many places they are or how many profiles they’ve set up.
The first step to creating an effective Web2.0 personal brand is organizing the existing presence you’ve got. From there, you have focused content in a controlled number of places and can move forward in a clear direction. Below are a few things you can do on a slow afternoon to get the process started.
- Create lists and purge. Do a full centralization process on what platforms you have profiles on, what your user names and passwords are, and what the function of each list is. Record everything in one place so it’s easier to do work. Then, get rid of anything that’s not useful or not moving toward your end goals (they can professional or personal). That Friendster profile from 5 years ago? Sorry Friendster, but you’re just not working for me any more.
- Consistency is key. Make sure that your avatars are consistent (you don’t have to have just one profile photo, but keep it to 2-3, especially if you’re talking about using these services for primarily professional purposes). Use the same or similar bios or about paragraphs. Update them all at the same time.
- Do a search on yourself. Yeah, everyone does this. But analyze it, record any notable mentions, or worrisome mentions. You might find something worth showcasing on a profile. You also might find a profile you forgot about or didn’t even know existed. You want to know what’s out there, so do the search. Try out a few different search engines too. Yes, people do still use MSN search and yes those results can vary from Google.
- Connect and aggregate whenever you can. If you can update on one tool and have that update hit several others, that means efficiency and streamlining. Use RSS feeds, Twitter feeds, Friendfeed etc. This makes life a lot easier. If it helps you, you can also record what’s connected where (I use a pretty simple excel to keep track of it all).
- Pull together all of your content and work for people. If you’re anything like me, you have a lot of content out there that people would only be able to find if they searched your name and felt like sifting through pages of results. Make it easier for people to see your body of work by giving them one access point. I contribute to several blogs, write articles for various publications, and have a bunch of one-off “things” out there that I want to make sure people see. I’ve set up my own website used (for now) as one place to go to see most of what I’ve done. I also plan on flushing out my personal Portfolio [Please note: Interfolio IS a client of ours].
Do you have any other advice on organizing your Web 2.0 Personal Branding? Do you have any favorite tools to accomplish this?