How to build your personal brand online

A brand conveys what a product offers, the experience associated with that product, and ensures that it is in line with what customers expect from that brand. For service professionals, your brand is a promise of value that you deliver to your customers. It’s important that you live up to your brand so your customers know they can rely on dependable, excellent service each and every time they call on you. A critical way to communicate your personal brand is through your online presence. More and more you’ll be communicating with clients — and getting new clients — through the internet and social media, so there are a few things you should remember as you strengthen your online profile.

Be the brand. Be you. Sounds really simple, but authenticity is critical. You need to be in person who you are online. Think about what you want people to associate with your name: your special skills, your in-depth knowledge of the local schools, your great references to other professionals. Once you figure out what you want people to think of when they see your name, you can drill down on that aspect of yourself and get it online.

Personalize, personalize, personalize. Make sure your photo is prominently displayed on all your online properties. Buy your domain name based on your name (and several variations of it) for your website. Make sure every post, tweet, and photo you put online reflects and strengthens the brand you are developing, and make sure you cross post everything. And get on YouTube — it’s practically required now. Through video, people can really get to see who you are, and the impression you make will stick with your viewers.

Blog. Provide relevant information targeted specifically to your audience and the types of clients you want to work with, whether that’s first-time buyers, downsizers, or anyone in between. Update at least twice a week. And do some guest blogging. LinkedIn allows members to post and you can set yourself up as an expert adviser when you regularly submit articles. Seek out opportunities to post to industry websites and newsletters. Trade posts with other real estate professionals in your area, such as builders, landscapers, and mortgage lenders.

Make strong associations. Look to your college and your company to make more connections. What can you do to support your alma mater? Is there an alumni newsletter? Does your company have a blog on its website that you can post interesting and informative articles to?

Evolve. Be open to learning new ways to communicate, new technologies that will help you get yourself out there, new changes to your industry so you are up-to-the-minute on the best information for your clients. Being open and flexible will help you continue to move forward as the industry and the market change. (Even if that means learning how to vlog.)

Your brand is you; you are making a promise that you need to keep to engender trust and build strong relationships with your clients, coworkers, and business partners. Keep your business growing by keeping true to your personal branding promise.