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? Of course, some may see this as a chance to take a break from the frenetic pace of life and return to simple pleasures like books, movies, family or cooking. Others may use this quarantine period for self-education and personal development. Why not? There are many free online courses and tips on the Internet to choose from.
Quarantine is also 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? May I suggest four stages?
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:
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. Again, let’s say you want to become an opinion leader in human resources, but there is no such information about you in the Internet. But you know you’ve spent hours of your free time in the community promoting the idea of green living. You would certainly want to incorporate this in your portfolio.
Here are some personal positioning elements you should consider:
Once you refine your personal positioning, you can start thinking about more practical things to further your branding.
Reviewing your social media profiles
Once you’ve refined 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. Updating your FB or IG will not require much time given the limited amount of information that can be submitted, but LinkedIn might be time-consuming.
Below are some of the most essential social media profile elements you should be paying attention to:
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 (such as an interesting article from Forbes), 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.
Do not be afraid to use your personal photos (and certainly not just from photo sessions, as they will eventually become boring) or from your own home – it is has become trendy to share your desk or agenda details during this quarantine period. 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?