15/09/2011

By Alexia Leachman, Personal Branding Coach, Blossoming Brands

Every time you post something online it stays there. Forever. Unlike a real world conversation where your words exist either in the present or in someone’s memory, your online conversations are not only written in stone, but often they are there for the world to see. In the online world, you need to think carefully about what you say, because everything you say, says something about you. Every action you take online helps others form their opinion of you, and it is this which helps to build your reputation.

In the online world, there are many ways for you to communicate about yourself. First, there’s the obvious stuff: what you ACTUALLY say in your online personal bios and personal summaries. Creating a personal bio is not easy. Many are tempted to list their jobs and high brow achievements. This is great, but people also want to know about YOU, the person. Offer people a snippet of your guilty pleasures or secret ambitions. You want to help others to build a connection with you and telling them you were the director in charge of such-and-such makes it hard to do so. Sharing your passion for climbing and Rioja might win you more favours.

The second way that you’re telling others about yourself is through your website, blog posts and status updates. In time, people will get a sense of who you are by what you choose to say and how you say it. As with everything online, content is king, so having something worthwhile and relevant to say is crucial. But the personality and attitude behind what you’re saying will soon become apparent.

The final way that you communicate is through the language, design and presentation of your digital presence. What does your avatar say about you? Do you have professional photos on your website or LinkedIn profile? Is your website or blog full of typos? Does your website portray a large corporate feel and yet you are a one-man operation? All these things say a lot about you. Or at least, people will make assumptions about you based on these things. Getting a handle on what those assumptions are, and managing them, is important if you want to build a digital presence that enhances your reputation.

Take some time to think about what you want your reputation to be and what you want to be known for. Then identify what you need to say about yourself, both directly and indirectly, for that message to be communicated. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to consider the next question: Who do you want to be engaging with?

Read next article: Going online — who do you want to engage with?

Alexia Leachman is a Personal Brand Coach and Head Trash Liberator at Blossoming Brands. She helps entrepreneurs find their mojo by helping them to tell their story, raise their profile, build their digital presence and manage their reputation. You can find out more at www.blossomingbrands.com and www.headtrash.co.uk And you can follow her on Twitter at @AlexiaL and @BBrands

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