Usually, I’m not one to “sweat the small stuff”. But, when it comes to building a personal brand (especially on the web), sometimes the little details make all the difference. Here are 5 common personal branding errors, and how you can fix each one in under 5 minutes.
1. Not claiming your personal domain name.
This is the easiest error to fix, and far and away the most important. Whether or not you actually set up a personal website now is irrelevant – you simply must lock down the domain! The $8 you pay each year to keep it in your possession will be well worth it. Search GoDaddy.com for available domains, trying the variations listed below (for more detail on how to determine the best option, read this ProBlogger post).
First name, last name, .com (TreyPennington.com)
First name, hyphen, last name, .com (Sue-Johnson.com)
First name, last name, .net or .me (TimSmith.me)
First name, middle initial, last name, .com (RyanLGonzalez.com)
First name, middle name, last name, .com (mariaelenaduron.com)
Professional nickname, .com (PRSarahEvans.com)
2. Not modifying your Linkedin headline.
Most Linkedin users enter their precise job title in the “headline” field. But it is highly unlikely that your job title alone does you justice. You might officially be an “Account Executive”, but that title tells me next to nothing about what you actually do. Look to these examples for inspiration on how to beef up your Linkedin headline.
Shauna McLean Tompkins – Online Strategy Goddess for Boxcar Creative / Actress
Marci Reynolds – Sales, Marketing & Operations Leader | Entrepreneur | Social Media Educator & Copywriter
Dan Schawbel – Personal Branding Expert, Bestselling Author, Speaker, Consultant, Columnist, Publisher and Blogger
To make the change, navigate to Linkedin > Edit My Profile > Edit Headline.
3. Dormant social media accounts.
Social media is continually evolving, and the sites of yesterday are becoming obsolete today (think MySpace). You used to be active on a particular site, but now you haven’t logged in for 6 months. This will send an incorrect message that you’ve abandoned your network. What should you do? I suggest one of two options:
- Delete your account entirely. The easy option, allowing you to move on and focus your efforts on the relevant networks.
- Or, hook your dormant account up to a service that will allow you to update multiple sites at once. Ping.fm is one popular option. Take 5 minutes to link your accounts to Ping.fm today, and forever be able to update without any additional effort.
4. Not Completing a Google Profile
A Google Profile takes minutes to complete, and can plop you on the first page of search results for your name. Enough said! To be efficient and consistent, simply copy/paste your information from existing profiles.
Once your profile is set up, take a few extra minutes to include links to your other social media profiles, your blog, etc. To really ramp up the search engine optimization of your profile, include as many relevant keywords as possible.
5. Not claiming your social media “Vanity URLs”.
Some social networks, like Twitter, automatically customize your profile’s full URL (twitter.com/ryanrancatore). Others, like Facebook and Linkedin, do not. Search engines value a customized URL with your full name in sequence (and so do humans typing in your profile exactly as they expect it).
Which of these looks better to your eye?
To update your Linkedin vanity URL, navigate to Linkedin > Edit My Profile > Public Profile [Edit] > Your Public Profile URL [Edit], and enter your desired URL.
To update your Facebook vanity URL, visit Facebook.com/username.
What do you think? Have I overlooked any other common errors that can be fixed in just a few minutes time? I hope this post was helpful, let me know in the comments section below.