New Year, New You: 3 Ways to Jumpstart Your Personal Brand in 2019

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In the age of digital media, your personal brand could be the difference between “Who are you?” and “We’re glad you’re here” in your career. With approximately two billion social media users, the speed and scale at which information is being shared is growing exponentially each day.

Why should you care? In today’s world, perception is reality. The story you’re telling online can open or close doors before you even know they are there. In fact, 91 percent of executives use Linkedin as a source of content. With that in mind, it’s time to up your game and take your career to the next level. New year, new professional you.

Here are three easy ways to bust out of the gate with purpose in 2019 and jumpstart your personal brand.

Audit Your Current Brand

Before moving forward, you have to look back and evaluate where you are. Run a quick Google search on yourself and see what you find. Set up a Google alert for your name (www.google.com/alerts) to be notified when your name is being circulated.

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From an objective point of view, identify which consistent themes appear along with your name — that is your current brand identity. Don’t have a large social footprint? Start small by making sure you have an up-to-date professional headshot and list your most recent work experience on LinkedIn.

“Every decision that you make should revolve around your brand identity,” said Zach Swartz, director of creative media and post-production for Ohio State football.

Creating a “personal mission statement” or “brand positioning statement” are great ways to start identifying the who, what, and why of your personal brand.

Document Experiences and Updates

Have you just landed a new role or completed a professional certification? Make sure to share it with your network.

Facebook has said the Stories format “will soon replace the newsfeed as we know it.” Meanwhile, LinkedIn’s monthly active user base has eclipsed well over 260 million. Of those using the platform monthly, up to 40 percent are accessing it on a daily basis — and 40 million professionals are in high-level, decision-making positions.

Focus on delivering a concentrated message to those massive audiences that reflects what you want to be known for by distributing it on a platform that best suits your strengths. Do you like short bursts of information? Try Twitter. Looking for long-form blog posts and articles? Try Linkedin. Or maybe you feel more comfortable speaking than writing? Start a podcast. Research shows that 26 percent of people in the United States now listen to podcasts monthly, and the average listener tunes in to seven different podcasts each week.

Regardless of the medium, a concentrated and consistent message will allow your voice to stand out from the crowd. The best brands are known for that one thing.  

Have Authentic Interactions

“Authenticity doesn’t mean sharing everything about yourself, to everyone, all of the time,” said Justin Bariso, author of the book “EQ, Applied: The Real-World Guide to Emotional Intelligence.”

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“It does mean saying what you mean, meaning what you say, and sticking to your values and principles above all else.”

After all, you have no “brand” without a network of people who recognize it. So, make sure you take the time and effort necessary to invest in your network through meaningful conversation. Replying to comments and interacting in Twitter chats can go a long way.

Social media has the ability for you to create an incredible platform, but it’s up to you to take advantage of the opportunity. Make sure to capitalize in 2019.