With the world becoming seemingly smaller, it has become much easier to connect with a diverse array of people across industries, sectors and nations. The growing scale and prevalence of the internet make it crucial for us to be conscious of the image and content about us that is “out there”. Professional Branding is how you can begin to own your online footprint. This is relevant to industry professionals, entrepreneurs and job seekers.

Think about it. How many times have you viewed a post or profile on LinkedIn which left you with a really positive impression of a person whom you may never have met before? How much of an impact does this impression have if you be actively recruiting or seeking services? This reaffirms the message of “people buy into people”.

Kredible found that 52 percent of vendors it surveyed said they’d lost business because of information customers found or didn’t find online about them. And this is just in the case of companies, imagine the statistics for individuals?

Here is a quick list of reasons why Professional Branding should be a priority for you…

1. Image is everything.

While minimising bias may be the reason why some HR practices require the removal of photos and names during the hiring or sourcing process, people do also use photos and visual branding for positive reasons, too.

A crisp and current photo or graphic is often the first step to creating a strong impression that will encourage people to read more about you. Inadvertently, it’s also a reflection of the value and attention to quality which you place on yourself.

2. Personal banding is content you control.

Many of us may have strands of content & information on the internet that we might not be comfortable with potential employers or business partners seeing when they search our names online.

To test this out, how many of your Facebook Memories do you read now and ask “did I really post this?” On a professional level such as on LinkedIn, if you aren’t writing your own story, somebody else will, and it may not be the story which you want to be shared.

Beyond that, when people search for you or topics related to your work, and they find high-quality content, they’re much more likely to turn to you as an expert over a competitor. Similar is correct for job hunters. A line manager or recruitment consultant comparing two candidates is more likely to select the one that has lots of high-quality content online, beyond whatever he or she has shared on a CV.

3. Understand that building a brand takes time.

Whether or not you’ve considered managing your personal brand, the fact is, it’s not something you can do overnight. Effective personal branding can help build new relationships, and get you noticed for a job, or by a new customer. It can help you build community, establish your authority and ultimately make you more money.

Putting in the effort to develop a strong online presence, along with a series of consistently branded social profiles, will help you develop a digital footprint that tells people all the right things when they’re considering working with you.

Wrapping up…

Consider the long term value that you will gain from investing in Professional Branding. Taking basic yet conscious steps such as revamping your resume, social media profiles, getting a professional photo shoot and even starting a professional blog are easy low hanging fruit.