Updated: Apr 11, 2022
Did you know the concept of "Personal Branding"?
Did you know that you are a brand?
Are you working to optimize your personal branding?
Did you know any communication you do on your social media account can "make" or "break" your professional image?
Did you know that it is crucial to keep sharing of personal information limited to friends and sharing of professional information to public?
The answers to all the above questions will come in this blog.
The photo which you are seeing above is of "Change of Guards" ceremony held on 25th September 2020 for our BNI Alchemist Chapter. How is it relevant to this topic? It is perfectly relevant. Click here to know more about my journey as the President of the BNI Alchemist Chapter. I am sincerely working on building my own personal brand and as a result of which I had the opportunity to lead the then world's largest and world no. 1 BNI chapter across the globe. You can read further with confidence and I am sure you will find a lot to take away.
But before we do that, let us first understand what is Personal Brand.
Personal Branding is the portrayal of a person's values, ethics, passion, strength, his core expertise, what he/she stands for, what his/her aim is and how all these are perceived by the world.
You are making hard efforts in building the reputation and brand for your company and its products. But have you worked on your Personal Brand yet? Or, have you simply ignored its impact?
This concept is not just limited to an employed person. This is for one and all.
In the world of internet, the boundaries of doing business are shrinking with each passing day. You may have enjoyed a monopoly in the past without much ado, but with the advent of eCommerce and digitalization it is imperative to stand out from the crowd.
Have you ever keyed in your own name in Google Search and checked what is being shown?
On searching "palak madhwani" on Google, the first few links to appear are my social media handles starting with LinkedIn, my company's website and so on.
Now if you are wondering why would someone search your name on Google, then dear friend you have a long way to work on this subject matter.
Whenever you go for a pitch to a client or a job interview or you may have just scheduled it, the other person will do a Google Search to know about you.
See it the other way, if you were hiring an employee or a vendor for a project of yours what will you do. A decade before you would have called up a friend or a business associate to know or get a feedback about the person. You may still do that but before that you will definitely search about the person online and get an idea.
If the person is not as per the expectations from his or her online brand presence, you will filter on that step itself.
"The Google Search Results of your name will generate the First Impression of your Personal Brand."
It is extremely important to create the right first impression to acquire that dream client of yours or get hired by your dream company or even getting the brightest of the talent join your organization.
Pre-internet and pre-social media era, organizations used to focus on promoting their products and brands using the conventional media of advertising. But in the current age, personal branding is as important as your company's branding.
The personal brand of a CXO will percolate to its firm. The firm will reap benefits in terms of sales as well as hiring bright and promising talent.
As you just saw, the first link which appears on searching my name on Google is of my LinkedIn profile.
The most impactful professional networking platform today is LinkedIn. We will talk about it in detail in this blog along with brief information on Facebook, Twitter, and Business WhatsApp.
Online Assets of Personal Branding
LinkedIn is the one of the most used professional networking platforms available today. If you are into a profession, you must be on LinkedIn. It is like a website for your personal brand. The most important tool ~ Online Asset of your Personal Branding.
There are hundreds of articles written on how to build your LinkedIn Profile. I have read a few of them, attended sessions from industry experts like Mr. Sampark Sachdeva and Mr. Vikram Anand, and also completed the module on building a personal brand as a part of my Global MBA program from IMT Ghaziabad and Liverpool Business School in association with upGrad.
What I am going to share further is a combination of what I have learnt from above as well as out of my years of experience in the field of Digital Marketing.
Creating an impactful LinkedIn Profile
Profile Name - Please use your real full name here. Avoid using nick names or any other wacky words.
Profile Picture - A professional photograph clearly showing your face. This is very important because people will recognize you from the photo you will use and corelate it with your personal brand.
Cover Image - Or the background image as it is called for LinkedIn, use this space to highlight your professional strength. You can put a cover image depicting your company's products or services or you can put a real photo of an event where you might have been the speaker.
Headline - This is not just limited to the designation. Utilize this space as creatively as you can. You have the character limit of 220 here. Find out the most relevant keywords being used in LinkedIn in your professional space and use 1 or 2 of them effectively. For example, I have used "Digital Marketing Specialist". I am still looking forward to improving this space of my profile. If you have any suggestion or feedback on the same, kindly message me on LinkedIn.
Public Profile URL - When you create your profile while signing up for the first time, LinkedIn will automatically provide a public profile URL for your account using your full name and a numerical code. Kindly edit this using the "Edit public profile & URL" option on the top right corner as you can see in the above screenshot. Keep it as simple as you can.
About - This is the summary about your overall professional journey and the personal brand. It has the character limit of 2000. Use relevant keywords effectively. Keep the paragraphs short and separated. Add your contact details, so that if someone is genuinely interested can contact you. There are other spaces as well in LinkedIn where you can put your website, mobile number and other social profile links. But they are little less handy as compared to this space.
Featured - This is analogous to the trophy section of your office. You can highlight links to media coverage or mention, awards, blogs, best performing post on LinkedIn etc. If you do not have anything to show here, then gradually work on building this space.
Activity - This space is automatically created from the actions you take on LinkedIn like engaging with other's posts, posting yourself, commenting etc. You must ensure that this space show a positive, empathetic and professional side of yours and is in consistency with your personal brand vision statement.
Experience - Your past job roles across various organizations. Freshers can mention about internships. LinkedIn has given space for mentioning details for each job role. So one must use it very effectively. Put each of your job designation separate if you have gone through multiple promotions or shifts in designations. Add links of your success stories and achievements to add more credibility.
Education - Add about your school and college in this space. Again, you can mention in detail about what you have learnt during each course you underwent.
Licenses & certifications - Often professions require a licence or a certificate to operate. For an instance, a Chartered Accountant can highlight his CA certificate in this space. You can add certifications of any courses you might have taken or been a part of a technical event of your subject matter.
Volunteer Experience - This space can be utilized to showcase yourself as a team member. Highlight your volunteer experiences like that of being a part of an NGO or being in the working committee of an organization working for the betterment of the society or community and so on.
Skills & endorsements - Add as many relevant skills as you can. LinkedIn also asks our 1st connections when they visit our profile regarding which skill they would like to endorse us for.
If you will carry yourself as an expert in your subject matter by being consistently communicating and highlighting your activities and updates in your connections, you will be able to generate endorsements. Below is the screenshot of the skills & endorsements section of Ms. Surbhi Saxena Madhwani
Recommendations - Often when you want to hire a new agency or a vendor, you will try to connect with one of their previous customers and have an opinion about their work. This space is one of the strongest spaces in your entire profile. Till now whatever we saw was all under your own control. You can write and update about majority of all above sections by yourself. But this space is about others writing about you.
This space is one of the most difficult parts of the LinkedIn profile because you may feel shy in asking for recommendations, even if you ask for them, the other person is unable to draft and write or is not having enough time to do it. Let us try and make it easier for you to go for it. A good number to have here is at least 10 to 15 recommendations. If you will observe the above screenshot, I have successfully managed 60 people as on date while writing this blog to recommend.
Some tips to go for the same: -> Identify your contact spheres like - School, College, previous organization, a networking organization, clients etc. -> Approach to at least 3 people from each sphere to recommend you. They could be classmates, friends, colleagues, professors, managers, clients, vendors, employees and so on. -> When you ask for a recommendation, show them the openness of providing a draft if required. In my experience, while doing this task I observed that the major roadblock was the draft. -> People wanted to recommend but they were unable to find time or words to write it. So make it easy for them, give them some pointers or a paragraph in their tone speaking about you. -> This actually is a very fruitful process because when you draft a recommendation for yourself, you can cover your keywords in it. -> LinkedIn has provided a button called "Ask for Recommendation". When you will use it, it will send a message to the other person's inbox with a link to write a recommendation for you. -> But do not limit yourself to it. After asking it from there, follow-up on other modes of communication like email, WhatsApp or even a call if required. You will need multiple follow-ups because some of them may be a little less active or tech savvy when it comes to using LinkedIn.
Accomplishments - Projects | Honours & Awards | Organizations | Languages | Test Scores. Use this space and mention as many as you can. It is all about credibility. Be genuine and responsible because anything you mention anywhere in your profile can be questioned or cross verified by the other person.
Interests - This space is again generated automatically on the basis of your liking and following other pages/profiles on LinkedIn. Ensure that they are in sync with your profession's over all subject matter.
Yes, this is a long list and will demand a good amount of time. You need to invest time to build your LinkedIn profile as it is the most important part of your Personal Brand.
Do not wait for a global pandemic to build your personal brand. Even if you are well set in your job or you are doing amazing in your business, you must work on building personal brand. It is like a tree which you need to care for and grow. It will give its fruits when you will need it the most.
The above is about building the LinkedIn profile. Once you have done that, you need to consistently post and engage with people on LinkedIn. The tips and tricks of doing the same will need a dedicated separate blog space.
What else is important when it comes to Personal Branding?
Other social profiles - Facebook, Twitter, Business WhatsApp
Your own websites
The above are the Online Assets of your Personal Brand. These are under your control and you can modify or update them yourself.
You must ensure that your other social profiles are speaking in consistency with your LinkedIn profile. Please use appropriate Visibility settings on your Facebook profile to keep your personal updates visible to Friends only.
If you are adding your professional network also as friends on Facebook, then please be careful with what you post there. Every action you take on your social media will generate a vibration which can impact your personal brand.
Ensure to have your profile fully updated on Facebook as well as Twitter or any other social media you use. Ensure to provide links to LinkedIn or your website from them.
We have separate blogs for Business WhatsApp. Kindly refer them for a detailed understanding on using the same.
You can read them at:
There will be mention about you and your work on other websites. This is also a very crucial part of building or rather optimizing your personal brand.
In fact, this will give a stronger impact on your personal brand but only if you have your online asset ready before you go to this step.
We will discuss in length on this topic in our future blogs.
Offline Assets of Personal Branding
Business Cards - Make it unique, simple to read, with links to Online Assets. Ensure to mention your Full Name, Mobile Number, Email id, Website, Office Address, QR code to your online assets, your company name and your designation. Make sure to describe your designation in such a way that an outsider can also understand it clearly.
Offline Events - If you want to establish yourself as a thought leader and an industry expert in your subject matter, then you must actively participate in relevant business events. In fact, you should frequently go out there as a speaker on your subject matter. This is one of the strongest ways of establishing your Personal Brand. Make an effort to get yourself invited and be available for various events, seminars or conclaves as a speaker.
Offline Networking - Be a part of relevant networking organizations of your city. For an instance, I am an active member of BNI which is one of the largest networking organizations of the world with more than 2,75,000 members across 80+ countries. It is for entrepreneurs. My business partner Ms. Surbhi Saxena Madhwani is a chartered member in TiE. Various other organizations for networking could be the local chamber of commerce like we have SGCCI in Surat - The South Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry. A lot of networking takes place at gyms, clubs, NGOs and various other non-business activities as well. Being a part of such networking organizations is extremely important for your Personal Branding. But do not directly pitch your products or services when you meet and interact with people at such networks. Establish a relationship first. We can talk more about this separately.
This was a lot about Personal Branding but still it is not all about it. There is a lot more to talk.
Follow us on our social media or connect with me on LinkedIn to stay updated with the right methods of building and optimizing your Personal Brand.
If you want to discuss more on the same or should you have any queries then you can message me on LinkedIn or WhatsApp. I am open and professionally available for a session on building LinkedIn profile for you and your company's personnel at your organization. WhatsApp me to discuss on how to take it further.