Personal Brands are Portable

“No matter where you go, there you are.” —The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (motion picture) (1984).

And everywhere you go, your online reputation follows.

If you haven’t searched your name online recently, do so. Put your name in quotes, like this “Wendy Terwelp,” to narrow the search parameters.

Next, use these questions to assess your online brand and visibility:

Your Social Media Profiles: Have you chosen the right social media networks for your target audience? Do your social media profiles contain a current professional photo, your one word that represents you, and a clear brand story about your background and experience? Does your profile pop with your personality?

Your Network: Who’s in your network? And who needs to know about you? Invite those who are a fit for your current goals. And those whom you’re confident in referring to others. Is it time to review and prune some of your current connections? Your network reflects your personal brand.

Your Thought Leadership: TED talks say “ideas worth sharing.” Are yours? Review the content you’re sharing. Is it relevant to your goals and helpful to your network and target audience?

Your Personal Brand Hub: If you haven’t done so already, grab your name as a domain. This way you can create and curate content about you in a personal brand hub. When people search on your name, this on-brand content will rise to the top of the search.

Time Savers: Maintaining a highly visible brand online doesn’t have to be time consuming. You can repurpose your content. If you’ve written an article or blog post, use quotes from it in other social media, like Twitter or LinkedIn, and include a link to your post. Take advantage of tools like Hootsuite to schedule posts in advance for consistency. And keep the conversation going by addressing responses in real time.

I invite you to share your results in the comments.

And if you’d like help in up-leveling your brand online, let’s talk!

©2018 Wendy Terwelp | All rights reserved.

Is your LinkedIn bio lost in translation?

Lost in Translation

How many times have you read someone’s LinkedIn bio and wondered, “What in the world are they talking about?” It’s full of jargon, terms, and acronyms foreign to anyone outside the bio subject’s industry.

“The Curse of Knowledge” is what Chip and Dan Heath call this “symptom” in their book, “Made to Stick.” To an industry insider, these terms are common, used daily, and understood by all involved. So much so, that to anyone outside the industry, it’s confusing and just plain gibberish.

In the above picture, you see typical everyday terms used by human resource professionals (HR), eCommerce, Accounting, Marketing Communications (MarComm), and Chief Executives (any Chief-level role is considered a “C-Suite” professional). Were you lost in translation looking at the picture? While Google can help define the terms, people wanting to hire you or work with you won’t take the time to Google it. Instead, they’ll move on to the next bio whose writer makes things easy to understand.

How can you avoid the “Curse of Knowledge?” Have a family member or non-industry friend read your bio BEFORE you put it on LinkedIn or other social networks or your book jacket or use it as a speech introduction. (Can you imagine a person introducing you who is not familiar with the jargon?) If your mom has no idea what you’re talking about, you’ve got “The Curse of Knowledge” and need to reword the bio.

If you must use some jargon, spell it out first, then use the acronym afterword. Like this, Full-Time Employee (FTE). This is actually a cool benefit, because you’re using good keywords (think search terms) twice. That way, depending on who’s conducting the LinkedIn search, you’ll have a greater chance of getting the call.

Check out my book Rock Your Network® for a LinkedIn bio template and advice in creating your own compelling “About” bio. If you’d like your About section written for you, let’s talk!

You Are the Face of Your Brand

Editor’s note: Updated 6/7/2019

Missing headshot

Who would you, your customer or a potential employer hire? The silhouette above or one of these smiling faces below?

Sonya - headshot        Bill R. - pic      Terwelp, Wendy - 414photography

Your image is part of your brand. Having your smiling face in your social networking profiles helps build your “know, like, and trust” factor. People do business with people they know, like, and trust.

Not only that, have you ever said, “I know the face; I just can’t remember the name…”

Your face, your professional headshot, helps people remember you.

When attending networking events, you leave with loads of business cards, many with names, contact information, and logos, but no photo. How do you remember if the name you found on LinkedIn is the right person you met when the profile has only a silhouette?

It’s frustrating.

That smiling mug of yours is part of your brand, use it!

Having your face in your social networking profiles helps people connect with you and know that it’s YOU they met at last week’s event or conference.

Photos matter because — science.

According to LinkedIn, members who include a profile photo receive 21x more profile views and up to 36x more messages.

Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov found it only takes 100 milliseconds to form an impression of someone just looking at a photo of their face. And 80 to 90 percent of that first impression is based on two qualities — trustworthiness and competence.

Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy explains:

When we form a first impression of another person it’s not really a single impression. We’re really forming two. We’re judging how warm and trustworthy the person is, and that’s trying to answer the question, “What are this person’s intentions toward me?” And we’re also asking ourselves, “How strong and competent is this person?” That’s really about whether or not they’re capable of enacting their intentions.”

Trust and likeability play a role in helping you build your brand, your connections, and more.

I’m asked all the time if people really need a professional headshot in their social-networking profiles.

YES, you do. No excuses.

And if you’ve got an excuse for no photo, see if these sound familiar:

“My head is too big.” It’s been said that Oprah has a large-sized head, and she seems to be doing just fine.

“I want to lose weight before I pay money to get a professional headshot.” And “People say the camera adds 10 pounds. In my case it adds 50!”

Ask yourself this, have you got networking meetings coming up in the next week? How about interviews? Sales calls? Speaking gigs? Ballgame? Hiding behind no photo online detracts from your brand and gives the impression you don’t know how to use basic tools like LinkedIn.

You’ll still be seen in real life regardless. Embrace it. You are fabulous just as you are now. Pop that pic in your profile. Later, when you lose your planned weight, that warrants a brand new headshot of skinny you.

Did you know most people Google you before they meet you?

LinkedIn is typically on page one of those search results. Having a current photo in your profile means that when you arrive, people will immediately recognize you and know that you are the person they were scheduled to meet (not you from 2004, but you 2019).

“I don’t have any money for a professional headshot.” Find a well-lit space in your home or apartment and a light-colored empty wall. Wear something professional, smile big, and have your friend take a photo — or several so you can choose your favorite. LinkedIn now has some tools in their mobile app to enhance your photo. Use them. Save a bit every week and you can invest in a professional headshot soon.

People relate well to facial photos.

People like to do business with people, not a logo or your cat.

Your photo is part of your brand image. Be sure it’s aligned with your professional goals and your personal brand.

On LinkedIn, it’s important that your profile picture is professional versus a crazy pose, wedding or group photo. The photo needs to be of your head and the top of your shoulders, like the above photos. A white background is preferred.

One client told me about wanting to use a service based on someone’s recommendation.

“I Googled him before we met. He had this crazy picture on LinkedIn with his mouth open and head turned sideways. I wasn’t too sure about heading for the meeting after that.”

face-screaming-in-fear

You can do some fun expressions on Facebook if you wish. With any profile photo, keep in mind the “Mom and Boss Test” — if you’d be embarrassed if your mom saw the photo or fired if your boss did, err on the side of “professional.”

Twitter’s profile-picture spot is very tiny. Keep that in mind when uploading your profile photo. For Twitter, I recommend having just your face in the profile photo. Your whole face, not your eye or a tiny picture of your full body. It’s too hard to see.

Recruiters say, “We will judge you not just on your profile, but your overall mastery of LinkedIn (especially for PR, sales, marketing, human resources and recruiting jobs). We look for a professional headshot, a powerful summary, at least several hundred connections, a complete employment history (including descriptions) and a good list of relevant groups.”

Final Thoughts on the Face of Your Brand
Book your professional headshot, add it to your social media profiles, and let’s see your fabulous face online!

© 2006 – 2019 | Wendy Terwelp | All rights reserved.

Wendy Terwelp, Opportunity Knocks, is a recognized career industry leader, dubbed a “LinkedIn Guru” by The Washington Post. Named in the Top 15 Career Masterminds (along with Richard Nelson Bolles, author of “What Color is Your Parachute?”), Top 100 Career Experts to Follow on Twitter, ATD’s “Best on Career Development,” and “Top 10 Career Helps” by Inc. Magazine, Wendy speaks about networking, social media, branding, and personal branding for career management to organizations worldwide. Wendy is also the author of Rock Your Network®.