Wednesday, December 28, 2011

5 Elements Of An Online Profile

People are talking about you online!  A simple Google search will reveal where your name is popping up, and you might not like what you read.  All self-employed individuals should engage in online brand management to influence what others are saying about them.  This includes having well-crafted profiles on several platforms where you will find your target audience.  Chris Kulbaba of LinkedIn Heavyweight explains it this way:

"Marketing is made up of the four "P's": Product, Price, Placement, and Promotion. With Social Media, you get the four P's leveraged for free, as well you get the two "T's": trust and transparency.  So, in the new world of business, 4P's + 2T's = customers buying your product!"

The first step to establishing an online presence is formulating a winning profile that will be consistent on all platforms.  This includes the following:

1.  Headshot: A good individual headshot is a clear picture of your face that is centered on a non-distracting background.  If you don’t have a professional looking headshot then get one immediately.  It should represent what you look like and how you want to be recognized.  People want to do business with people—not cute pictures of puppies, logos, or cartoons.  A picture creates trust in your potential customers.

2.  Bio: A well-written bio should be concise and presented in the first person.  It should answer the questions: Who are you?  Where do you come from?  What expertise do you have to offer?

3.  Job Title: A well-crafted job title summarizes what you actually do.  If you can’t be clear on what you can do, no one else will know either.

4.  Branding Statement: A branding statement is the one liner that you want people to think when they hear your name.  It’s your tag line: your purpose and mission all wrapped up in a few words. I like's formula for crafting one.

5.  Username: If your name is very popular (e.g., John Smith) you will have to come up with a way to make your username distinguishable from the many others out there (e.g., use your middle name or a pseudonym).  If you have a unique name, use it.

Once you have these items ready, it’s time to create your profile on platforms that will help you reach your target audience.  In my next posts I will discuss the two types of profiles (interactive and non-interactive) that you could use to establish your online presence and the benefits of each.

Miranda Vande Kuyt is a self-employed project and communications consultant. She is also the facilitator of the  "Look Before You Leap: Self-Employment Survival Strategies" online course through