This time of year we hear a lot about Spring Cleaning: Change out your winter clothes for summer, dust and clean furniture, and look forward to warmer, more relaxed times.
Our personal brands need some freshening and attention this time of year as well. As we come off the busy holidays and working indoors all winter here are some ways you can fine tune your reputation to stay sharp and focused over the next few months:
- Give your social media a tune up. When was the last time you posted to LinkedIn? Was your last post wishing everyone a Happy Halloween? Online tools, like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, require constant and intentional nurturing. Develop a schedule that works for you to regularly posting to keep your name (and your expertise) in front of your audience.
- Are your “friends” still your friends? Have you reviewed your contacts on LinkedIn, your friends on Facebook and your followers on Twitter to see if they are still relevant? When your connections post content that is unflattering to you, or conflicts with your values, you are judged by that message. Routinely evaluate and purge your social networks of individuals and companies that do not support your personal brand. Replace them with new friends and connections who believe what you do and support your reputation.
- Are you asking more than giving? Many of you know I did a Gratitude Project this year. It helped me get in touch with roadblocks and issues I needed to push harder on to breakthrough a barrier. Gratitude is inconsistent with fear, and focusing on what you have been given (and how you can continue to give) means you are more productive and attract more opportunity than when you live in worry and fear. Maybe you can find ways to say “thank you” more intentionally and often. See what wonderful things that will attract for you!
- Is your elevator speech stuck in a rut? Have months of networking events left you feeling stale in expressing your value to others? Revise your introduction. Think of ways you can creatively tell others who you are, what you do and what makes you different. Consider starting your elevator speech with a story or a question (i.e. “What could a former stay-at-home mom know about SAAS technology? Well! I happen to be an industry leader in….”)
- Has your target audience shifted lately? Did you focus on selling to career women in the past, but now your target clients are more entrepreneurial men? This will mean adjusting your messaging, approach and platforms to become more relevant. Attend events and forums in your target audience’s space. Sometimes this means getting outside your comfort zone.
- Consider your wardrobe. In the Fall and Winter months, we bundle up and cover up. That means layers and heavier fabrics. With Spring we have more options! “Focus on quality and wardrobe appropriateness.” Says leading style expert, Doug Paris, owner of Paris Custom Clothier Group. “Natural fibers to look for in Spring are wool, linen, silk. Natural fibers breathe, last longer and can send the confident message, I am professional. I am an individual with purpose.”
- Are you taking care of yourself? We can spot the individual at work who is neglecting their health, happiness and appearance. They are often also the ones neglecting their work in some way. This Spring, take some time to enjoy the season by getting quality sleep and exercise. Taking care of your personal brand means investing in your most valuable asset — YOU.
As the seasons change, we remember to change the batteries in the smoke alarm, but we often forget to evaluate our reputation and personal brand strategies to ensure we are still staying sharp and focused. When done correctly, your personal brand will attract fabulous opportunities for you from your target audience. Your personal brand works when you are intentional about the way you present yourself to your target audience and live consistently with your values.