Do you have a digital brand?
If you have ever posted anything online then the answer is YES!
- Whether you have a booming personal website or a simple LinkedIn page…
- Whether you write your own blog or have a basic online dating profile…
- Whether you like it or not…
…you have a digital brand.
I want to show you how to optimize it. I did not realize the importance of online personal brands until a few things happened all at once. Let me share three stories so you can understand why digital brands are so important:
Last spring I met a guy named Dave at a friend’s party. My friend introduced us and said something like, “Dave, meet Vanessa. Vanessa, meet Dave. He is single and looking for a great girl. He is amazing and you have to hook him up with someone you know!” I have a personal passion for matchmaking, so I was very excited to meet Dave and set him up. After a few minutes, I was convinced that there was some giant misunderstanding. This guy was GREAT–how could he be single?! He said he had been online dating to meet people and just couldn’t get any dates. I asked him to pull up his profile so I could take a look and…wow. His profile was super sleazy–totally opposite of the guy standing in front of me! The pictures were misleading, his little intro video came across as super inauthentic and I immediately knew why he wasn’t getting dates. He had a lot to offer, but had an easy-to-fix Digital Branding Problem.
Here at the Science of People, we often help entrepreneurs with their pitches–especially if they are trying to raise venture capital money or speaking at conferences. One female entrepreneur in particular was trying to raise money for a Kickstarter campaign. She had a great product that could help a lot of people. She had begun taking sales on her website and launched a Kickstarter campaign last April. The problem: No one was buying. She contacted us to look at her website, video and Kickstarter page. Before looking at her online assets I got to read about her amazing product in an email. When I finally clicked over to her website and campaign, I was shocked. Although her idea was great, her website, sales page and Kickstarter video left A LOT to be desired. No wonder she wasn’t getting sales. She had a great business but a huge Digital Branding Problem.
A few weeks later, I attended a tech conference, and I heard a BRILLIANT programmer speak on a panel. During his short 30 minute panel he absolutely stole the stage from the other particpants. He shared some of the tools and web applications he has developed and blew everyone in the audience away. During Q&A everyone was directing questions towards him and afterwards he had a line of 10 people dying to talk to him. I happened to be sitting next to a Vice President of a major sports brand in the audience. She turned to me at one point and said, “I would do anything to get this guy on our tech team. I wonder if he would consider switching jobs?” I suggested she try Google searching him to see if she could get his email. A few minutes later she turned her laptop towards me with a horrified look. She pointed at his personal website and said, “I can’t believe this is the same guy! He clearly does brilliant work for his companies, but hasn’t applied any of it to his own stuff.” His personal website was barren, sterile and disorganized. Very unlike the person we were seeing on stage. The VP told me that his website was a deal breaker, saying something like, “We want people who are above average in all areas of their brand. His brand rubs off on us too.” He had a misleading Digital Branding Problem.
What do these stories tell us? There are myths about digital branding:
- Myth: If I don’t own a business, I don’t need to worry about my personal brand.
- Myth: A Facebook page doesn’t count as a digital brand.
- Myth: My business model speaks for itself. I don’t need to worry about online positioning.
- Myth: What I say on my profile or website is more important than the visual cues.
Let’s Stop the Madness!
It drives me crazy when talented, wonderful, awesome people forget about their online assets.
A bad digital first impression can destroy your chances at a job, on a date or in a relationship.
You have 0.05 seconds to make a good first impression online. In those 50 milliseconds you have to hook someone and convey who you are, why they should connect with you AND build trust. You may realize it, but in the digital age, often times your first impression happens even before you meet someone. The problem is, you often focus on the verbal content of your profiles and websites. But since your digital first impression happens so quickly–before someone reads any of your content or descriptions, you have to capture their attention with nonverbal cues or your digital body language.
If you have no idea what your digital first impression is, let alone how to fix it…