In the age of social media, everyone cares about their personal brand. A teen shows off her front-row seats at a concert to build her “in-crowd” brand; adults post pictures of their kids’ achievements for their “good parents” brand. Increasingly, entrepreneurs and businesspeople are cultivating their individual brands, too. But if you’re a professional, exactly what should constitute your “personal brand?”
Everything goes into it, including what you say, what you post, which social platforms you use, and even the links that lead your audience to your website or to your social pages.
Read on to learn how to build your personal brand and why short links are a simple, powerful way to manage your digital brand identity.
What is personal branding?
Personal branding is everything you wish to present or convey about yourself to others, as well as how others perceive you. For example, the photos and videos that you choose to post online are the most common ways that people curate their social life. It’s also what you choose to say – your posts, the accomplishments on your resume, and any blogs you write. Or how about your personal website, from graphics to the title to the URL? Are you www.janesmith.com which features your wedding photography, or are you www.smithamazingwedding.photos? These choices all go into the creation of your personal brand.
Why personal branding matters
Your personal brand is your “front door” into you; until a recruiter, prospective client, or business partner can get to know you, your personal brand is all that they can glean about you. Whatever opportunity you’re pursuing, personal branding is the first step to opening that door. As with everything, first impressions matter, so the short links you use to connect to your audiences will help to form important first impressions of your personal brand.
Short links and how they relate to your personal brand
Short links are shortened versions of URLs that direct your audiences to your social media profiles, your LinkedIn resume, your online portfolio, your Etsy store, your posts on Medium, or your personal website. Short links disguise the long, full link, which often contains indecipherable tracking codes and characters. Short links are becoming more versatile, especially ones that use real words because they’re more meaningful, memorable, and audiences are far more likely to click on them than on long links.
So how do short links relate to personal branding? Let’s say you’re thinking of hiring Gary, a freelance designer. You ask for client references, and he shoots you two links: www.linkedin.com/in/garystu/#reviews=$url-greeting122018, or www.gary.reviews
The latter is a little easier on the eyes. Moreover, www.gary.reviews says it all: you know what you’re clicking on and what to expect. BL.INK’s link shortener enables you to combine your own brand with real words, to create more measurable, meaningful short links. And since BL.INK offers analytics, you can track how often people are clicking on your links, where they come from, and other important click metrics.
Let’s look at how one person, Christine Wang, uses short links for personal branding at three different stages in her life.
As a high school student seeking college admission to MIT and other top engineering schools, she sets up a website, www.christinewang.engineer. Even before the admissions officers click on the content in her online resume and website, they already have a first impression of Christine because of her short link. She’s dedicated her identity (and presumably her college major selection) to “engineer.” Admissions officers have a clear idea of her personal brand.
Having graduated with honors from MIT, Christine is now job-hunting. She has updated her website and LinkedIn pages to depict her CSEE degree and deep interests in software engineering. She creates a new short link to her LinkedIn page resume: www.christinewang.software. Now, recruiters from tech companies can quickly see she’s focused on a hyper-relevant track for their needs.
Years pass and Christine has joined the C-suite. Her personal brand is well established. She’s been invited to sit on the boards of many different start-ups. She loves this work: it’s great to be around young people, providing them with useful advice. She also has put aside some of her own personal savings for investments in start-ups. She’d like to do more of this kind of work, so she opts for www.christinewang.ventures in her email signature, which redirects to her profile on the Board List website – a place for entrepreneurs to connect with board advisors.
One person, three brands, three short links, and three different brand impressions. That’s how personal branding and short links can work to your advantage.
Build your personal brand throughout your life
Personal branding takes time. And likely you’ll change over time. But the simplest aspect of personal branding is the short link. BL.INK lets you create and use as many short links as you want, with hundreds of TLDs (top-level domains) from which to choose. And once you get people to click through to your personal website, your social media profiles, and your contributions to other people’s sites, you’ve got a great chance to make a terrific impression.
Create a BL.INK account and acquire a new domain to use for your personal brand!