Everyone knows that a strong, positive personal brand can unlock a lot of opportunity (since people trust other people more than companies), but if you decide to take action, there seem to be literally hundreds of steps that you could potentially take. Who has time to sort through all these options? I don’t know about you, but I already have a full-time job. So the real question is: How much time do I need to spend on my brand to get the results I want, without sucking up all my free time?
You know that if you asked a consultant a question like this that they’d say:
Which is sorta true, of course. Because you can have your personal brand just support you, or you can have it drive success for you. And the effort required to do one is not equal to the other.
So in essence, you need to determine your objective before you will know how much time to put towards reaching your goal.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a few suggestions for you to help you decide what to do with the time you have to spend on your online profiles and image. Please let us know if you find it useful!
1. Goal: “I have no time, but I just don’t want to be invisible.“
Time spent: About 20 minutes a year.
Activities undertaken: Clean up or establish your LinkedIn profile. Update your profile with any job title or responsibilities changes.
Results/metrics: You should see that some people visit your profile and ask to join your network every now and then. But don’t expect an overwhelming response.
Other stuff you should probably consider: You may want to self-google every 6 months as well – just to make sure there’s nothing else out there you might need to address.
2. Goal: “I want to do the right thing, but don’t see the point of building my image — how about just establishing and maintaining my brand as it is?“
Time spent: About 20 minutes a month.
Activities undertaken: Get your LinkedIn profile in line, and then just spend 5 minutes each week to check out who is visiting your profile, answer any messages you receive for that week, and then on the last week of the month, you can self-google and then find an interesting article in your industry that you can share with your network. This will keep your profile reasonably up to date.
Results/metrics: You’ll probably see a little traffic to your profile, and a few people asking to connect with you. You might also find that people like the articles you share, which is a good sign that you’ve got some level of engagement with people who know you.
Other stuff you should probably consider: You may find that you want to check out some of the community groups on LinkedIn or Google+ — these are groups that share common interests, and can be a good source of information concerning your industry. You can consider participating in them (responding or posting) if a topic or article appeals to you.
3. Goal: “I think I want to build my image — can I take action without a major time commitment?“
Time spent: A few minutes a day (think before work, and after the kids are in bed).
Activities undertaken: Do all the items listed in number 2 above, and then spend a few minutes each day reading something about your industry — either in a Group or Community, or maybe set up a Google Alert or RSS feed to pull down news and blog posts from well-known people in your field. Your goal should be to find at least one interesting piece of content every day to either share, tweet, comment on, or at least reflect upon and talk about with other people. If you find a person that you think is influential or especially interesting, follow them or reach out to form a relationship. After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained!
Results/metrics: You should see some traffic on your profile, and some people asking to connect. You will want to start to observe how many people start following and engaging with you after you reach out to them. You’ll find that the more activity you have with people you admire and connect with, the more those metrics of your own followers and fans start to move.
Other stuff you should probably consider: Go ahead and set up a Google Alert for your name (and industry or city, if you have a common name) — just to keep an eye on your name getting out there in the public eye.
4. Goal: “I need to hit the gas — how can I build a following?“
Time spent: About 10-20 minutes a day.
Activities undertaken: Do all the #3 items above, and then spend time researching who the influentials are in your industry. How do they participate in conversations about your topic area? Can you join those conversations? Identify who you’d like to build relationships with, and strategize how you can reach out to them and offer something into their world. Start publishing your own thoughts and bring you own unique perspective to your job or your industry. Your goal should be to provide new thinking and content that helps other people understand your view, and maybe even helps them take action. One warning: building a following without a real goal in mind is a little like betting on horse races. It can be fun, but you might not have anything to show for it later. Consider why you want to build a following, and let that lead you into setting a specific goal.
Results/metrics: You’ll want to watch how your influencer marketing drives your followers, and start to determine what kinds of content and conversations are the most effective for reaching and engaging your community. Be sure to spend some time every now and then to consider if you’re getting all the value you should from this time investment you’re making. If it’s not getting you closer to your overarching goals, then you may want to retrench and reconsider your plan of action.
Other stuff you should probably consider: Think about hiring a coach. If you are making significant investments in time you’ll want to make sure that you’re performing your best and making progress consistently. A coach will help keep you focused.
5. Goal: “This is not enough! — I want to be a thought leader!“
Time spent, Activities undertaken, Results/metrics, and Other stuff: Guess what? It depends!
I’ll bet you saw that coming…
- 5 Behaviors That May Be Blocking You From Success
- 10 Ways to Improve Your Personal Brand
- Questions To Help You Define Your Personal Brand
MetaMorph Corporation is dedicated to creating the future of unique, personal branding. Find out more here.