Protect Your Online Personal Branding

Online Personal Branding
 

Have you done a search of your name on a search engine lately? If you haven’t, let’s try a fun exercise by opening another browser tab and go to Google’s search page and type in your full name. Let’s check out your online personal branding. Just make sure that you are not logged in to your Google account before you do the search. If you don’t have a personal website in your name or you’re not very active online, chances are, you may not like the top results of your name search. Your online personal branding may be branded and dictated by another person with a similar name as you. So for this post, I will be discussing the importance of building and maintaining your online personal branding.

I Had No Online Presence Before

A few years ago, I was conducting this same search with my own name just out of curiosity. To my surprise, the search result returned quite a few individuals that have the same name as me, but none of the results included me. However, most of the profiles and postings returned from the search engine were less than stellar and some people even had really disturbing information posted. After conducting the search, I became aware that my online personal branding was being dictated by someone else and I had absolutely no control over it. In another words, my online identity was at the mercy of those people with the same name as me and I was not representing myself. This really bothered me as my personal image/reputation can be negatively affected by other people’s actions online.

The Digital Age

At the time of my name search, I didn’t have any presence online at all. The only thing I had was a Facebook account and I hardly posted anything. I was not very social with my social media profile at all and I did not want to share anything personal online back then. In addition, I was not a very big fan of self-promotion and blowing my own horns. So what had changed my mind? Blogging and the realization that the world is making the transition to the digital age.

 
Opportunities

Online Presence Equals Opportunities

Like it or not, the world that we live in today had been transformed and it will continue to evolve in the future. More and more processes are being digitized. People, businesses, and governments are making more interactions online and searching for personal information digitally. If you don’t have an online presence, then you are missing out on the available opportunities. Even worst, if your online personal branding is being misrepresented by someone else, it can be detrimental to you and your personal finance.

Not Being Found Equals Loss Opportunities

Let’s say that there is a dream job that you just saw posted on a company’s website that you wanted to work for. You have most of the qualifications and you think that you will be able to provide a great deal of value in that position and you applied for that job. Guess what? The first thing that the recruiting department will be doing is to search for your name on a search engine. If the search engine returns bad profiles of other people with your name, there go your chances of getting an interview. What can you do to prevent this from happening?

 
Long-Term Solution

Quick Fix Or Long-Term Solution?

Depending on what your goal is, you can either clean up your profile by taking one of two routes. You can ensure that you are found and correctly represented when people search for your name. Or, you can build and maintain your online personal branding by being an influencer or authoritative figure in a field of your choice. The first route is quite straightforward and you can follow Ryan Erskine’s tips over at www.entrepreneur.com to protect your online reputation. The second route takes more time and effort, but it also comes with long-term potentials and benefits.

 
Leo T. Ly Branding

How I Improved My Online Personal Branding

Since you are reading this post, you can pretty much guess that I took the second route. I have great aspirations to be an influencer in the Canadian personal finance blogging space. To build and maintain my online personal branding, I have been working very hard during the last year to build my online presence. As of this post, I am happy to shamelessly blow my own horn, that I have 7 out of the top 10 “Leo T. Ly” search results on Google. Here are the steps that I took to reach the top of the Google search results:

  • Create my social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus) and regularly post on those platforms. I still need to add a couple more social profiles like LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram
  • Create an “about us” page on my website
  • Write a blog post about yours truly, Leo T. Ly. This one was a bit difficult and I really need to thank Erik from The Master Mind Within for the idea. Did you see how I seamlessly incorporated “Leo T. Ly” in this post a few of times? This will definitely help me rank better on the search engine in a few weeks for my own name.
  • Comment on other personal finance blogs using Leo T. Ly rather than an alias. I am building my presence and my brand at the same time.
  • Create a Gravatar (Global Resource Avatar) profile with my picture so that it follows me everywhere on the web when I leave a comment on other blogs
  • Create regular personal finance contents on my blog, which keeps my name active and relevant
  • Optimize each of my post to improve the post’s search result ranking, which in turn improves the ranking of my name
  • Network with other bloggers to get mentioned in their blogs like Mustard Seed Money, Passive Canadian Income, Frugal Asian Finance, and The Master Mind Within, just to name a few.

The Potential and Opportunities

Though I can’t quantify exactly the actual financial benefits that come with my online personal branding, I can visualize the future potential and the opportunities that opened up for me. Having this online presence provided me with the opportunity to add another source of income. If I really need to earn extra cash during my early retirement, I will have a great foundation to build on. At the same time, my real estate business is also getting more exposure due to my blog. If I ever want to start an online consulting business, I can also use my online personal branding as a portfolio for my work. The opportunities are endless.

My Two Cents

Many people think that if they act lawfully and keep a clean criminal record will be sufficient to keep their reputation clean and pristine. However, in today’s digital age where the world is so interconnected and abiding by the law may not be enough. People need to differentiate themselves from others of the same name. They need to represent themselves in the digital world by building and maintaining their online personal branding. They may not need the extra opportunities, but they don’t want the negative image of others to represent them in any way. Hence, own and protect your online image.

 

So, do you have an online personal branding? How important is it for you to represent yourself in the digital world? Do you think that your personal finance will be affected by negative image of another person with the same name?

 

Leo T. Ly, Canadian Personal Finance Blogger/Enthusiast and a Realtor Living in the Markam, Ontario, CanadaAbout Leo
I am a Canadian personal finance blogger/enthusiast and a Realtor living in Markham, Ontario, Canada. I built a net worth of a million dollars over a ten year period. I did it by being a disciplined saver, taking advantage of income tax rules and borrowing money to invest rather than for consumption. I am often excited to take advantage of free money from employers and governments in addition to building more passive income sources. After accumulating my first million dollars, I am now embarking on a second journey towards achieving financial independence. On this journey, I will strive to increase my net worth to two million dollars and retire by the age of 48 - Freedom 48. Come along and follow my journey on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus.



There are 46 opinions expressed on this post.

    1. @PassiveCanadianIncome, nowadays, looking up a business’ reputation like feedback and rating is quite easy. We often check other people’s feedback to ensure that we are dealing with reputable and trustworthy individuals.

  1. @Leo, I think for someone such as yourself that is in a business (real estate) it it always important to have that on-line presence AKA ‘personal branding’ to be at the top of a search engine, that is what ‘keeping up with business’ is all about.

    If I google ‘best take out restaurant’ in my area, or looking for a specific professional, then I want to see the top three or four reviews

    For a regular blogger that isn’t selling something or is using a blog to share information such as ‘personal financial idea’s’ with like minded people – maybe not so much as ‘personal branding’.

    1. @John, I think for bloggers, personal branding is important too as you want to be a leader in the material that you present (the better your brand, the better your chances of monetizing your blog). With so many bloggers out there on the net, it’s not easy to standout. One way that I think will enhance your personal branding is to be recognized voluntarily by other bloggers in the same niche.

  2. Hi! I tried searching my name via Google, and I am glad that my facebook page appeared on the first line. Yes, I believe that having an online personal branding can help us with our online related activities specifically those that we do to earn. I am impressed with your achievements. I am an employee at present and trying to find a good career online. Have a great day!
    Sharon Samson Lopez recently posted… 7 Must-Have Blogging Tools For BeginnersMy Profile

    1. @Sharon, we all need to start somewhere. Many bloggers who made it big, done pretty much the same thing as you. They have a full time job, work on their blog on the side. Once they have built a brand and has enough confidence to replace their employment income, they will go full time with their blog.

    1. @Flossie, I am happy to have made you think about your personal branding. Hopefully, you don’t have to hack your way to the top on the search engines. 🙂

  3. I totally agree with you that the world is now transitioning to the digital age and that your online presence and network can bring you amazing opportunities! Keep up the wonderful branding work the you’re doing on your blog 🙂

    1. @Milton, I commute everyday on a passenger train. I see that 80% of the people are on their mobile device when they are commuting. So our world has definitely been transformed. Hopefully, I can take up the other three of the top ten spots as the other profile that I saw is really giving my name the bad rep.

    1. @Kirstine, it’s a slow process to build your online presence when you first started. I think that it takes about six months active posting on social media to get some results.

    1. @Heather, I think that building a brand does not necessary mean that you have to share a lot of your personal information. what I meant was presenting your work in positive ways and make your mark around the niche and eventually, you’ll build up enough presence to improve your reputation.

    1. @Gideon, congrats on getting your identity back and representing yourself digitally once again. Keep on blogging and building your brand. You’ll never know what opportunity will open up for you.

  4. Very interesting to see that my name is on here. It’s shocking to see how much personal information is given….Thank goodness it’s outdated lol but WOW. Thank you for posting this and all the information it entails. It’s good to know.

    1. @Anne, one think about building a presence on the web is that whatever you’ve left out there can be found. It’s best that you keep a positive image and try to update your profile as much as you can. You want people to have access to the best version of you.

    1. @Regan, this is definitely a great way to look at things. The first thing that I wanted to do was take over my identity. The second thing is to build my influence and reach on the internet.

    1. @Gloria, if you have an blog and you want to monetize it, then you definitely have to see yourself as a brand. The more reputable it is, the better the chances for you to make money in the future.

  5. That’s why I try to improve my personal branding via social media. I had used some tips on this post and it worked. Thank you for sharing useful opinion.

    1. @Han, welcome to the I $aved $5K personal finance community. It’s great to see a fellow countrywoman drop by my blog :). Hopefully, these tips can help you build an even better brand.

    1. @David, as bloggers, we all want to be at the top of the niche that we are blogging about. It’s better late than never. I think that it takes about 1/2 a year to build a solid brand. Good luck and hope to see you at the top of the search results.

  6. Making your online presence a good one can definitely be difficult. This is some good advice on how to get your name out there.

    1. @Bobbi, it could be difficult to build your brand at first. However, if you are persistent and are motivated, it should be easier and easier as time goes by. Just like learning how to ride a bike.

    1. @Emely, if people are going to try to find out information about you, they might as well find the better version of you. Put your best foot forward :).

  7. I have never considered the importance of personal online presence before. This would help me a lot to prepare very first steps for my future career goals. Thanks for your advice, I find it really helpful. Hope you will achieve lots of success in life. 🙂

    1. @Minh, welcome to the I $saved $5K personal finance community. You’re on the right track to set yourself up for success by starting to build your online presence early. If you are just starting out on your career, it can provide you with opportunities to help you land your next gig. Or it can mitigate your risk of being mistaken for another person with the same name.

  8. This is very helpful for beginners !! I need to run some the social media things regularly in order to show presence online !!

  9. This is super helpful. I will admit that it has been years since I googled myself. This just inspired me to do this now and nothing bad came up. My blog, my social media channels and some photos that have been shared on Facebook.

  10. welcome to the online world. I have a hard time being found in a google search because my name is so common. I include my nickname as my middle name now to help people search me easier. Now I come up in the first search.

  11. I feel social media when utilized properly can improve one’s status in connection with the kind of exposure you’re willing to give your brand. I must say i have googled myself quite a number of times and still working hard to improve my online presence.

    1. @Kevin, it doesn’t hurt to build an online brand for yourself on the Internet. There is so much potential and you never know what opportunities your online brand can do for you. The more opportunities you have, the better your chance to succeed.

  12. Interesting post! I recently got married and took my husband’s name, but before that, when I googled myself (I have a pretty unique maiden name) there was another person in the states who had my name. She had a online bookclub account with some interesting selection of books like about polygamy. I wasn’t able to get her to remove it unfortunately lol so I’m glad my name is different now.
    GYM recently posted… Comment on 450 Square Feet and a Baby by genymoneyMy Profile

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