Here’s a new acronym to learn: POB. It’s shorthand for Personal Online Brand. Many people you meet as you network will search online to view your POB. So, although you won’t find this word in a dictionary, it’s extremely important. Your POB is the snapshot of who you are. It includes your online friends, points of view, and professional accomplishments. If you haven’t thought about how your POB stacks up, now might be a good time to work on it. After all, year-end and the beginning of the year are the best times to assess, start anew, and focus.
But before you do that, why do you want an online brand at all?
A strong POB mitigates your risk. Let’s face it, the work environment is uncertain. You want to be seriously considered for any potential career opportunities that may arise. You should have a solid online brand presence that highlights who you are professionally and personally. This way, you’ll be found if a hiring manager or recruiter is looking for someone like yourself; you’ll be taken seriously when your accomplishments are being assessed; and your POB will support the message you are trying to convey about yourself, your expertise, and the value you can deliver. The best part is that your POB, your online brand, is mobile, so you don’t have to start over each time you begin a new job. Now, when you decide to strengthen/focus your POB, you should keep one thing in mind:
A strong POB provides consistent messages about you. If you go to a fine restaurant that was recommended by a friend, you can expect a certain experience. As a matter of fact, that experience is what makes you come back or not. If you go back a second time and you have that great experience again, you’ll solidify your feelings about the restaurant and you’ll keep going back. Why? Because you’ll know what to expect.
How does this translate to your POB? People want consistency when they think about you and your brand and when they consider engaging you for an executive position, project, or otherwise.. So, be consistent in your POB and cognizant of the messages you send when you highlight your accomplishments when posting to your online accounts, because those who will consider engaging you will like to know what to expect.
If you’re unsure of how your POB reads right now, just google yourself and you’ll find out pretty quickly. The online world is transparent, so the consistency of the message you send about yourself should carry through to your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other online brand platforms.
Create a strong POB yourself, or get help with it. When you do decide to strengthen your POB, you can do it yourself or you can hire a professional online marketer who can do it for you. If you decide to do it yourself, you can get tips online and/or, since imitation is the best form of flattery, you can certainly see how peers in your industry are building their POB and then, replicate their approach.
Whichever way you choose however, keep asking yourself: What is my POB and how well is it working for me?