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13 Often Overlooked Places Online to Build Your Professional Brand
By Anita Campbell, Founder of Small Business Trends
It seems like every article you read about professional branding features the same big players: LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Facebook and your own blog. Those are valuable for personal branding, true. But a multitude of social networks and online branding tools exist. Some of the ones you’ve barely (or never) heard of could be the ticket to help with your small business and professional branding. Here are some of the options:
The nice thing about About.me is its business card-like feature of housing all your important information in one place. On a single screen, you can provide a high-level overview of who you are professionally, and give ways to connect. You can include:
- Headshot of yourself (it fills the screen, so make it a good one)
- Links to social media profiles
- Links to your portfolio (ideal for writers and designers)
People have questions that you have answers to. On Quora, users can ask and answer questions on a number of topics, ranging from productivity to startups. Answer questions to establish your thought leadership, and people will connect with you as a result.
Consider Alltop as your own personalized newspaper. Once you create a MyAlltop account you can share the posts and blogs that you think people ought to read to learn more about your field. Using a content curation site like this shows that you don’t always have to create your own content to show off your expertise.
4. Guest Blogging
When you blog on your own site, you’re limited in who you can reach. But if you contribute to other successful blogs, you expand your reach to new readers and potential customers. Choose a handful of respected blogs with high traffic that target your intended audience and pitch a few ideas to the blog owner.
5. Video Sharing Sites
If you’re already creating videos, reach an even wider audience by broadcasting on Ustream, Vimeo, or Justin.tv. Build a channel around a single industry, the way The Cardone Zone does, broadcast regular segments, and you’ll build a following.
6. Social Bookmarking Sites
Sharing and voting for content you like on social bookmarking sites like Reddit and BizSugar.com can establish you as a tastemaker in terms of what’s worth reading online.
If you’re vocally inclined, consider creating a podcast series at BlogTalkRadio. Podcast channels can get tens of thousands of listens or downloads, and you can share your expertise with your listeners.
If you’ve ever wondered what, exactly, people find when they search Google for you, BrandYourself can help. You can enter links you want to appear higher in search results, and the tool will give you tips on ranking higher based on activities you need to complete.
Want to develop a community on part of your website? Set up a RebelMouse page and start feeding content shared from social networks, or perhaps from clients or even regular blog visitors. RebelMouse displays it in a visually-interesting style. The company has a guide for establishing thought leadership using RebelMouse.
Using Paper.li, assemble an online “newspaper” from content you curate. Paper.li even lets you send out your newspaper as an email newsletter, and can even tweet out mentions to those whose content you curated. The company has an active brand ambassador program, too, where active users are highlighted.
If you are in a creative field and want to showcase your portfolio, Behance introduces your work to other users. Users can like, share, and comment on your projects, which can be fantastic in the way of feedback to help you on future projects.
One more content curation tool for personal branding is Scoop.it. Position yourself as someone “in the know” about your industry. Use the built-in suggestion engine to find content from around the Web on specific topics. Publish a site that is updated daily sharing industry news.
Knowem is an essential tool for claiming and reserving profiles in your personal name or brand name at over 500 sites. Not only that, you can scan its list of sites to discover new ones to use, many of them industry-specific or interest-based.
Break out of your normal small business branding routine by adding a few of these tools to your strategy and see what results you get.
Anita Campbell is a former technology company executive. She is the founder of Small Business Trends, an online publication with news, tips and resources for small businesses.
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