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Developing and maintaining your own personal brand takes time, energy and thoughtfulness, but the potential for long-lasting rewards is worth the effort. Possible benefits of establishing a meaningful personal brand include successful business relationships, rewarding philanthropic opportunities and positive networking alliances — to name a few. A personal brand is not something you can whip out quickly, or push off to the side once it’s launched. It requires attention. But if you give it the nurturing it demands, you can look forward to experiencing ongoing positive results.

If you have a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account – or participate in any other social media interface – hundreds, if not thousands, of people are liking your posts, reading your tweets or following your updates. These accounts serve as windows to your world, and they have the power to support the development of your own personal brand. You’re putting new information out there, offering your take on things. You’re also following, even endorsing, people and companies. And it’s all traceable, living in cyberspace forever. Now is the time to be thoughtful, intentional and strategic about what you post, who you follow and where you connect. Because this is the information people will link you with, and this is part of your brand.

If you decide to acknowledge your brand, how you choose to nurture your brand will dictate its usefulness, value and significance to your career. According to Forbes, here are five ways to cultivate your own personal brand.

  1. Accept that you are a brand. Brands are not just big companies. Every person, thanks in part to social media, is a brand. Once you accept this, you will be more thoughtful about what forms your digital footprint. What do you want people to think of when they think of you? Are you creative, entrepreneurial, academic? What is your thing? Your niche? Whatever it is, remember to keep that front and centre when you are representing your brand online. That doesn’t mean you can’t be human, it just means you have a filter which controls your message.
  1. Be aware of your brand. See what comes up when you Google yourself. Do you have a presence? If so, what is it? How do you want to change it? If nothing shows up, you have an opportunity to shape and launch it.
  1. Buy a domain and create a website. Keep it simple if you need to so you can get it up and running. You can always change it, edit it, grow it in the future. Having that online space gives you a place to link from and drive others to.
  1. Offer value. If you have something useful, helpful, interesting or newsy to share, do so. But don’t participate in social media just because you can. Anyone can post, like, tweet and follow. To establish and maintain a strong brand, remember to engage in social media with purpose, meaning and intention.
  1. Keep good company. Associate with people and brands that you admire or with whom you share values. It’s all part of nurturing your brand. Leverage relationships that are worthwhile to you, such as people from your University, former supervisors or current colleagues. If you are in need of growing your professional relationships, consider earning credentials online at Coventry University College Online. In addition to the academic knowledge and vocation skills today’s employers want you to know, you’ll meet other people in your profession who can recommend you for future positions at their organisations.

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