I’ve got a dumb question. Ever tried to hit a nail into a wall without a hammer?

Personal Branding Tools -Hammer

Well, when I first moved into my apartment that’s exactly what I did. I wanted to get some pictures up on my depressingly bare walls. A little search got me a box of nails from an earlier project, but no hammer. So what bright idea crossed my mind?

“I have a bunch of heavy books why not just use that?”

Let me tell ya –bad idea.It was hard, it didn’t really work and after several useless attempts I gave up.

Are you using the same the right tools with your personal branding efforts? Books are for reading not hammering nails into walls.That’s what hammers are for.

Whether you are an entrepreneur, a college student for even an employee wanting to move up in the chain, we’ve figured out by now personal branding will get you to that next step. But what tools do you use?

Here are 8 online tools to help develop your personal brand

1. LinkedIn

Get cozy with LinkedIn because it all starts here. No matter how many websites crop up giving you new and fun ways to showcase your skills, you’ve got to start with a completed LinkedIn profile. It is after all one of the websites that comes up highly in search results if someone were to search your name, so you’ve got to dominate your LinkedIn profile.

Here’s a short to-do for LinkedIn:

Create a profile if you haven’t done so already. Tweak your profile to present your current and future opportunities. Find keywords that would describe you and plug them in. Complete all your profile information. Ask people you have worked with for recommendations.

2. LinkedIn Groups

Make this your new hang out. There are LinkedIn groups for just about any career or profession, so find two groups and join them for starters. Don’t go on a join-every-group frenzy because it will be tough to keep up with them all. Just start small and see what you can learn.

Here are some tips before you join:

Search for niche groups like groups that are in your local area and your field, or even worldwide. Check out the groups analytics on the right sidebar halfway down the page. This gives you a snap shot of who is in the group. If it’s an open group you can check out some of their recent discussions to see if they are relevant to you.

Once you are admitted into a group. Wade in slowly first. Get a feel for the group y reading several discussions, then become more active and take part in more discussions or find other groups. By creating these connections when you don’t need them, they will be more useful when you do.

3. Twitter

Some people use Twitter for personal communication with friends. Some people use it for business. If you are in the business of building a brand, I would recommend using it for both. Start by making your posts public so people can see the content you share whether you are connected to them or not. Be yourself, but don’t give too much info (TMI). I’ve seen that happen. Don’t worry too much about the follower numbers, being active enough and engage with the right audience is a lot better than having a bunch of followers who are not even remotely interested in the stuff you produce. So build for the right audience.

4. About.Me

If you are looking for a simple platform to host all your accounts then about.me is a good website to look into. It lets you build your profile in a matter of minutes, and link all your accounts such as LinkedIn, Twitter and your blog in one place. It’s an easy alternative for people who do not want to invest in a blog or personal website I haven’t explored the tool beyond building a basic page, but I’m sure there are links to sharing content on there as well.

5. Google Alerts

Start monitoring what is being said about you online. Set up a Google alert early on so that if someone does mention you’ll know right away and can respond. Google alerts helps by tracking your mentions and sending you e-mail notification. You can set it up to e-mail you as it happened or once a day/week. It’s helpful if you also want to follow trends around a topic that you are invested in since it will limit the amount of links you get to only the best ones in that topic.

6. Social mention

Social mention works like Google Alerts only it alerts out of mentions of your name in blog posts, comments and social media. Basically what others are monitors conversations around your name. Once again, set it up just to alert you. As you start out with building your brand you may not have as many mentions but the only inconvenience really is the 5 minutes it will take to set it up.

7. Namechk

Say you want to use your name across all social media profiles. You can use Namechk to see which accounts will allow you to post under your name and which will not. Claim your name across the major social networks as a tactical advantage, you might not go further than setting up a profile and feeding blog posts into it once in a while, but if it does end up being useful to you it will be under your brand. This is also helpful if you have a name similar to someone else, that way you can look for something unique and then set it up to match across most of the major platform –consistency is one of the pillars of a great brand.

8. Personal domain

Are you going to blog? Or build a name sake website? I’d argue that you should (Check out my post on owning your digital footprint). There are plenty of plenty of tutorials, tools, tips and out there. Block out a weekend and take a gander on WordPress.com, or your own website hosting platform there are plenty of options such as building a website with a service like RebelMouse.

And there you have it 9 tools to use to hammer that nail in building your online brand. If you were wondering what I did with that picture well here it is:

Personal branding tools -Nail to the hammer

Turns out the apartment ledge that runs across the room is pretty handy for frames too. Problem solved! 🙂

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