Do you know if all the effort you put into your Web presence is paying off? Here are a few easy ways to find out fast.
The best kind of personal branding is three-pronged:
(1) Real-world communications activities (like public speaking, writing articles for print publications); (2) Virtual visibility; and (3) Community-building through social media.
Not only can you reach beyond your immediate circle, you can measure the influence your actions have on the broader online community.
Measuring your personal brand’s success is easy. But have you tried yet? Do you know how big your brand is on the Web?
Here are five easy-to-use W eb tools to help you get a handle on how powerful and prevalent your virtual personal brand is:
Google Alerts [www.google.com/alerts]
Google Alerts notify you via e-mail when your name shows up on the Web, and it provides links to the reference sites so you can see exactly what’s being said. This is a great way to stay on top of all references to your name. When you establish your alerts, remember to put your name in quotation marks (“William Arruda”) so the results you get match your name exactly. You can receive alerts in real time or in daily or weekly digests.
You can also use Google Alerts to track Web developments related to your area of expertise. For example, I have a Google Alert set up for “personal branding” so I can stay on top the latest articles and conversations related to my passion.
TweetBeep is like Google Alerts for Twitter. It lets you track Twitter conversations that mention you. The updates are hourly, so you can stay connected and respond to relevant conversations. You can also track who’s writing about (“tweeting”) your Web site or blog. As Twitter becomes more and more popular, this tool will not only help you network efficiently, it will allow you to connect with those who are tweeting about you.
Online ID Calculator [www.onlineidcalculator.com]
We developed this tool because we saw that there was no way to measure the strength of your online reputation. In doing research for our book “Career Distinction,” we learned that when people google someone, they judge the results based on two factors: volume and relevance. Volume speaks to the quantity of results on the Web. If there are a lot of results for a search on your name, surely you have something to say.
Relevance is an even more important element. When someone googles you, he wants to assess what it says about you. Is it consistent with how you show up in the real world? Does it back up what you say on your resume or through your interactions with others? Is it compelling? Does it make those who are searching about you want to get to know you? What does it say about your personal brand?
Use the Online ID Calculator now, and you will have a baseline understanding of your current online ID. Then, after a major online personal-branding campaign, you can use it again to see how the campaign affected your score.
This is a great tool to track the links that you include in your Web-based articles, blog and Twitter posts. It’s helpful because it shortens standard URLs (and this is critical – especially since tweets are limited to 140 characters); however, its true value lies in its tracking tools. With Bit.ly, you’re able to see in real time the frequency with which your links are clicked. This helps you understand the relative popularity of the items you post. It’s a great way to measure which sources are most popular (since you can use different bit.ly links for your blog and Twitter posts) and which posts/links generate the greatest interest.
This is an extremely useful tool that provides a comprehensive snapshot of how your brand shows up across many online search engines, including video search engines. Type your name in quotes (“William Arruda”), and see a custom page created just for you with input from Google, Twitter, Bing (Microsoft’s new decision engine), FriendFeed, Twingly YouTube, Digg, Flickr, Delicious, BlogLines, Truveo, Wikio, Yahoo, Technorati, etc. You can also use Addictomatic to get a picture of what’s happening on the WWW for your area of expertise.
With all of these tools, remember: Your results represent a snapshot in time. The Web is a dynamic place. You need to be vigilant and continue to use these tools to measure the currency of your personal brand.