No matter where you are in the Northern Hemisphere, you've probably heard the news: Spring is here!
The tulips are poppin', the wardrobes are changing over, unused items are being lugged to the curb, we're switching our retinols for Vitamin C. Everywhere, it seems, the signal is being heard to shed the dull, tired slog of winter and burst forth into new growth.
We all know the landscape of Spring cleaning, but perhaps we haven't quite taken it as far as it can go – which is to say: a complete overhaul of your personal brand.
We live in a beautiful world, with infinite possibilities for employment; whether you're a freelancer, a business-owner, or in a 9-5, there's room for everyone to give their work life a much-needed refresher. Let's talk about Spring Cleaning for You Dot Com! 🌷
1) Clean up your social media presence.
Whether you're looking for a new gig or just hoping to attract new clients, revitalizing the way the world sees you is of vital importance. By investing in a few solid hours of upkeep on your profiles (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc), you open the doors up to a more intentionally-curated user experience of your brand.
- Change your profile picture. If it's been a minute since you've updated your profile picture, it may be time for a fresh face! Upload a photo that is both professional and shows off your core values. Example: if you're a life coach, make sure to use a photo that shows off the prowess you have and why people should hire you! Have any photos of yourself delivering presentations in front of large groups? What about leading a kayaking trip, or climbing a mountain? Visitors to your page are sure to associate your image with someone who they can trust with their well-being.
- Make sure your "About Me" section is full of things you want to be known for professionally. We think it's cool that you won a hot dog eating contest in Nantucket last summer, but if you're not Guy Fieri, you may want to change it to something more professional.
- Check your pals. If you've got friends or contacts who aren't actual people, or who are actively pulling phishing scams, it can seriously hurt your credibility. Likewise, if you're not a religious organization yourself, you may want to steer clear of friending too many theologically-based companies, lest clients get the wrong idea.
- This is basic, but holds weight: make sure your important details are front and center, as well as still accurate. What days do you work? Is the email address listed still your go-to? If you have any upcoming travel where you plan to be unavailable, is that information readily accessible to potential clients?
- Bonus: If you're looking for some extra attention from us, here's some quick tips to make sure you're getting the social media notice you deserve!
2) Make your voice heard, and keep at it.
Part of developing, and sustaining, a brand in today's world means providing a steady stream of uniquely-crafted information that allows your clients to maintain interest in the work you do in the world. For example, it's not enough for therapists to just be therapists anymore; rather, there is an increased number of mental health professionals utilizing services such as Instagram to stay connected with clients and potential clients more frequently than appointment-times. These posts offer tips on common mental-health pitfalls such as establishing healthy boundaries, saying no to toxic exes, or getting enough sleep. Amazingly, they can also be customizable to the seasons, month, political landscape, etc (hellllo election season, helloooo Seasonal Affective Disorder).
Luckily, this steady connection can be achieved in many ways, so it's easy to find the type of engagement that works for you. Many companies or individuals like the narrative components of blogging or creating podcasts, while others prefer epistolary forms, such as newsletters (TinyLetter and MailChimp are great for this).
Whatever medium you decide on, make sure you stick to it. Make an attainable goal for yourself (say, committing to writing one blog post per week for an entire season) so that you create consistency with your audience. Remember, the point of offering this service is to build a trusting connection with your client, which helps to establish rapport and authority over time. All of your good work would be completely undone if you don't commit to following through on your info stream.
3) Consider your availability, and update it if need be.
This is especially important if you're an individual/sole proprietor, but also translates to larger business models as well. If you're working on developing a trusting connection with your clients and potential customers, how available do you want to be to them to field their calls or questions?
If the answer is 'as available as possible!' then make sure you've got the technological infrastructure to support that goal. How are people able to get a hold of you? Do you have certain hours of the day that you dedicate to answering emails, phone calls, DMs?
If the answer is 'only marginally available!', then – likewise – make sure you're set up to achieve that goal while not losing customers in the process. This means having thorough, reliable information on your website or social media pages that allows clients to find answers to their questions on their own, as easily as possible. Perhaps consider an FAQ page, if you don't already have one, or if you're really tech-savvy, a search bot on your site that generates answers for the most basic questions.
Regardless, communicate your communication standards openly and kindly. Nothing beats having an automated reply letting customers know exactly when you plan to get back to them– and responding to them even sooner.
4) Get aligned with your core values.
What are your goals for the year? How are you achieving them? If you're looking to connect with other businesses and business people, how are you going about doing that? If community is important, how are you working to uphold others in your sphere, and how are you empowering others to uphold you?
Lucky for us, technology makes connection easy. Feeling like an island unto yourself? Join a Facebook group of like-minded folks. Consider making connections with other businesses or contractors, and offering specials to workers at that organization, or customers who frequent that organization. If you've decided to make a goal of blogging, podcasting, or newslettering, you can even include interviews with higher-ups or employees at said companies to highlight their achievements. It takes a village to be a business, and the wisest among us not only know this, but use it to their advantage. This will also attract customers who want to see more community-centrism in the places they support with their money, so it's a win-win for everyone.
5) Engage with others.
This one is an extension of all of the others listed here, but its every bit as important. Do you have an active online presence? Are you responding to the work of those in your field?
If not, consider starting! Current and potential customers like to know that you've got some authority in your field. So, if you're a hairdresser, say, then putting up a blog post, Facebook update, or Tweet about Dyson's new hair dryer would show that you're a person who is committed to staying current with trends and tools in the industry. If you're a media company, how do you feel about the idea of journalism on the blockchain? As a financial advisor or wealth manager, what are the most current pitfalls everyday citizens are falling into when it comes to their money?
You can even engage on a political level with current discourse, like the Gillette ad did with the concept of toxic masculinity (even calling themselves out in their previous iterations). This tactic shows that you're part of a company or brand that values what the public has to say, and is willing to modify old behavior to meet current needs.
Whatever your Spring cleaning routines, we hope that these tips offer a few useful ideas for launching yourself into the warmer, happier months with a fresh face. 🌷