15 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand Online


I have a very small digital footprint. What is one step I can take to proactively build my brand online?

The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Get Published

“Publishing online, whether that’s social media, a blog or even e-books, is the best way to establish an online brand. For founders, there’s no shortage of topics to blog about, but finding time is a problem. Use a platform like Medium or LinkedIn, then just write, edit, publish and promote. It doesn’t take as much time as you think; I’ve found the results to be well worth the effort.”

Vik Patel, Future Hosting

2. Set a Measurable Goal

“Whether you want to become a repeat guest blogger or gain more followers on social media, you need to set a measurable goal. Write out your measurable goal. For example, gain 2,000 followers on Instagram or become a guest blogger for two business outlets. The best part? You can easily track your progression through social media, digital media and online tools.”

Shalyn Dever, Chatter Buzz

3. Start Publishing on LinkedIn

“I’d stick to an editorial calendar, publishing a substantial piece of content at least once a month. I’d start on LinkedIn because it’s their stated goal to become the world’s No. 1 professional publishing platform. Even with a small digital footprint, you can get disproportionately large distribution inside LinkedIn when you know how their formula works. Then you can share to other social platforms.”

Joshua Lee, StandOut Authority

4. Don’t Rule Out Paid Ads

“The words “Paid Ad” have gotten a bad rep lately. Many small business owners think it’s too expensive or too competitive, so why even try? But the truth is that companies use it because it works. And if properly researched, planned and executed, paying for ads that target the exact clients that you are looking for can be a fast, effective and profitable way to grow your online business.”

Mikhail Zabezhinsky, OceanTech

5. Start With Your FAQs

“Building a digital footprint that matters comes down to showing value to your key audiences (clients, employees, investors, and the like). To deliver value, start with 10 of your most frequently asked questions in each audience group. Begin answering them in individual blog posts on your own website. Share each post on social and content platforms (Medium, Pulse, Thought Catalog, etc.).”

Wesley Mathews, High Level Marketing

6. Find Out Where the Tribe You Want to Lead Is Hanging Out

“It’s easy to spread yourself too thin, so think about what keywords, blogs and social media sites your ideal clients and/or partners might be hanging out on. It’s much better to get known in a smaller niche than to try to be everything to everyone, so hone in on the particular topics you want to be an industry leader for and start writing authoritative articles on the leading blogs in that space.”

Nathalie Lussier, AmbitionAlly

7. Try Article Marketing

“An often overlooked step that can be very useful for proactively building your brand’s online presence is article marketing. Many people say that article marketing isn’t worth the time, but if you find the right balance of fresh, quality information and SEO terms to reach the correct audience, your articles can improve your brand’s overall reputation and passively attract clients for years to come.”

Brandon Stapper, 858 Graphics

8. Have a System

“Digital can feel overwhelming with all of the platforms to manage and with new things to try popping up all the time. Make it easier on yourself and start with a schedule and system. Compose and publish posts in advance using a tool such as HootSuite, at a scheduled time each week. When you dedicate time to create content and distribute it regularly, you’ll notice it becomes easier to expand.”

Kayla Wagner Faires, Revel Interactive

9. Create A Personal Website

“There’s no more surefire way to grow your digital footprint than by building a website on a domain name that matches your full name. That way, when people Google you, your website will be the first or near the top of the results. Just register your full name in the .com version, and create a website under your personal domain. Then, link to this domain on social media accounts and you’re set.”

Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

10. Focus on One Social Media Channel to Begin With

“Trying to expand your brand via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. at the same time will likely lead to poor results and frustration. I’d strongly advise choosing one social media channel and focusing your entire efforts there for at least 90 days. Reflect after that timeframe and adjust as necessary. Yourresults will be far better this way versus spreading yourself too thin.”

Alex Miller, PosiRank LLC

11. Seek Out Local Media Opportunities

“Network with local media personalities — both journalists and local TV reporters — and let them know what you are an expert at. You can’t expect overnight results, but with some solid relationship building you can receive some nice exposure in local online publications and local news websites. This can be a great launching platform to use to attract attention from larger publishers.”

Jonathan Long, Market Domination Media

12. Start With Simpler Social Sites Like Instagram

“Instagram is great because essentially all you need to do is share an image. On most other social media sites, video and text content thrives but it can be more time consuming to produce.”

Andrew Namminga, Andesign

13. Guest Blog

“I would start guest blogging on trade publications in your niche. Just reach out or try and meet them at an industry event. See if you can start writing articles for them on a monthly or weekly basis. This will start to establish you as an expert as well as expand your digital footprint within your niche. It will also giveyour business a lot more credibility as you become the expert.”

John Rampton, Calendar 

14. Don’t Overdo It

“Instead of taking the shotgun approach, focus on three main marketing channels and really own those before branching out to more.”

Afif Khoury, SOCi, Inc

15. Create Relevant and Engaging Content

“One of the best ways to increase your digital footprint is to create engaging content that your audience can use because it helps them solve issues or provides them with tips that can make their life more convenient, increase their business efficiency, or maximize available resources. The relevant content can be easily shared across multiple channels, rapidly increasing your digital footprint.”

Peter Daisyme, Hosting