By Liezel van der Westhuizen
Checked the calendar today? We’re well into spring and summer lies ahead like the proverbial deckchair. So this is your personal brand wake-up call – it’s important to cut the clutter, press refresh, and simply update and trim down to get your personal brand into its very best shape this Spring. By the time Summer holidays come around, your time will be zapped with year-end parties, Christmas parties, family descending and more! Rather get your personal brand into the very best shape now, with these 31 tips.

1. Figure out who you are.
In order to build a personal brand that accurately reflects your personal and professional identity, you first need to know who you are. Be introspective, and create a list of your personal strengths and weaknesses.

2. Determine what you want to be known for.

3. Define your target audience.
These are the folk who will be buying your products or services, and for whom you will be striving to solve problems to make their lives easier.

4. Capture yourself.
Your brand needs a great caricature or classic photo that reflects you perfectly. Set up a professional shoot if you don’t have any good quality pics or your old ones seem outdated.

5. Do your homework.
Spend some time researching your desired industry and following its experts on their blogs and social media profiles.

6. Change your Facebook profile photo.
Ideally, it should be a fresh one in which you look like you’re having fun.

7. Update your Facebook background photo.
Once again, it should reflect your brand and where you want it to go. It could showcase the latest media exposure you have received, show you at an event that you dressed up for, or reveal what you sell or do each day to draw in your target audience.

8. Personalise your Facebook URL.
It’s easier than it seems: simply go to General Account Settings, click the Edit link beside your current vanity URL or Username, type in the Username you want and check availability. If you’re lucky and no-one’s taken it yet, click the Save Changes button right away!

9. Select a new LinkedIn Photo.
It’s ideal to look as you would in a client meeting or job interview – smart and professional, yet approachable and enthusiastic.

10. Update your LinkedIn Bio.
It should accurately reflect what you currently do.

11. Refresh your LinkedIn Profile.
You want it to reveal your latest experience, courses and skills.

12. Personalise your LinkedIn URL.
This involves choosing the “Me” icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage, clicking “View Profile” and then selecting “Edit Public Profile & URL” on the right rail. Under “Edit Your Custom URL” on the top right, type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box. Save without delay!

13. Refresh your LinkedIn banner photo.
It should reinforce who you are and visually support the written aspect of your profile.

14. Invest in a professional email signature.
Get a graphic designer to lay this out for you and install it, so that it signs off each email as you see fit.

15. Organise industry events.
You’ll make a name for yourself as a professional who has knowledge and insight to offer for the enrichment of others.

16. Network with peers.
Attend as many industry masterminds and conferences as possible, so you get to know your peers and their strengths and weaknesses.

17. Join local, national and international brand communities.
These business forums and professional groups will help you upskill and gain know-how to position yourself as an expert.

18. Write for a local newspaper or magazine.
This is another way to position yourself at the top of your niche.

19. Attend or organise meetups of industry folks and their followers.

20. Apply to speak at local and industry events.

21. Participate in valuable networking events.

22. Share your expertise.
This will allow you to appear visible and accessible at all times.

23. Organise or attend tweetups.
Meeting up in person with like-minded industry members will help you all make friends, share ideas and strengthen your personal brands and networks.

24. Integrate your brand into every aspect of your business. Consult a personal branding coach if you’re unsure of how to do this.

25. Create and apply personal design guidelines.
Related to your logo, colours and much more, these guidelines will share your brand values repeatedly and can be reused both online and offline.

26. Choose a domain name and secure a web host.
It pays to seamlessly build the clout of your website, without fearing you will lose the domain name. A search engine optimisation is the next expert you may like to invest in, to ensure your website is as effective as possible at reaching your target audience.

27. Guest blog.
This will help to promote your brand in significant and worthy places.

28. Collaborate with like-minded professionals.

29. Recognise people who have mentored you, assisted you or given you great service. Shining the light on others is excellent for business.

30. Work on your elevator pitch.
This is that succint and persuasive sales pitch that will make people look you up online immediately after meeting you.

31. Be sincere in all you do.

Done all the above? You rock! Your presonal brand should now appear streamlined and best positioned to get your name out there in exactly the way you want it to. After completing all the tasks above, you should also have a good idea of where you are going and what you want to achieve in the last stretch of 2019 – and into the New Year too.