It doesn’t matter if you have the perfect job and have no plans of leaving — consistent networking and personal branding efforts ensure you’ll stay on the top of your network’s members’ minds and be viewed as an authority in your field. suggests focusing on building a brand instead of a career. That starts with your interaction with others — even in the space of digital. Crafting a beneficial digital brand involves everything from visual development, to content strategy, to digital public relations. Think of yourself as a brand, and start reaping the rewards of your networking efforts.

Start with a strategy

branding best practices

Photo by Flickr user Rosaura Ochoa

Your online interactions will always need to be rooted in honesty and should accurately reflect your offline life, but it’s also important to guide your online actions with professional goals. Are you looking to be an industry thought leader? Are you looking to make more connections? Do you want to increase page views for your blog?

Once you have a purpose for your digital brand, determine what channels are best for achieving your goal. If you’re looking to make connections with people in your industry, join LinkedIn groups and participate in discussions. If you want to increase readers for your articles, build a strong network on Twitter and share other interesting news. If you want to become a more popular videographer, set up a YouTube channel for your creations. Focus on the channels that will best help you achieve your goals, and optimize them to look professional. That means having a classy head shot and building your profile with keywords you want to rank for in mind. Ask for help editing for misspellings and grammar, if you need it.

Build Relationships

Now that you’ve chosen your networks and the types of content you’ll be disseminating, start building relationships. As you start those online conversations, keep in mind what your values, talents and passions are. Start cultivating online relationships with your existing offline connections, and grow your online network based on common connections. Successful social media and personal branding techniques depend on mutual respect, which includes two-way discussions, politeness and trust — all similar to offline relationships. Find out how you can help each other, maintain contact, and be genuine in your interactions.

Also, consider registering a web domain with your name, suggests web marketing and public relations professional Brandon Uttley on Social Media Today.

Keep in Mind

Everything you do online, whether it’s as small as a Skype conversation or a lengthy email you send, reflects on your personal brand. Unlike conversation, these may also live on the Internet in some form forever — or might even appear in search results when people type your name. Remember that the digital world constantly reflects on your personal brand. Include your ideal tone of voice in your personal brand strategy, and make sure to stay consistent in interactions. Don’t hit send hastily without making sure your personal brand is well-represented