Optimizing Your Professional Digital Brand

In today’s increasingly digital career world, maintaining a positive public image and a professional personal brand has become an emerging asset. Social media has changed the game for personal branding, making your online brand just as important as your “in person” brand. A “personal digital brand” is a recent term to describe a strategic self-marketing effort created via social media platforms to promote an individual’s professional online image (Kleppinger, 2015).  The largest professional networking platform is LinkedIn, with over 350 million regular users. LinkedIn links corporate culture and social media culture to connect job seekers with potential employers. The social-corporate platform plays a major role in personal branding strategy and is essential in establishing a professional career in today’s digital world. Knowing your LinkedIn profile is on display for millions of employers to view is an intimidating thought; however, with the help of William Arruda’s exploratory research, “Personal Branding in the Digital World” you will learn what it takes to optimize your profile and successfully translate your real-world brand for the virtual professional world.

Arruda’s research provides insight on the deciding factors that need to be considered when creating your online personal brand and that it remain “authentic, compelling, and relevant.” Arruda explains that the first step in building your brand involves authentic self-reflection because you cannot promote a brand that is not true to you. You must ask yourself, “What unique ingredient do you contribute to everything you do? What do you do better than anyone else? What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” A brand that has successfully articulated answers to these questions is Apple. Arruda states, “Apple owns the brand attribute of innovation because everything it does, from its products to stores to how you navigate its website, is innovative” (p. 44). Once you achieve brand clarity, you can then connect your attributes to one of your most important career tools: a bio. A bio is essentially an engaging elevator pitch that tells your story and captivates your audience. Yes, your resume is an important career tool, but it is just a document. Your bio however, is your emotionally-charged story that connects you to your audience in a personal way that your resume cannot. The author’s findings state to keep in mind that “your brand is relevant for today and positions you for where you want to be tomorrow” when creating your online brand identity.

After you have had time to analyze how you wish to perceive your brand, you are ready to digitalize it. With online branding, Arruda developed a mnemonic called, “B-GRACEFUL” to remember nine actions you should maintain monthly to keep up your digital brand. The author’s mnemonic is the following,

Bolster: think of one thing you have accomplished that you can use to enhance your profile.

Give: commit to one monthly act of “digital kindness” such as re-sharing content your company posts or promoting colleague’s content.

Refine: update your bio/headshot or any minor edits so profile is up to date.

Act: take social action by liking, commenting or sharing posts from connections. Connect: make your LinkedIn connections current, add people you have met during the past month.

Ego-surf: Google yourself to see what changes have occurred to your online presence. Follow: choose one hashtag you follow and check out what’s happening on that topic in all social media accounts.

Update: commit to at least one monthly post.

Learn: read an article in one of your favorite publications or listen to educational podcast.

For those using their LinkedIn as a professional job search platform, using Arruda’s tips will help you stand out among skilled recruiters and hiring managers who analyze your overall profile and personal brand to see if it matches the position and company you applied for.

Arruda goes on to mention that creating a personal digital brand –is not about you, but who you seek to influence and engage with. Once you find what makes you unique you must employ some of these strategic ways to help differentiate your brand from others. Overall, the author presents helpful strategies which will allow for a better understanding of how to use social media, specifically LinkedIn to achieve and build your personal brand online. After analyzing Arruda’s article, I was reminded of Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, famous quote, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” In other words, your personal brand is your reputation and how you are seen in people’s minds online and offline. While having a personal brand has recently emerged in the IMC (Integrated Marketing Communication) world–it is here to stay.

Bio: Alana Myers is a Communication Studies senior at the University of North Carolina Wilmington graduating this Spring 2020. After graduation, she hopes to find a job in Wilmington or Raleigh in either Public Relations, Social Media Marketing, etc. Go Seahawks!


Arruda, W. (2019). Personal branding in the digital world. Talent Development, 73(2), 42-47. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-


Kleppinger, C. A., & Cain, J. (2015). Personal digital branding as a professional asset in the digital age. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 79(6), 1-4. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.liblink.uncw.edu/docview/1719226331?accountid=14606