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What’s your personal brand? If you don’t know, no one else does either. And that’s a problem. Today, Social Business is conducted on a variety of platforms including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pintrest and even SnapChat, depending on your product offering and the audience(s) you are trying to reach. But Social Business is more than just companies marketing their wares via some new electronic channels.
These free platforms now allow us all to create, manage and project our own personal/professional brand to exactly the right people we want and need to be known by. The power of this is enormous and should not be underestimated. You need to stop thinking of platforms like LinkedIn as just a place to post your electronic resume. Here are seven things you need to remember to effectively create and manage your personal brand:
Do it NOW while times are good
The time to start marketing yourself is not after you’ve been downsized. By making these efforts during “good” times you are building your network, credibility, visibility, and projecting yourself as a mover and a shaker in your field long before the day you need or want to make a move. When that day comes there will be plenty of folks who know you and would likely want to draw on your skills and expertise for their own company’s benefit.
Share what you know
If you’ve been doing your job for five years or more, you have something to offer. If you’ve been doing it for ten or more years consider yourself an expert! Many people think of themselves as always learning, which is great, but stop to consider how much you’ve learned for years working in your field of expertise. You know a great deal about your industry, technologies, best practices, and also how to really screw things up (that’s valuable too!). You are now a teacher. Sharing what you know through articles or blogs on platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter establishes you as someone with valuable skills and experience, and helps others with less experience do their job better. It elevates your standing and begins to set you (and your company) apart as having something worthwhile to contribute.
Find the people who matter
Spend the time to build your network professionally by identifying people within your industry and related industries who are your peers as well as those in more senior roles. Consider the rich array of pools available for you to explore (alma mater(s), previous employers, competitors, social organizations you belong to, various industry groups, etc.) Build your network with an eye towards what matters to you in the near term as well as the long term. Not all will agree to connect, but as you build your reputation, few will decline.
Don’t puff yourself to be something you’re not. Be honest about who you are, what you’ve done, your accomplishments and your failures (often the most valuable thing you have to offer others). Find a voice that is comfortable to you and write pieces that someone coming up behind you would benefit from. Writing from your direct world experience is interesting and compelling. If you’re comfortable with a little humor, use it. If not, steer clear of it. Sarcasm is not a good idea as it comes off smarmy and unprofessional. Be positive. Be kind. Be helpful. Always share articles and blogs written by others you found helpful or insightful. You will attract a following.
Become a generous giver. Many people aren’t comfortable writing. No problem. Find a few good sources of content on line that are reliably high quality creators of helpful and valuable ideas, advice, and insights. Share their information with your network or individuals within your network that you feel would benefit from it. Do not limit what you share to company marketing pieces that simply drown your network with electronic “glossies” about your products or services.
Stay with it
This is a long term effort. This is not something you do once and then move on. Think of it as a garden, once it’s planted a little tending each day will yield food you will live off of for many years. Stay close to it and spend a few minutes each day to share something or to write something useful, interesting, insightful, or helpful. Don’t overdo it. You don’t want to turn people off nor do you want to develop “I-itis”. The goal is to become a useful and contributing member of your on-line community, not a celebrity.
Your company benefits as much as you do
Once you begin to be seen as someone with valuable ideas and experiences you will notice your profile views growing. People will want to know who you are, where you work, what you do, etc. Your company will benefit from the exposure. Naturally if you’re sharing or providing helpful information it will be related to the work you do and the products and services your company provides. Your new connections with interests in your posts will often be prospects for your company, and will occasionally reach out to you with needs they suspect your company may be able to fill. By marketing yourself, you are raising your company’s credibility and standing along with your own.
Start marketing your personal brand NOW! You will do yourself and your company a great service. Failing to do so will leave you isolated in an increasingly connected business world.
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