Did you know that there is a continuous party going on right now? It’s never-ending, and provides unlimited opportunities to connect, share and grow. Welcome to the world of social media, where you have the chance to make your dreams come true, all detailed in Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself by Erik Deckers and Kyle Lacey.
Are you looking to land the job of your dreams? Perhaps you’ve started your own business and are looking to grow your customer or client base. In the past you may have made the decision to move to a major metropolis where there was more going on and where the opportunities seemed endless just to try and get your foot in the door.
Thankfully with all the advances in technology, taking such a drastic first step is no longer necessary! When used well, social media can help you create a personal brand which will resonate with others and aid you in building the connections you need to make your personal or career aspirations a reality.
The Big Idea
Everyone can benefit from self-promotion
"...but if you want to make a name for yourself, establish a good reputation, finally get that corner office, or even own your own successful business, you need to promote yourself."
Regardless of who you are, or what you do, social media can be invaluable in helping you reach the next level. From Facebook and Twitter, to personal blogs and LinkedIn, there are multiple platforms available to help you tell your story, and manage your personal brand.
With so much competition out there, it is imperative to create a personal brand that will help you stand out from everyone else. Although it may sound difficult, creating a personal brand is really all about creating the type of emotional response you want people to have when they hear your name, meet you in person, or see your profile online.
We all have a unique story, and even though we may be uncomfortable with the idea of self-promotion, it is important to realize that self-promotion is really just another way of telling our story to the world, and keeping our contacts updated on what is going on in our lives.
Weaving a fine tapestry
"Don’t use only one tool - If you are building a workbench, do you use only a hammer? No. It takes a mitre saw, a tape measure, and a drill. The same concept applies to launch your campaign. Don’t use only Twitter or only Facebook to build your personal brand."
With so many different social media platforms available, it may seem difficult to limit yourself to only one or two tools. The beauty of using social media to create your personal brand is that the more tools you implement, the stronger your personal brand becomes.
Much like weaving a tapestry that becomes more interesting and complex depending on the amount of colours and textures of fabric used, your personal brand becomes more enticing when you are using the different forms of social media in harmony to tell a cohesive story about who you are.
From a blog where you can tell longer stories, to Twitter where you are constantly updating the world and sharing content that will bring value to other people’s lives, it is imperative that you are consistent in the brand that you are creating. This means that launching a personal branding campaign is not something to be entered into lightly, but rather something that is intentional and well thought out. No major brand ever started advertising without first having a solid plan, and you neither should you!
Let your personality shine through
"Social media has blurred the line between our personal and professional lives anyway, so there’s nothing wrong with letting some of your ‘public personal’ life bleed over into your professional life."
Much like walking a tight rope, finding the right blend of personal and professional in your brand requires a fine balance. Though sharing a bit of your personal life may not help in building credibility from a professional standpoint, it is through the sharing of some of this personal information that people come to know, and also trust you. This trust is what will motivate individuals to want to become involved in what you are doing.
The fine balance comes from making sure that if you are writing or sharing information on a blog or account that is used strictly for professional branding that you don’t become too personal or too controversial. Potential employers or business contacts may be turned off by such content, and this can have a negative impact on your professional reputation.
A good rule of thumb to keep in mind when using social media to work on your branding campaign is that if you would be embarrassed for your boss, a potential employer, or any other business contact to hear you say it, then don’t post it. You need to own your brand, and everything associated with it.
Branding Yourself by Erik Deckers and Kyle Lacy is a great book filled with information about creating your brand, and contains a lot of hands on strategies for using all of the different social media tools available to us. For those just jumping into the use of social media, this book offers invaluable information on everything from setting up a Linkedin Profile to how to decide which blogging platform is best for your needs.
Though perhaps a bit technical, especially for those already familiar with the ins and outs of social media platforms, the book offers great insights on what branding actually is, and how to go about launching a successful branding campaign.
At the end of the day, branding yourself is really an exercise in becoming clear about who you are, and what you stand for. In order to create your brand, you have to know exactly who you are. Though it can be challenging to put down on paper in a few sentences what you are all about, there is something freeing about realizing your purpose and sharing your passions with the world. We are all unique with our own gifts and talents to share, and we owe it to everyone else to share our story. Who knows what opportunities await us once we start on the adventure of using social media to brand ourselves!