This past Wednesday (July 15, 2008) I presented at an ISOC Israel event on the topic of day-to-day use of social media. My presentation was about personal branding, why one would want to create a personal brand online, and how to go about doing so.
In the past, creating a personal brand was solely the domain of celebrities. However, today everyone can create their own “brand,” thanks to the proliferation of online networks where one can create a branded profile, and blogs which allow owners to present their knowledge in a useful and accessible manner.
Aside from being good for one’s ego, why would people want to create their own personal brand? The reason is that it can give you a serious edge in today’s competitive business world, whether you want to secure the future of your career or promote your business. By creating quality focused content on your own blog, which you then promote via the social networks like facebook and twitter in order to increase your reach, you can position yourself as an expert in your field and even build up a community around your knowledge.
There are a number of factors involved in creating a personal brand online, but they generally boil down to the following:
- Authenticity – Be yourself. Many people think that their personality is not great, and therefore they try to fake it both online and offline. Don’t. Your personality is what makes you unique and plays an important role in your UPS (Unique Selling Point). Embrace it, don’t fight it. Plus, it’s hard to keep up a facade of a personality that isn’t really you over the long-term, and people will pick up that something’s not quite right.
- Consistent look and feel – carefully select the image you will use to represent yourself online; use consistent colors, fonts etc.
- Quality content – create quality content on your blog about the topic you have chosen to focus on. Set up your facebook and twitter profile to automatically publish links to your content on your blog.
- Building up a relevant community – find and friend/follow others who share similar interests and/or could be good leads for your business.
- Continue your brand offline – make sure your offline activity, personality, and even appearance are in sync with your online brand, and vice versa. We all love the web, however nothing can ever replace the importance and impact of face-to-face meetings, so plan to spread your personal brand offline as well.
Rinse and repeat.
The presentation is below. Note that it’s mostly in Hebrew. Let me know what you think in the comments.