Social Media, Personal Brand and You

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I recently presented to the CIPD Student conference on social media for personal brand. Here’s a summary of what I had to say for your reading pleasure.

Personal brand is the idea that people can manage and promote their personal reputations in a similar way to organisations managing their consumer brands. There are some formal definitions on Wikipedia… but my personal favourite is this explanation. It’s what people say about you when you are not in the room.

Social media presents an opportunity to create and manage a personal brand in an effective way.

Why would you bother? I suggested that there are three reasons…. followed by an important question to answer.

You can use social media to build your personal credibility, to position yourself, and to create opportunities. It provides a way for you to say this is what I know about, this is what my area of expertise, this is what I bring to the party.  It is a way of connecting, engaging, promoting and learning.

But before you start you do need to consider: what do you want to be known for? This is the essence of a personal brand.  This is the what you want people to say about you when you are not in the room.

From there, everything else flows.

If you want to use social media for your personal brand, here is some stuff to think about:

  • Your elevator pitch. What is it? What is your thing? How do you explain who you are and what it is that you do?
  • Your image. This is partly about your actual image – the photographs you use, how professional you look (no pub pics please). But it’s also about your Twitter bio and your LinkedIn headline and your blog strapline. Put together, what is the image you portray?
  • Create a personal policy. Not an actual written one (unless you like that sort of thing), but just a few rules for yourself. If you use lots of social media platforms, which ones are private and which ones are for public consumption? What will you share…. and what won’t you?
  • Clear up. When you have your personal policy in place, clear up the past. Delete your dodgy photos, remove that which doesn’t present the personal brand you are aiming for. Or, leave them where they are and lock down your privacy settings.
  • Pick your platforms. You can’t do every platform well, so don’t even try. Instead, decide which are the right ones for you, and do them really well. Before deciding – figure out just where on social media the people you want to influence are likely to be.
  • Play to your strengths. If you can write, blog. If you can take great photographs, go shoot. If you have a face for video…. you get my point. Show off your skills.

And finally, of course, my standard advice for getting a little bit more social. Be you.  Dive in.  Share Stuff.

A consumer brand is more than the sum of the products that they sell or the services that they provide. In the same way, you are more than the sum of your job title and list of qualifications.  So if you want a kick-ass personal brand, social media is the place to start.

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