Personal Branding In Social Networking: How To Really Work It
I stumbled across a great post by Sarah Evans discussing social media dos and don’ts for both business and personal branding, and it really got me thinking on my online conduct thus far. Her post manages to amass the principal ‘edicts’ of social media use and drive them home in a comprehensive guide for the rest of us. By the end of it I’d come to realise how guilty I’d become of trying to fit into particular niches in my early stages of social networking. No, it doesn’t make you an odious online presence forevermore, and you’re not too far gone to adjust how you manage interactive experiences for you or your business.
Learning how to “be”:
So, how does one regroup and retrain into something more affably “transparent”? Authentic? Social media content’s rapid viral growth tends to necessitate our best behaviour anyway, as over time, fake incarnations of openness will return to haunt you. “Personal branding” is in reality all about vesting interest in our reputation and how others interface with us. Graffikdotcom reiterates this perfectly by posing the question “can I provide enough consistent value to make the effort worthwhile?” If we can’t provide leadup and regularity after establishing the connection, it could cast you into a pretty poor light. Our ‘brand’ is our projection of who we are, or our mission/vision of a project, which as outlined by Evans and other social media experts is reinforced by consistency across all networks (personal or corporate).
Visual consistency plays a core part in legitimizing your brand, and this includes a profile biography that’ll work across all platforms. Be aware that if you want to amalgamate any part of your professional and personal activities, whatever avatar or content you choose to include will influence your branding approach across the board. Select an identity or theme you can and are willing to interchange between a social and business setting, prime examples of which can be found here and here.
Personality is part and parcel with a brand’s legacy; what’s shared, posted and tweeted will constantly reshape your identity while working twofold to invite others to respond individually like nothing else. I whole-heartedly agree with the mantra to “live your brand across all networks (including offline)” simply because it summarizes and re-rails you to the pivotal reason you’re online. Develop a shortlist of your primary interests and themes for discussion and retain that personality over various networks.
A significant portion of the Web tends to choose personal name-based domains and usernames like www.bobjenkins.com. While “Web 2.0″ names tend to utilize literally descriptive words (or misspellings) to symbolize and make their service memorable and keyword-rich, individuals are turning to their own names as a means of promoting their identity as a go-to reference for information – working particularly well to mesh with and promote offline interaction. Chris Bloczynski’s blog is a rendition of exactly that, and his post highlights the pros and cons of promoting your brand as an individual rather than adopting a business-oriented name. It’s important to stress, however, that adopting a domain of your name can constrict your avenues of expansion in future, though in turn corporate-esque domains are going to be bound by theme/focus.
Pay attention to the grassroots:
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the plethora of network tools available to you, start small; create and develop your personality one social media platform at a time and branch out once you’re comfortable. Be exceptionally aware and attentive to your content’s tone, too, combined with the inevitable longevity publishing entails. As social media tools become more popular, evidence of its misuse and their repercussions are made canon as they circulate the Web for our viewing pleasure. Talk about a blow to your character.
Understanding the point of it all:
“Social media isn’t an opportunity to reinvent a new brand, but to widen your brand’s reach.” The purpose of social networking is to extend your branches; creating connections and therefore broadening influence in your field. Participatory marketing (on a corporate level), Q&A, job opportunities, connection and exploration with like-minded individuals you otherwise wouldn’t have interacted with. Adopting new-media into everyday living while these big business platforms are still in their infancy is the ideal time to adopt, but ensure that you aren’t just providing information via social media – you must be there to respond and engage with your audience.
As mentioned by Evans in her article, what we’re yearning for in social networking is return on engagement (ROE). In our efforts to explore and connect we sometimes fail to consider whether what we’re doing is in-line with our mission/vision or whether it’s just a time killer. Promoting numbers means willingness to build relationships over an extensive period, so be prepared for a lot of time and effort. Methods to measure your ROE include:
- Track incoming traffic using URL shorteners like bit.ly
- Follow your tweets and retweets to see how far they travel with TweetReach
- Track positive, negative and neutral comments along with # posted
- Track # of RSS subscribers and repeat traffic
- Develop tactics to improve ranking on popular search engines (more about this here)
- Traditional methods like polls and surveys to generate results
- Pay particular attention to what topics people respond to the most
- Track whether people are recommending your site
|Print article||This entry was posted by digilee on August 23, 2009 at 11:55 am, and is filed under Social Networking. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|