I read a post on FastCompany.com yesterday called “5 Steps to a Better Personal Brand.” It included some great career success advice that was focused on building your brand on line. I devoted a couple of chapters in my career advice book, 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success to on line brand building.
Rule 13: Use the Web to Reinforce Your Brand Constantly and Consistently
Even if you’re not in business for yourself, you need to have a web presence to create positive personal impact. These days, I hear the question, “If you don’t exist on line, do you really exist?” That’s a good question. Prospective employers and customers will Google you. You’ll be better off if they like what they see. It’s much better than if they find unfavorable results or nothing at all. Today when people want to learn about you most of their answers usually come from Google.
This can be pretty scary – if you don’t take the time to make sure that you have an internet presence that reflects well on you. The best place to begin is with your unique personal brand. Your personal brand highlights what is special and unique about you – why you are not a commodity.
For my money, the best book on personal branding is Career Distinction by William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson. They stress the importance of the “Three C’s” – Clarity, Consistency and Constancy. You can use the internet to help you with all three C’s.
I’m a big believer in social networking sites to help you build your brand online. LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are great places to build relationships with like-minded people. Choose the social network where you have the greatest affinity with the people who are on it. For my money, LinkedIn is the best social network for professional success.
Leaving comments on targeted blogs is another good way to build your brand on line. This means that you read blogs that are tied to your field or area of expertise and comment on posts that interest you. I used to be bad about this. I read quite a few blogs, but commented very infrequently. I set a goal to leave at least five comments on blogs per day. That’s 25 comments a week. I’ve stuck to it, and it has paid off. I have raised my web presence by commenting on other people’s blogs.
Of course, I am in business for myself, and my web presence is very important to me. You don’t have to do 25 comments a week. Start small, one comment a day is a reasonable goal if you have limited time.
Starting your own blog and posting two or three times a week is another good way to build your on line presence and enhance your personal brand. This assumes, of course, that you have something to say. And, in my opinion, everyone has something to say.
On line book reviews are another way to build your brand. Do you read a lot? If so, take a few minutes and review books that you like on Amazon.com. Because I blog about books quite a bit, I have started to receive complimentary review copies from major publishing houses – a real bonus and money saver.
A while back, I decided to post only positive reviews. If I don’t like a book, I don’t do a negative review. I do this because there are enough interesting, well written books out there. I choose to focus on them instead of bashing those books (however few) I don’t like. In this way, I am building a web presence as a kind and helpful guy.
Rule 14: Become Active on LinkedIn — The Best Social Networking Site for Professionals
There are over 100 million professionals on LinkedIn. Chris Muccio, David Burns and Peggy Murrah have written a great 42 Rules book called 42 Rules for 24-Hour Success on LinkedIn. It is my bible for brand building via LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the best social networking site for professionals. LinkedIn is a place to find people and for people to find you. It provides you with a communication tool that can help you create a platform for your success.
In 42 Rules for 24-Hour Success on LinkedIn, Chris, David and Peggy show you how to use LinkedIn to do the simple things that will create the opportunity for you to achieve success 24 hours a day. Remember, the internet never sleeps. Your LinkedIn profile is the place to begin. It can help you build your brand. A good profile will attract others, educate them about you and influence their feelings towards you – even if you’ve never met in person. Chris, David and Peggy say that you have three seconds to communicate your brand on your LinkedIn profile. Make those seconds count.
The LinkedIn provides you with the opportunity to create a “professional description.” Prior to reading 42 Rules for 24-Hour Success on Linkedin, and speaking with Chris and Peggy, my professional description read “Bud Bilanich, The Common Sense Guy.” Now it reads, “Bud Bilanich: I help individuals, teams and entire organizations succeed by helping them apply their common sense.” I don’t know about you, but I think that the second professional description is much stronger, communicates better and makes the most out of my three seconds.
You can leverage your LinkedIn profile in several ways. Invite everyone you know to connect with you on LinkedIn. Use the LinkedIn colleagues and classmates reconnect function. It can be a lot of fun to reconnect with people you used to know. If you use Microsoft Outlook, download the Outlook toolbar. It will let you know the LinkedIn status of everyone from whom you receive an email. Ask your existing LinkedIn connections to introduce you to their connections. In this way, you can build a large network of people who will be exposed to your brand.
Chris, David and Peggy showed me how the LinkedIn “What you are working on now” function can help build your brand. Update it regularly. Post all of the interesting things you are doing – at work and in your life. This will help others get to know you better and it will showcase the depth and breadth of your experience. Think of it as a longer tweet. Twitter limits you to 140 characters per post. Here you can post three or four sentences and go into a little more detail.
And, just like Twitter, people can respond to your LinkedIn “What you are working on now” posts. This creates the opportunity for you to engage in dialogue with the people you meet on LinkedIn, strengthening your relationships.
LinkedIn Groups are another powerful way to leverage the power of LinkedIn. You can find groups by seeing which groups people with interests similar to your own join. You can use the LinkedIn search tool for this. Chris, David and Peggy suggest joining no more than three groups at first. Spend some time in these groups. See if they appeal to you. If they do, become active by participating in conversations; sharing your thoughts and ideas and links that you find helpful. If you don’t like a group, drop out and find another.
Participating in groups can be time consuming. Chris, David and Peggy suggest setting your default to receive emails from groups once a week. Then set aside a specific period each week to read the recent post and reply to the relevant ones.
LinkedIn is a great social networking tool – if you leverage it correctly. 42 Rules for 24-Hour Success on LinkedIn is a great guide to using LinkedIn for building your brand and web presence.
The career success coach point here is simple common sense. Build your personal brand by paying attention to your internet presence. Focus on the “three C’s” – Clarity, Consistency, and Constancy when building your brand on line. Besides that, use your common sense. Be judicious in what you post on line. Don’t make social network posts that you wouldn’t want a prospective employer to see. Get active on LinkedIn – it’s the best social network for professionals. There are over 100 million LinkedIn users. These folks can help you create the life and career success you want and deserve; but only if you demonstrate your willingness to help them first. 42 Rules for 24 Hour Success on LinkedIn is the best book I know for leveraging the power of LinkedIn.
That’s my career advice on using social media to build your personal brand. What do you think? Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment. As always thanks for reading my daily musings on life and career success. I value you and I appreciate you.
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