Personal Branding: Why You Should Think About Creating Your Own.

My goodness, it’s been a busy few weeks in grad school. Now with a week off until my next set of classes (Law/Ethics in the Media and Crisis Communication), I am happy to be back blogging and getting caught up with practicing my music.

Over the last ten weeks, I took a course that was entitled “Identity and Personal Branding.” At first, I had no idea what personal branding was or what to expect from it. After completing my courses, I have a clear view of how to brand myself.

Wait, Wait. Many of you are thinking, “What is a personal brand?”

Well, I am here to break it down.

Have you ever wondered why you are struggling to get those jobs you applied for? How can you stand out from other candidates?

I still struggle to stand out from other candidates, but, there is a way to get ahead.

PersonalBrandIt’s by identifying yourself as a brand and where to publish it.

To define personal branding – it’s a practice of people marketing themselves, their experiences, interests, and careers as brands.

It is almost like your resume, but more detailed into who you are as a professional and as a person.

Before the birth social media, companies, advertisements, and organizations were only promoting goods and services to their targeted audience. It was never about the people who worked for these places. Now, social media broke the barriers of fake advertising, goods, and services. We are at a place where authenticity is the primary key to catch the attention to your audience. We want to know your story. It’s now about employees and how they can make your company better and stand out from your main competitors.

By now, you must be asking yourself – “Well, how do I make my brand?”

Dorie Clark, a brand expert, explains in this video below of how to take control of your brand

 

These are five steps that will help you build your brand –

  1. Build your Skills
  2. Leverage your point of difference
  3. Develop a narrative
  4. Reintroduce yourself
  5. Prove your worth

Here is an example of my brand

  • ” A professional musician who blogs about music, participates in Twitter chats, and previously worked as a public relations coordinator.”

“Okay, now I get it. But, how to promote it?”

I am glad you asked. There are numerous ways to promote your brand to others.

Social media can accelerate anything in seconds – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, Podcasting, and others!

Here are some useful tricks to promote your professional self on LinkedIn:

  1. Picture – A picture is worth a thousand words. It’s important that your profile picture is professional as possible. If your picture, for example, is you drinking alcohol or partying, then other users would give off the impression that you do not take yourself or your career choices seriously. Wear professional attire and try to smile! Another thing to add is what is next to your picture, a great description of your job title. For example, if you work as a teacher and put “teacher” in your job title, it won’t help you out one bit. If you spruce it up with “High School Science Teacher & Department Head,” it will make a big difference. This short description is what most people on LinkedIn see first, even before they ever connect with you.
  2. Summary – This feature is very important to describe your personal brand and story. Within that space, you should highlight your background, major accomplishments and your goals. Write it in first person and make it personal. Marcelle Yeager explains, “Tell a brief story about why you love what you do or why you want to do something new. This is the way to stand out and make recruiters want to meet you. If you only use professional-speak and leave out your career story, recruiters may lump you with the other applicants. If you are just starting out in your career, describe what made you choose the field you’re targeting. Keywords are important to include here, too. They will help you stand out to recruiters when they do general searches for candidates.” 
  3. Groups – Groups are a good way to increase your presence on LinkedIn. With more than 1.8 million to choose from, you have the opportunity to increase your relevancy, find new people to join your network, and send direct messages to thousands of people who are not in your direct network.
  4. Recommendations – Well-written recommendations are the best way to boost your reputation on LinkedIn. You should aim to eventually have three or more recommendations, so you may want to send out a few requests if you have the time.
  5. Use keywords – Using keywords is essential to your brand. To optimize your profile for search results, look at  industry websites, company pages, and job descriptions. Within all of these pages, you will notice keywords that are common. When recruiters are looking for candidates on LinkedIn, they search for specific words. When you have these words listed in your Summary or Experience section, you have a better chance at showing up in the quest.

linkedin-network-1940x1122It is a careful note that your profile is like a 24/7 billboard. Your profile will always be there, even if you are not on it. When someone searches your name on Google, most likely it will direct individuals to your LinkedIn page – making your profile their most likely resource for learning more about you. 

Twitter Chat- 

What is a Tweet Chat? Well, it’s a live Twitter event, usually moderated and focused around a general topic. To filter all the chatter on Twitter into a single conversation a hashtag is used. A set time is also established so that the moderator, guest or host is available to engage in the conversation. To participate, all you need to do is tweet during the designated time using the chat hashtag.

A couple of weeks ago, I observed #PinChat, which holds a conversation of people on Twitter who are proactive with Pinterest This chat is hosted by one or two people on Wednesday Nights at 9pm ET. PinChat had a total of 1,112 tweets since 2012 and the top 3 chats on Twitter . Participants picked Halloween as a topic. Users and participants shared different types of Pins that they have on their pin boards such as Halloween crafts, decorations, and costumes. It was interesting to observe, but I did not participate since this chat was not something I would be a part of. I do have a Pinterest board, but mostly I pin men’s fashion and dogs. I do not know if I would participate in a pin chat if topics were men’s fashion and dogs.

Twitter-chatAnother chat that I was interested in was #Blogchat. Since I write a blog now, I wanted to market myself to other people who love blogging or read blogs. Before learning about these chats, I had little to no audience. After learning more about #blogchat, I started to use #blog and #blogchat to promote each post. It turns out that I was added to people’s blogging lists. Not only can I promote my blogs to others, but also can participate in discussions on how to make my blog more presentable and how can I attract more readers. This chat takes place on Sunday nights at 9pm ET. I still need to participate in these chats since time has been an issue. I used RiteTags to see if #blogs were popular and it is on the top for most used hashtags.

Lastly I decided to research the #music hashtag and it seems that it is overused and is too broad of a topic. I also searched for some classical music terms as hashtags and it seems that there are no hashtags used. Although I do love classical music, I also like other types of music. I researched hashtags that involve Adele’s new album and comeback and it turns out that #adele is currently trending. There are numerous tweets of fans promoting their cover versions of their songs, how they are excited for her new album to come out, and some parodies of her new hit “Hello.”

live_tweet-100464548-primary.idgeHashtags were first introduced in August, 2007 by technology innovator, Chris Messina (Kirkpatrick, 2011). The founder of Twitter, Evan Williams, told Messina that hashtags were too nerdy to go mainstream and that Twitter would use machine learning to group Tweets together automatically by topic instead. For example, if Verizon Wireless wanted to tweet a message or promotion about their customer service to its followers, the company would use hashtags, such as #VZW,  getting in touch to customer service to  discuss about the company  and soliciting comments on their phone protocol. Then, the hashtag will be picked up in the stream. 

Hashtags are very important to represent your brand because there are a lot of people who might have similar interests as you do. Using Tweet Chats can help you get your name out there to a globe of individuals who love the things you do.

Podcasting –

two-men-podcastingI’ve never done podcasting in my life. I am too bashful with public speaking. However, podcasting can build your personal brand by interviewing other people who have the same interests as you. Social Media Examiner has reported that a mere 3-5% of all marketers are using podcasting now, while upwards of 24% plan to join podcasting in the coming year. Try to have interviews or open discussions with people who are experts in your brand and interests. I would contact musicians who are in the Classical Music industry or just in the Music industry, in general, to discuss certain topics, such as composers, what it’s like in the music industry, tips on how to ace an audition, and more! Podcasting can also help with your public speaking skills as well. I am not an expert with public speaking, but I think I podcasting could help my fear of speaking in front of crowds while expressing my brand at the same time. Podcasting would help extend a brand. Podcasting is effective regarding building a brand and trust from listeners. Blogging can catch someone’s attention for more than a couple of minutes. With Podcasting, it is likely that listeners would listen to a podcast for 30 mins. Plus, a connection with podcasters is deeply personal – emotions in the human voice can be portrayed and understood so much easier than blogging. 
Facebook – 

Facebook is one of the top social media outlets today. Whether you use is personally or for your business, Facebook is the tool to market your brand. If you visit a website of a hair salon, for example, you see a tagline at the end of the site-  “like us on Facebook!” Today, I was watching Judge Judy and during the commercial break, a spokesperson stated – “Want more Judge Judy? Like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.”  

Facebook_t-shirt_with_whitehat_debit_card_for_HackersFacebook can separate your personal and professional self by using a feature called “Facebook Pages.” I use this feature for my flute services and promote my music blogs on pages as well.

Personal and Professional brands sometimes blend in. I share music articles, music videos, and musical information on my personal and professional pages since it is who I am personally and professionally.

There is some material that separates personal and professional brands. If I see a silly video, I wouldn’t post it on my professional page. I would post it on my personal page for my friends and family to laugh with me. If I have pictures or videos of me drinking alcohol, I definitely wouldn’t put it on my professional page. It is important to filter your content on your Facebook page (or pages).

Facebook-Page-Manager-for-Android-Updated-with-Ability-to-Upload-Videos-407683-2Nonetheless, this comes down to Facebook’s privacy settings. I have created lists on Facebook and separate things from my family, certain friends, and co-workers. I also have my personal page set as private. This means that people who are not my friends can not see what I post, go through my pictures, or fish for personal information of myself. I always keep a good rule of thumb with any of my content – “would I want my boss to see this?” Sometimes you can customize who sees your content on your personal page.

People need to understand their privacy rights on any social media channel because the internet is full of people who want to steal your identity or use content that you’ve posted against you. I sometimes receive friend requests from random people that I have no idea who they are.  I intentionally deny their claims since they could be hackers. I feel safer adding people if I have met them in person or have known them from an acquaintance.

Some people do not use Facebook to utilize their personal brand, and that is okay. Just remember that what you post could harm you. Make sure you lock your profiles tightly and filter your content if you are friends with your employees.

Summary – 

Whatever your brand might be, it can help you and your desired career path. Write down your interests, passions, and experiences trying to combine them into a one or two sentence statements. Make sure it is cohesive. Ask yourself – How do my passions and interests tie into my career? There may a hundred people applying for the same position as you, but if you put yourself out there in social media land, you’ll be one step ahead. Start a blog, participate in Twitter chats and LinkedIn groups; you never know who you could interact with. Recruiters want to see you in action and see how knowledgeable you are from your experiences and interests.

So what are you waiting for? Start making your brand now!

For more Information – 

How to Brand Yourself on Google Plus.

Why LinkedIn is the Only Personal Branding Resource, You Need.

Why Twitter Is One Of The Most Powerful Communications Tools Available.

Dorie Clark – Brand Strategist 

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