In my previous post, I wrote about how I came to realize the power of personal branding, and wondered what your online reputation says about you.
Because social media has such low barriers to entry, it’s easy to just jump online without really thinking of the impact of our words (or photos or videos), so the first thing to do is evaluate what your personal brand is NOW, and then consider if that’s what you want – or if you need to make some changes.
In an article on Mashable called Personal Branding 101, Dan Schawbel writes,
“Brand discovery is about figuring out what you want to do for the rest of your life, setting goals, writing down a mission, vision and personal brand statement (what you do and who you serve), as well as creating a development plan.“
I think that’s an excellent – albeit a little intimidating – description.
Don’t worry if you don’t know what you want to do for the rest of your life. Just start thinking about it. Start developing the ‘story’ around the brand of you (non-fiction, preferably) and consider ways you can leverage the power of the Internet to help you begin to build that brand.
One of the things that’s helped me most as I’ve worked on my own personal brand is to watch how other people promote themselves online, so I thought it might be helpful to share a few of the people that I think do an outstanding job of branding themselves.
The women of Outspoken Media
I love them. Well, not actually love, since I don’t really know them – though I feel like I do to a greater or lesser degree with each. Here’s my take:
Lisa Barone (@lisabarone on Twitter) – young, funny, sarcastic. She knows exactly how to poke (how many people get Seth Godin to respond to a blog post?), to tease (funny exchanges with @pearsonified about having his babies), and to write posts that are simultaneously engaging and amusing. She’s also a master at putting her personal self out there in a really transparent way.
Rhea (@rhea) – more reserved, the kind of person you know you should listen to when she talks. Because it’s important. Or funny.
Sugarrae (@sugarrae)– Rae is smart, brash, and never one to back down when she disagrees with you. The person you’d want on your side in a fight. (And from whom I’d run if I were on the other side.) Not afraid to express her opinion, nor is she afraid to drop an f-bomb or do something to lose followers. She knows that there are plenty of people who connect with her, and that the rest don’t matter anyway.
Ian Lurie (@portentint on Twitter and Ian Lurie on Facebook) – smart on a wide variety of subjects, slightly snarky, no-bull, and at the same time polite and good-natured. Pokes fun at himself more than anything (though I love his occasional bad-client rants), and also shares enough personal information to make you feel like you know him at least a little. Probably a great guy to work for; you’d learn a lot and he’d probably let you take your birthday off.
Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee on Twitter and Gary Vaynerchuk on Facebook) – Sort of the king of personal branding. If you haven’t heard Gary speak, you’re missing a real force of nature. Passionate in the extreme, he fully understands how to utilize his personal brand for success.
Me (@rcroll) – No, I’m not really including myself on this list. But I want to share a little of my ‘story’ about building my own personal brand. As I mentioned in my previous post, I came around to personal branding somewhat reluctantly and relatively recently.
Due to a significant change in my business, I found that I needed to figure out who I was – and put that ‘out there’. (And that’s not as existential as it sounds, though it can be.)
I really had to stop and think about this question: When a client, friend, or colleague describes me to someone else, what would I want them to say?
About a year ago, there was a series of really interesting posts on Berchman.com, in which he talked about redesigning his website – which, in his case, also meant reexamining exactly what his online persona was. To that end, he sent a survey to people who knew him and asked one question:
“What are three adjectives that best describe me?”
What a fantastic way to see, not how you think you’re perceived by others, but how your friends and acquaintances actually see you.
What’s your personal brand? Why not ask around?