The benefits to personal branding through social media – part 1
Too often you see CEOs, new grads, experienced and in-experienced professionals miss the mark with creating and marketing their personal brand. The challenge of creating a compelling personal brand, is a common hurdle I often face when working with individuals in my consulting practice .
Here are a few key points to get you on the right path to successfully developing your personal brand through social media but before we jump into this, it’s important to understand what’s in it for you – the working professional.
Benefits to Branding Yourself:
1) It can lead to new business opportunitiesIn order to understand how branding yourself can lead to new opportunities, you need to understand how people conduct their research these days. Everything now is “Google’d, Wikipedia’d, Facebook’d, Linked-In” and that list goes on but the question is, do you know where your name comes up when someone is looking for an HR specialist, CPG Marketing aficionado, or a Mobile Application Developer? If you’re not sure, then read on….
Personal branding assists you in getting found from an SEO perspective, by choosing your niche – your professional speciality – you will be one step closer to getting found. By picking your niche, you can then narrow down the keywords / skills that might be used by a person looking for someone with your expertise. For example if I am a recruiter looking for a Sales Specialist in the Telecomm Industry, I am going to start my search by using key words like, “sales, business development, IT, technical, Samsung, Apple, RIM, Telus”. You get where I’m going with this? Keywords are the words you need to use on your various online profiles in order to get found by people you want to connect with.
The moment you start including relevant words in your personal brand, is the moment when you will start seeing an increase in the number of people who want to connect with you. Don’t be fooled, it doesn’t happen overnight but I can assure you that great business opportunities will come your way if you position yourself as a credible source in your industry and actively participate in online communities by communicating and sharing relevant content with others. I can take myself as an example, after branding myself as a “Digital Marketing Strategist” and ramping up my LinkedIn / Twitter participation, I received new offers to work with great clients, made some spectacular connections with like-minded professionals and even managed to source specialists for projects that I needed assistance with (all of these people were well-branded by the way).
By knowing your niche, you can build upon your online profiles and increase your chances of getting found for that niche. You will also be able to make more strategic decisions towards the online communities in which you should actively participate in and who in that community to connect and interact with.
2) People Will Want to Work With YouNo matter which industry you’re in, this benefit applies, although the extent of the benefits might vary depending on the country you are working / looking for work in. Naturally, people (and professionals) are drawn to those who know what they’re talking about, or at least come across that way initially. Humans are critical beings and with technology we become even more critical, where you have approximately 6 seconds to make a good impression to an online stranger. The more spruced up your online profile is, the more likely you are going to have a good impression on that visitor. In a recent study, it was found that 86% of US Recruiters insist that a positive online image can positively impact your chances of getting a job. Similar things are being said about finding new business partners / contacts. The more effort you put into building your personal brand and maintaining / building your online reputation, the more benefits you will realize over time in the form of business leads, job opportunities, quality of connections made.etc..
3) Your Company will Realize a Boost in Brand Image For those of you who are currently either working for an organization, or are self-employed, a strong digital, personal brand will help boost your company’s online reputation in the eyes of the consumer. Consumers value brands when they can associate that brand with an actual human-being, therefore if you are interacting with your company in a positive way digitally (yes it can go in a negative way too), it will help build an online trust for your company’s brand. This can be realized more quickly by CEOs of large organizations as the measurement can in some cases be instant; some of my favourites include: Richard Branson (of the Virgin empire), Zappo’s CEO Tony Hsieh and Peter Aceto of ING Direct.
Concluding Thoughts:No matter what step of the corporate ladder you may be standing on, it’s becoming more critical for professionals to work on building and maintain their online personal brand. In a matter of a few years, the Internet has turned into a networking goldmine for those who understand the value of being consistent and active with their brand. If you haven’t yet jumped on the bandwagon, you might be missing out on some incredible opportunities.
In my next post I will discuss the steps to build your personal online brand and how you can begin to capitalize on the online professional network using social media.
About the Author – Sandy SykoraSandy is an experienced social media strategist and online branding consultant to B2B and B2C businesses across various industries. By day, she’s the Sr. Marketing Coordinator for North America at Drake International; by night, she becomes the ‘batwoman’ of social and digital strategy for her freelance consulting practice.