I recently had the privilege and pleasure of attending IZEAfest in Orlando, FL, a 4-day social media event with more than a dozen incredible speakers, hosted ever so graciously at SeaWorld by the coolest whale on Twitter, @shamu. There was a lot of information packed into our 2 days of panels and discussions, so I’ll be throwing out some great little nuggets on social media marketing, developing your brand, and building relationships in business and out.
However, there are a few points that stood out in my mind that I’ll come back to again and again in my personal pursuits and for my clientele.
“Personal branding is a process of sharing and developing who you are with others”
A lot of the material covered at IZEAfest was focused on personal branding and developing a unified image that not only conveys what you do, but who you are.
- 1. Be yourself on AND offline
It’s amazing to learn about people in this industry before you’ve actually had the chance to meet them. It’s even more amazing when they’re exactly the person you anticipated they would be when you DO meet them.
Take Ted Murphy, for example. Online, he seems like a wacky, zany kinda guy. He has a very colorful personality, he is absolutely hilarious, but he still takes care of business by keeping his followers informed of what’s going on at Izea.
In person? He’s larger than life! He’s embodies and embraces the expression “a party waiting to happen,” but the information he has to share is absolutely invaluable.
He and his online persona are one in the same. I would be shocked, and probably disappointed, if he were a shy, retiring person when I got to meet him at IZEAfest.
So don’t disappoint people, and keep it all consistent. It’s easy to hide behind a keyboard, but it doesn’t take people long to figure out who is real and who isn’t. Embrace who YOU are and don’t be afraid to share it. You’re not going to please everyone, but that’s not what it’s all about, is it?
- 2. Make a great name for yourself
By make a name for yourself, I mean choose your handle wisely. There are a couple ways to choose a username.
Examples: Chris Brogan, Murray Newlands, Zappos
Simple as that. I use the name Resa Michelle because it’s my own. I could use my last name, but
a. I’m female and single and eventually (hopefully), I’ll have a different last name than I currently do. I’m just keeping it simple.
b. I happen to like my middle name and I think it sounds rather nice with my first name.
c. “Resa” was taken (which brings me to my next point).
examples: iJustine, TremendousNews, MurrayIz
Lots of reasons to use an alias.
– One is anonymity (See Tremendous)
– Sometimes an alias is unique and catchy (See iJustine)
– Yet another is that either your name is unavailable or is perhaps longer than the given platform’s character limit. (See MurrayIz, aka Murray Izenwasser)
(The list doesn’t actually end there, but I think you get the idea…)
It’s absolutely crucial that your name be unique and available because you need to own your identity. Thus my next point…
- 3. Cover your real estate.
I’ve discussed this before, but it bears repeating. Once you’ve figured out how you want to be identified online, make sure that no one else can take that identity.
That means making sure you own your domain name, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr..
Catch my drift?
It’s a simple concept, but not only will it help people find you across the platforms they find important, it will help you unify and maintain consistency within and of your brand.
- 4. Appearance isn’t everything, but it sure comes close
Ted emphasized the importance of a unified aesthetic that reflects YOU. This includes a professionally designed logo and designs that cross platforms.
I can tell your hypocrite-radar is going off, but rest assured that I have a few things in the works.
Anyway, this is another impression your followers, friends, colleagues and connections will (literally) carry with them (think business cards, swag, shirts…) and remember you by.
- 5. Finally, don’t be afraid to kill off a project that isn’t working
As Chris Brogan would say, “it’s not a kitten.” If it isn’t working, it’s not the end of the world. You move on and you learn from your mistakes. It’s totally okay to figure out what worked and leave the rest behind.
Now keep in mind that this was geared specifically toward blogs, but you can take it however you will. The point is, don’t be afraid of failure! You can insert your favorite cliche here.
So in short, design a brand that shows the world who you ACTUALLY are, own it in name and in action, and don’t be afraid to try something new, different and potentially risky.
So what is your brand?