With another PodCamp Toronto just around the corner, I’m reminded of Mitch Joel’s spectacular presentation: “Building Your Personal Brand Through Podcasting” at the inaugural PodCamp Toronto. A year has passed and it got me thinking…
Today more than ever, it’s becoming increasingly important to manage your personal brand. If you haven’t done so already, step back, take a deep breath and think about how you want others to see you. Now think about how you interact with people online. Is it consistent with how you want to be perceived both online and offline?
We no longer just need to worry about what people see and hear about us in person — we also need to consider our digital footprints. It’s one thing to control how we portray ourselves online and offline. It’s another when we can’t control what others do and say about us. What gets posted online is easily found and lives on forever in the Google age. Cutting through the clutter is more challenging than ever.
Last fall, I co-presented an information session for parents of middle-school students, helping them understand what their kids were doing online. Within minutes of introducing them to Facebook, they were concerned about their children’s profiles and whether or not their online behaviour would come back to haunt them in the future.
Recently, I’ve been consulting with a recruitment specialist. We’re developing an outreach strategy for connecting with prospective new hires using social networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Regardless of what you’re told, when employers are using social networks, they’re checking to ensure profiles of prospective employees are “clean.”. Standing out in the crowd because you have obscenities on your Facebook page probably isn’t the best way to manage your personal brand.
Chef Michael Olsen, who runs the restaurant management program at Niagara College, told me of an old-fashioned way he encourages his students to make an impression on a prospective employer: following an interview or co-op term, he suggests sending them a handwritten thank-you note. Why? To paraphrase Chef Olsen, “Everyone sends e-mail and our inboxes are overflowing. Send a handwritten note and you’ll stand out from the pack.” Think of this the next time you’re pitching a new client. (In case you’re wondering, this chef is no stranger to the digital world. He produces his own podcasts to use as teaching aids and posts videos on YouTube to market the program.)
To bring this subject a little closer to home, I asked three members of the One Degree community to share, in a mere 30 words, how they manage their personal brand. Here’s what they had to say:
“I manage my personal brand by being authentic in the multiple channels (ie. linkedin, facebook, twitter, my blog, etc.) that I interact in online. I also monitor WOM and other sites via RSS feeds for my name, username, blog, etc. Finally I keep an eye on what someone finds with Google search results for my name.”
“Find your passion and work it. Read relentlessly. Listen to learn. Question everything. Form opinions and voice them. Keep an open mind. Always take the highroad. Give back to the community. Find a mentor, be a mentor. Be nice.”
“Consistency in actions, words. My appearance is important and it’s important for me to always (mostly) look pulled together. Try to keep anything negative out of words and rely on humour, sarcasm and the fact that I am willing to help people top of mind.”
How much thought have you given to managing your personal brand?
What would you do if someone posted something negative about you online?
These are just two questions to ask yourself as you continue to try and adapt to an ever-changing digital age.
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