Your digital footprint is your personal brand. It can help to approach it in the same way as you would a corporate brand: have a focus, be consistent and make sure clients and customers can find you.
It takes time and effort to build a personal brand online. But there are plenty of tools and shortcuts you can use to ensure you’re getting the best possible return on investment.
In terms of professional profile, Twitter and LinkedIn are key. Here are five easy ways to boost your personal branding using those two social networks:
1. Use a decent photo
This is stating the obvious, but it amazes me how many people (even in comms) use a blurry or inappropriate photo or (even worse) don’t bother with a pic at all. People want to connect with other people. A face in your avatar or profile photo shows you’re human. A smiling face is even better. Continue reading →
So BrewDog, the craft beer brewery, has responded to latest criticism from the Portman Group in typical form: “I would like to issue a formal apology to the Portman Group for not giving a shit about today’s ruling”, said James Watt, BrewDog’s co-founder. “Indeed, we are sorry for never giving a shit about anything the Portman Group has to say.”
Individualism or conformity, which approach is right when it comes to social media? Two events for London Social Media Week on Tuesday looked at Twitter from two very different angles, but came to similar conclusions: be true to yourself, experiment and don’t let the blighters get you down.
Here are my top five takeaways from the two sessions:
1. Personality is important and consistency is essential. Whether you’re a brand or an individual (and, let’s face it, the lines between the two are increasingly blurred), experiment with finding your unique voice – then stick to it. Corporate Twitter profiles like Waterstones Oxford Street, MoonPig and Arena Flowers and individual profiles like 50Cent and (author) Sarah Pinborough succeed because they have unique voices, and oodles of character and personality.
Words like “collaboration”, “community” and “engagement” are used frequently in organisations, but check the subtext – you may find they’re little more than sticking plasters on the same old creaky top-down, hierarchical models (or, worse still, a deliberate ploy to distract from real, less inclusive, agendas).
Eliane Glaser’s recent RSA talk on How to de-spin a party conference (a topical take on her new book) looked at the way people – specifically politicians but also brand managers and marketers – appropriate the language of “social” business into traditional “business as usual” models.
Glaser’s critics describe her as a conspiracy theorist, and it’s easy to see why. She paints a picture of a Matrix-like world where we are all kept happy with rustic, homespun consumables while just below the surface rumbles a monstrous, corporate machine dedicated to serving a wealthy elite. This machine cares nothing for the long-term welfare of humankind – in fact, it will ultimately destroy it.
If you presumed for a moment that this was true, you’d find yourself in good company: it’s a familiar argument used by environmentalists, NGOs and the Occupy movement. You would find that George Orwell and Larry and Andy Wachowski (creators of The Matrix) were right: if only we could wake up from our mass prole-like sleepwalk, we might see the horror for what it is and build a better world.
Glaser’s book is a call to arms: a manifesto for revolution. If you take her anger on (and be warned, she’s quite persuasive), you may find yourself dusting off your student copy of the Communist Manifesto and questioning the painfully slow evolution of business.
But as Francis Fukiyama wrote in The End of History (and Glaser herself admits), revolution ain’t what it used to be. The “workers” have been seduced by Sky TV and warm shopping malls. The language of “isms” has long since disappeared from everyday conversation. Unemployed teenagers are interviewed on TV saying their sole aim of rioting was “to get free stuff”.
Glaser’s argument is that we are unable to articulate what we want. We are doing a lot of talking (on social media). It is up to us to make it meaningful.
Brands are trying to appear more ethical, and that’s a good sign. We forget that social computing is still relatively new – to some extent we’re like children playing with a new toy. When a child first starts to speak, they imitate. And that is what the big brands are doing now – imitating. Some are doing more than that, they are following through – they are actually creating more ethical businesses.
The great thing about social media is that we now have the tools to hold the non-ethical businesses to account. So, what are we waiting for? Bring on the social revolution!