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Personal brand, like gamification, it one of those terms that seems to come up more and more these days.
In a nutshell, personal brand is the image of yourself that others see. By this, I don’t mean the clothes you wear or you haircut (though this can be part of it), I mean something deeper and more important in the long term.
Have you ever searched for your name on the internet? If not, head to Google and do it now (then come back!).
Now, answer these questions about the first page of results;
- How many were you?
- How many were social media sites (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc)?
- How many would you be happy for your Gran to explore?
If you look at results for my name (which I will admit is unusual), you will see that the top 4 results are not only me, but they are related to content that I create and is unique to me. My blog, LinkedIn, Twitter and Gamasutra.
Why is this important?
Glad you asked. When you apply for a job, what do you think most employers do now? You give them your C.V and covering letter. They are both lovely and paint the exact picture you want the employer to see of you. It gets you on the maybe pile.Then they search for your name online. Do they see content that paints the same picture? Do they see anything at all. Do they just see a bare bones LinkedIn? Worse still, do they see an unsecured Facebook account with pictures of you mooning your mates on a drunken night out?
You see, it’s not good enough any more to not care how others view you – especially as you establish your career. The “well they can take me or leave me, I don’t care” attitude does not pay the bills.
I have a high Klout score, so I’m sorted right?
Of course not. Think of it this way. When you are gone, what do you want people to know about you when they look for your name. Is it your Klout score? I really hope not! With luck they will find a rich tapestry of information about who you were and how you touched the world. Content you have created that was insightful and interesting. Twitter conversations that were fun, obscure, surreal or just plain Xfactor related.
Personal brand is not just how well you use social media. Broadcasting hundreds of links a day, is not going show people anything about you – just what you are interested in. It is about you. Who you are, What you do, and Why you do it!
Do something about it now!
So, go back to Google and search for yourself again. Now click on any links that come up and see what the pages you are take to say about you. If it is LinkedIn, does your profile speak about you, what you do and why you do it – or is it just a job title and a little blurb on your skills? As an aside, check out this great video from Simon Sinek about his Golden Circle theory for profiles, concentrating on Why.
If it is Facebook, make sure that what the public can see is Gran friendly. Everyone understands that Facebook is more personal, but don’t give people ammunition to dismiss you before they get to know you.
If it is Twitter, again, does your profile say anything about you, saving people from trawling through your stream to find out?
Create content on topics you are interested in, talk with people don’t just broadcast at them, be yourself – but filter it for a PG or 15 audience. Think, if my Gran saw this, would she be happy.
And remember –
Everything you do is being recorded somewhere. The best way to control it, is to make sure it is you recording it! Then you can tell your story the way it is meant to be told.