I am contemplating obtaining and securing domain names for my teenage children. Are they starting a business?….No. Have they a great idea and they want to encapsulate that intellectual property with an online name?…No. They are still too young to be contemplating that strategic adventure.
In the future as more of our lives including the social, intellectual and commercial elements move online, a personal brand that they own with their own branded domain name will not only be worthwhile but an essential part of their digital being as workers, business owners and individuals in all our personas.
Social media by default has become your personal brand online and in fact with a Facebook page a lot of people already have an online personal brand destination, they just don’t think of it that way as they publish and promote their content to friends and family.
This publishing is part of our “Lifestreaming” (which is the daily online documentation of our life recorded online) which was a term created as far back as the mid 1990’s at Yale University by Eric Freeman and David Gelenter.
In essence there are two ways to view personal brand “You” online.
1. An online personal brand that enhances an already substantial offline brand ( an example of this could be Oprah Winfrey who initially created a personal brand via mass media but is now amplifying it online)
2. You develop an online brand that leverages into an offline brand due to you online presence (an example here is GaryVaynerchuk who did not have a significant personal brand before in any niche or media but via an online video blog is now a personal brand that publishers are willing to back with 6 figure book deals).
Personal online brands are most effective when they are focused within a niche. So if you want to leverage your personal brand selecting the niche you want to focus on is one of the most important first steps in that journey.
How do you leverage your personal brand in a digital world and reach critical mass? David Armano in a presentation at the Chicago convergence conference mentions 5 ways to make your personal brand grow and multiply and reach critical mass.
1. Be Ubiquitous: Create Multiple Streams of You
Many people think that a Facebook page is where you start and finish. In fact it is only one of many. The best place to start is with a web presence that you own and that is your own blog with its own domain name and self hosted. To really be truly ubiquitous there are some other social media channels you should contemplate if you are really serious and passionate about developing and promoting brand “You”. These include a YouTube Channel for your videos, Flickr for your images, Slideshare for your presentations, Twitter for communication, immediacy and promoting your content globally, LinkedIn for the corporate networking opportunities and of course Facebook. You need to keep in mind that the opportunities are now global and the challenge is to always be thinking a global village and digital.
2. Be Social: Effectively Manage Your Social Systems
Once you have these multiple social media channels you then need to manage and optimize them to continue to put your personal brand in front of as many people as possible that displays your knowledge, credibility and influence in the most professional manner possible. LinkedIn can be optimized with up to three web addresses and you can now also add your Twitter and Blog feed to your home page. On Twitter you can follow people in your industry niche and link your Twitter homepage to your blog or website and tools like TweetDeck are available to monitor your different groups or search terms
3. Be Interesting: Write, Video, Photograph, Share, Give
Most of us are quite interesting and we need to let everyone know that. Some us are a bit shy at a cocktail party but hanging with your friends it is a different story. So document your experiences whether that be with photos, videos or what you write. Take that day to day documentation of your thoughts and media and put more of it online. In other words “think like a publisher“
4. Be Remarkable: Do Something Worthy Of a Remark
Most of us want to play it safe and stick to what we know but this doesn’t create a life that gets talked about or something that gets shared. As Seth Godin mentions in his book the Purple Cow, No one stops to look at a black and white cow but a “Purple Cow” ….now that is remarkable.
5. Be Yourself: Let Your Personality Shine Through
The challenge for most of us is finding ways to show the real authentic “You” and social media provides many different platforms and channels that allow you to find your particular voice. Some of us may shine through our photography (Flickr), others with their words and some even with their online video presence. Gary Vaynerchuk was not good at writing but he shines through in his daily video wine blog.
So there are many ways to grow and enhance your “Brand You” with social media channels that suit your personality.
How is your online personal brand? Do you have one?
Image: David Elfanbaum