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How To Make Your Personal Brand Visible With Social Media

Personal branding is a relatively new concept and is thought to have emerged in 1997 after a ground breaking article was published on the Fast Company website by Tom Peters. How To Make Your Personal Brand Visible Using Social Media

We are in the age of the ‘knowledge worker‘ and the days of being an anonymous cog in the wheel of a faceless corporation are fast disappearing. The opportunity to stand out as a personal brand without having to know a politician, grey and grizzled powerbrokers or gnarly gatekeepers is now a reality and it is possible to accelerate the time it takes to make it happen.

Firstly what are the key elements and the questions that we need to consider to become a visible and effective personal brand.

1. What makes you different?

What is it that makes my product or service does, that makes it different? The challenge is to state that in 15 words or less and it needs to light up the eyes of a prospective client.

Here some questions to ask and honestly answer to help you with this task.

  • What makes you distinctive from your competitors?
  • What have you done lately.. this week.. last month to stand out?
  • What would your colleagues or your customers say is your greatest and clearest strength? Your most noteworthy personal trait?
  • Just like a corporate brand what features do I offer that yields an identifiable and distinguished benefit for my client or customer. An example is how some companies pride themselves on offering lavish personal service, complete your projects on budget
  • What do I do that adds remarkable measured distinguished distinctive value?
  • What do I do that that I am most proud of or I unabashedly brag about or shamelessly take credit for?

Finally you need to ask a rather brash question ‘What do I want to be famous for? This questions are to get you focussed on what you as a personal brand are about…once you have that clear then you take the nest step.

2. How Do you Market ‘You’ the Brand

Ten or Twenty years ago it was a much more difficult proposition and it could have involved a range of offline networking opportunities such as.

  • Signing up for an extra project inside your organisation to to showcase your skills or develop new ones that grew your personal brand.
  • Freelancing to a new group of  people that could spread the word about how remarkable you are.
  • Teach class at a local community
  • Contribute to a column in your local newspaper
  • Write an article for the company newsletter
  • Make yourself available for a panel discussion in your industry
  • Put yourself forward for a presentation in your area of expertise whether that be within your company or an external association

You need to remember that with this personal visbility campaign is that it ‘all’ matters. Everything you do communicates the value and character of your brand. This about not just about substance but style.

In 2010 you have at your fingertips the tools and social media platforms to leverage yourself into high personal brand visbility at digital nanosecond speed and here are some of the social networking channels that are most important to help you achieve that. You don’t need to be on all of these but choose the ones you ae most comfortable with but the more you are on the easier it is to get found.

What is important to remember is that it is now a digital web world so if you are not on the web you are fast becoming invisible. So here are the core channels for promoting brand ‘You’.

1. Blog or Website with a domain name that is either your own name or a ‘Brandable’  version of it

This is your personal  homebase that becomes your personal brands portal. It could be a website or a blog but my personal preference is for a blog as it seems more personal and authentic as it allows interaction with your readers and visitors to the site that a website doesn’t provide. If you are not comfortable with your personal name being so visible.. and some people are not comfortable with that, another option is to get a vanity URL that encapsulates  what you are about. eg Personalbrandingblog.com (Dan Schwabel)

2. LinkedIn

This is essential but here are a few elements that are crucial

  • Make your profile public
  • Ensure that youset up your other online web channels on your profile such as your blog, Facebook and your company’s site ( you are allowed three on LinkedIn)
  • Set up your Twitter account feeding into the account page as well as your blog feed. These are all visible and easily set up on your LinkedIn homepage profile

From there you can start participating on LinkedIn in Groups and the Question & Answer features. That will get you started. You need to keep in mind the importance of this channel as the demographic includes an average  salary of LinkedIn member is $130,000 plus and currently there are 60 million members globally.

3. Facebook

This social media platform cannot be ignored with nearly half a billion members and has become the ‘elephant in the room’ or the ‘800 pound gorilla’ of social media. There are  privacy challenges but it can be used to engage with people and increase your visibility and make you real. One way to look at Facebook is that it is more like a barbeque where you turn up in Jeans and a t-shirt, whereas  LinkedIn is the company cocktail party

4. YouTube

As the newer generation are much more video centric and would rather watch a 5 minute online video than read a page of text this a social media channel that I would recommend you start becoming familiar with. It is great site for uploading your videos that have recorded your speaking events or your panel sessions. If people are looking for speakers and you have an easily found and distributed recording of your presentations then you are much more likely to be hired for a gig.

The other benefit of YouTube is that it much easier to rank high and be found online in YouTube with a video search than Google. You also need to keep in mind that it is the second largest serach engine after Google.

5. Twitter

Register your name ‘NOW’ .. if it is still available!! Twitter is not about ‘I am having a coffee with Bill’ but it is one of the most effective platforms the world has ever seen to distribute content (blogs, videos, presentations, music and images) and promote a brand whether that be corporate or personal.

These are just the basics on the channels and how you should be using them for your personal brand, optimising your social media platforms to get your personal brand highly visible requires constant fine tuning and tweaking.

What have you done to promote “Your” brand?

Jeffbullas's Blog


  • Jeff, you hit the nail on the head with this one! I often go through a lot of the same questions with my clients. Sometimes it takes 1 0r 2 brainstorming sessions, but we finally pull it out of them and we normally do this during the content strategy stage! 🙂

    Great insights again!

    Mirna Bard

  • I love the concept of Personal Branding and Attraction Marketing. What have I done to promote my brand? Well I’ve been designing exclusive templates for networkers faced with Downline Disappearance. To create a better connection is my branding. These templates for recognition and edification projects will be my exclusive FREE offer to those attracted to me through my marketing funnel. I have downline following me for over 15/20 years so I’m going to use what I’ve learned and share that with who can benefit. Others can benefit by not having to design something that works and I get to enjoy my creative outlet.

  • Great suggestions and I still love that Tom Peters article which was way ahead of its time back in ’97.

    I would add (respectfully) one major component for consideration to our personal branding strategy . . . Interaction!

    It’s not just about the content and the profiles, its about how we interact and engage with our target audience.

    I believe people want to interact with the brands they love whether its a physical brand or that way cool brand called YOU!

    This post is a definite “Keeper”

    Thank you!

    Paul Castain

  • This is a really great article, especially for new college grads, anyone who has recently been laid off or to simply keep yourself in check. This is really key if you have a small business and are trying to grow.

    While I do appreciate the value Facebook can bring, I also am a bit weary because of the extreme exposure and ability for literally anyone to attack you without any ability to defend yourself on it. Otherwise, it can be a great tool.

    I think Twitter is probably my all time favorite because you can reach so many people and do not have to add them as a friend,etc. If they alienate you, you can simply unfollow or block them.

    Another trend is to register a “.me” domain. I guess the list keeps on growing!

    I particularly was amused by your introductory segue

    ” The opportunity to stand out as a personal brand without having to know a politician, grey and grizzled powerbrokers or gnarly gatekeepers is now a reality and it is possible to accelerate the time it takes to make it happen.”

    It is amazing how far we have come thanks to the internet and especially, social media!
    Jeff, you should be teaching at the university level. Great post, as usual!

  • Great blog!
    Especially because those are the questions I have been answering myself for my own business. And I just started my own business and am exploring social media since the beginning of february!

    @Paul Castain, correct! Interaction or Dialogue Marketing is part of Personal Branding…

  • This is great info, but I think people need to keep in mind the purpose of all of their social accounts prior to linking them. Specifically, I’m speaking of the suggestion of posting all Twitter updates on LinkedIn.

    Personally, the people I’m connected to on LinkedIn are much much more conservative than the crowd I interact with on Twitter. Twitter is a combination of my professional and personal self, while LinkedIn is purely professional. I’ve logged onto to LinkedIn a few times and seen associates with witty or comical status updates that are completely suited for Twitter yet extremely out of place on LinkedIn as there were no context clues that alluded to where their comments stemmed from.

    I would suggest using a program that lets you select which updates get posted to each network which will give you a little more control over what you decide to post for each audience.

    My brand is a work in progress. So far I’ve stopped focusing on being perfect and shifted my focus to simply getting started. I think that’s the biggest step for anyone working on their personal brand to take.

    • Ashley, that was exactly my thought. If you have a separate “professional” twitter account, this works very well, but it totally depends on what you do with your account. It’s really hard sometimes to differentiate personal and professional lives these days, especially when it comes to ourselves as a brand.

  • This is an excellent article. I run an advertising agency and constantly educate my clients who have small businesses about the advantages of being online. You’ve delved into all the key points with simplicity. Will be forwarding this to my clients who can get a better perspective of the social media wave. Cheers!!

  • Great article. I think alot of up and coming musicians need this kind of info in S.A besides the normal music 101. Keep it up.

  • Jennifer Dennard

    These are great tips. I think many of us might have a wide range of talents just waiting to be aggregated into a brand via the social media realm. Tips like these can help you put them all together in a cohesive package. Once you get your “brand” up and running – you blog regularly, update your Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter accounts regularly, it’s important to remember that brands need a little managing from time to time to maintain relevance. Check out my recent Examiner.com post, “Managing the Mommy Brand,” for tips. (And no, you don’t have to be a mom to take advantage of the advice.) http://bit.ly/cRLiuo

  • Thanks for sharing this blog. I’ve actually begun to do some of the points in the How Do you Market ‘You’ the Brand section.

  • Bob

    Good point about being visibly active in your community. We may be living in a digital world, but the real world still likes to see us in person from time to time. This makes us “real” and they will then connect with us online.

  • Charlene

    Personal Branding can be done for you – easy and affordable – check the website http://www.repuindex.com – type your name into ‘search my repuitation index’ see what you find – not happy put your name into ‘brand me search’ on homepage and sign up with us- its so affordable you would not believe it!

  • Jeff’s post is bang on the money. I’d add search engine and social media optimisation into the mix by ensuring your blog / website is self hosted in order to control all the elements necessary to make sure search engines present it in relevant searches. From a social media perspective, upload any presentations to Slideshare and photos to Flickr, create a Yahoo profile and you should see a difference. These in tandem with Facebook, Linkedin and YouTube are amongst the most visited sites on the web.

    Disagree with the last comment from Charlene. You have to work at it. Sure automation helps, but people start to see through it quickly and easily and it can turn people off. Jeff plays it close to the line repeating his blogs over and over on Twitter but it brought me here today so it’s proof it works!

  • All good practical advice. I particularly like #2 because it
    uses a traditional / personal approach. People still value the personal touch
    above all else. Trust is King. Content and channel are means by which to earn
    trust in a virtual world.

    A few additions on how to positively portray the virtual you:

    – Focus on the one or two channels that will provide you the greatest reach and
    impact. Often even the “experts” get overwhelmed trying to keep too
    many channels current–and then it gets sloppy.

    – Leverage, leverage, leverage content across channels. Balance against which
    channels your target audience views. Tell me once, I’m excited. Tell me three
    times and I’m disengaged.

    – Be sincere. Your target audience is thinking “Would I buy a used car
    from that guy?”

    – Engage through storytelling. If you can, use serial storytelling. If you’re
    really good, add cliff hangers. (Think, Who shot JR?)

    – Be fluent in the languages of twitter, blogs, FB and other channels.
    Understand the nuances of each, otherwise your brand messaging will sound like
    a “Tower of Babel.”

    When commenting, add value. Show that you absorbed the writer’s advice and
    sentiments by building onto his or her thoughts. Whether you agree with the
    writer or not, respect the person’s time and effort by commenting respectfully.

    When commenting, add value. Show that you absorbed the writer’s advice
    and sentiments by building onto his or her thoughts. Whether you agree
    with the writer or not, respect the person’s time and effort by
    commenting respectfully.

  • If you read my book Blogging the Smart Way – How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media and follow the tips and tactics there, then you will be able to create a booming blog

  • Glad to hear you enjoyed it. 🙂

  • Steve Gould

    Great article Jeff though I was surprised you made no mention of Google Plus which has made a lot of ground over the last six months or so, and of which I understand they are now in front of twitter in terms of user accounts.

  • Terseer Ugbor

    Great article, but i have to say i don’t believe one needs to be active on every social media platform to be noticed. (I’m tempted to say example Badoo…lol!), but i know thats not the point of the article here. However, i know people who have become famos from Tweeter alone. I think for a professional personal brand, 1 or max 2 active social media accounts is conservative enough and gives you an image of “i’m busy with real life and cant afford to much time socializing or managing all social media” and even enhances your aura. Just my opinion.