Last week I spoke as part of the panel on Promoting Your Personal Brand at IABC France (the International Association of Business Communicators). Three other speakers were a French headhunter, Anne-Céline Lejeune, director of career development at American University of Paris, Danielle Savage, and one of the leading French bloggers, Christophe Ginisty.
At the end of the lively discussion, one of my main beliefs about personal branding was confirmed. The formula for successful management of your Personal Brand lies in mastering social media to promote your area of expertise.
Personal Brand Success = Social Media Mastery + Expertise.
If you are thinking reading this «Personal Brand is just a buzzword, I don’t have one», or «I don’t need to manage my brand», think again.
Here’s why: whether you are on a job hunt, a graduate, gainfully employed, or an executive, you must think, act and plan like an entrepreneur or business leader. With the surge of social media, you are not only able, but you now have the need to manage your reputation — both online and in real world.
If you don’t manage your online reputation, it will be managed for you. Taking ownership of your personal brand is very important because otherwise people will categorize you based on a first impression. That first impression may not correspond to your branding stretagy. Without any time investment to actively manage your brand, you will start to find others who are branding you for better or worse.
Anne-Celine confirmed that employers and headhunters will google every single candidate before they even invite you to an interview. «You will not believe what kind of things I find on people on the Internet» told us Anne-Celine. The first place she will go is to check their Linkedin profile. If you do not have a Linkedin profile, it is really bad news, as it means you are not keeping up with the digital age and do not care about your Brand. Then headhunters/employers will go further, eg looking you up on Facebook, Twitter…
Your current employer probably has an eye on what you’re doing online, too. When you interact with people, both online and offline, they’ll build up an image of who you are over time. We all know people on Facebook who post dozens of times a day, on anything and everything, in an erratic and dysfunctional way. Their Personal Brand or reputation is being managed for them as we form our opinion of them as highly erratic and not focused.
And here’s where you can come in and turn this around: You want to be in control of all of those impressions. Why leave your professional reputation to chance, when you can be your own PR guru and manage your image?
Your personal brand is all about who you are and what you want to be known for. In the next blog posts, I’m going to break down the process for building your brand into a few easy steps.