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Personal Branding: Your Webinar Questions Answered

Last week, I outlined how you can become your own marketing brand in demand at my Brand Yourself Better webinar. Our attendees had a ton of questions on personal branding that we couldn’t get to on the day. Here’s my advice on some of the best:

Personal Branding HeadshotQ: Google+ is becoming more important due to Google’s changes to search results. The emphasis on engagement linked to authorship is changing the game, right?

A: Totally. Remember when “Google Buzz” came out and it was supposed to be the next big thing in social media? Well, it failed.

When Google’s next attempt at a social network, Google+ came out, adoption rate was high but engagement was low.

After Google did it right and incorporated their social network into search results and attached it to website and blog authorship, it totally changed the game. Now, when you search Google, if someone has set up their authorship right, their name and G+ profile is attached to the post and you can basically do a one-click follow, straight from the results page. +1s are also making a difference, as noted by Google here.

If you’re not on Google +, you need to be! Here’s an explanation on how social signals affect SEO for more insight.

Q: Is there a place to grab a checklist of items to keep you on track for building your personal brand?

A: Yes, here:

  1. Determine your brand
    1. Examine your strengths and weaknesses;
    2. What interests you and motivates you professionally or personally?
    3. What is your passion?
    4. What feedback do friends and colleagues provide about how you are perceived?
    5. Differentiator – what unique quality makes you different or unusual?
    6. Your brand = your talent, values, passion, strengths and experience combined
  2. Assets
    1. Updated, regular resume
    2. Spiffy resume, whether it’s just on Linkedin with plenty of links to your other presences on the web, or a visual cv/infographic style resume that fits your industry
    3. Elevator pitch
      i.      10-15 seconds: what you do + what problems you solve + what makes you qualified
    4. Social accounts on the networks your audience is
              i.      Start with three until you’re sure you can consistently manage more if you need
    5. A blog that is your own (try WordPress)
    6. A website if you offer services and need a landing page to provide more info
  3. Tactics
    1. Blog. No blog? Guest post on other industry blogs.
    2. Answer questions on Q&A/forum sites like Quora and Reddit, plus the obvious Facebook Groups and Linkedin Groups
    3. Pitch yourself to reporters through a free service like HARO (Help a Reporter Out)
    4. Consistent content and social media posts
    5. Consistent conversation and engagement, networking with other industry folks, online and off
  4. Visual Identifiers
    1. One special something that makes you recognizable in the real world
    2. A fantastic headshot that is the same across all online networks
    3. A set of colors that relate to you and your personal brand that you use across your online presences and offline collateral (optional)
  5. Measure and assess
    1. Are mentions of your name on the web increasing
    2. Are conversations and engagement with you personally increasing?
    3. Are new people friending and following you?
    4. Look at metrics month over month, what is working and what isn’t

Q: When you are trying to keep personal life and professional life separate, is it still possible to use social media? (Downfall of social media getting tagged in possible family pictures with an adult beverage that you wouldn’t want seen professionally.)

A: I do believe it’s possible; however, I’m a firm believer that on social media, there may not be a line between personal and professional (some may disagree).

What you put about yourself online represents you, and when people search for you, they will find that information.

It’s also kind of important to infuse those little flecks of your personal life into your social accounts so people know that you’re real and well-rounded. It’s also those personal bits that can also make you identify better with others who are like you.

You can of course, make the profiles you prefer private, unsearchable, etc. You can also change your Facebook setting so any tagged photos of you have to be approved before they show up publicly (and you can ban them from being displayed). If you’re okay with managing a few more accounts with much more privacy, then it’s possible.

I advise being honest and transparent in all social media efforts. Being found hiding something isn’t the best impression to make.

Q: What if people who follow you aren’t of interest to you? Must you still follow them back?

A: I like to follow them for a trial period to say thanks for taking interest in me. You may not see something that makes you want to follow them right away, but you might later! Social media is a two-way street. If after a while you find that they still aren’t interesting, unfollow them or use an unfollow app like the ones listed here to help you sort through your followers.

Q: What are your favorite marketing/branding industry blogs or news sites?

A: I love answering this question, but there are so many! Here is just a short list of my favorite industry (marketing, tactics, and business) sites:

Q: What are your suggestions for making your brand stand out, particularly when you share a famous name?
A: I’m  going through this right now! I just changed my name to Miller and let’s face it, there are many more Stacey Millers in the world than my previous last name. Ranking #1 for a name that you share with other people is tough, particularly a celebrity (or ce-web-rity).

One solution I’m seeing is adding a middle initial across online platforms to differentiate your name, and concentrating on ranking for that. Also, try to concentrate on one keyword that describes your personal brand or lifelong industry.

For example, there may be a Stacey Miller who is an actor, so people may search “actor Stacey Miller.” I’m the Stacey Miller who does Social Media, so I make sure “Social Media” is in all of my account bios.

Q: Can you offer the best free Twitter Background site to use?

A: I’ve tried a couple: FreeTwitterDesigner and TwitBacks are the easiest to use. Another free option? Photoshop or GIMP (like Photoshop, but free) and a dimensions cheat sheet.

Q: How do you brand yourself against negative publicity that you may have?

A: The first thing to keep in mind is honesty and transparency online. If there’s something negative about you out there, own up to it, solve it, or apologize publicly.

Nothing makes you look worse than hiding from a dispute. When you own up to it, you show others that you’re trustworthy, credible, and human – and aren’t afraid to correct your mistake. We all make mistakes. So don’t be a skeeze. Once you’ve done this, create consistent content on the web and social as much as you can, to  push the old results down in search.

Q: What are some tools to measure your personal branding efforts and how do I do that?

A: You want to monitor, listen and document things like mentions of your name, industry keywords, industry hashtags, and groups on social and search that are relevant to you.

  • Vocus is an obvious one that measures and tracks any keywords you like, and provides recommendations of new conversations that can create business opportunities.
  • The built-in analytics for Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin are easy ways to see where you are now and how you progress over future weeks, months and years. If the line isn’t trending upward…you know the drill.
  • Google Alerts will send you email updates about the latest Google results based on your search queries.
  • shortens any URLs you share and then tracks the clicks and shares of that URL on their own dashboard.

And remember, the numbers won’t change without you working on them.

Revisit my personal branding webinar and watch the full replay or download the slides from Slideshare.

About Cision Contributor

This post was written by a guest Cision contributor.

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