You’re well aware of your reputation, and probably work hard to make sure it’s what you want it to be: a reflection of you and the work you do. Of course by now you’re aware that in this wonderful social media-web 2.0 world, that you are your own brand.
I was talking with a co-worker at lunch yesterday about things to do to get recognized within the company. It’s plain to me, but somehow wasn’t as obvious to my friend. All the work you put into getting noticed within any one organization, to "climb the ladder" as it’s put, can also be focused on building your brand outside the organization and can ultimately be put to better use as a foundation for your brand.
So, you ask, what can you do to start promoting my brand and how is it different than building your reputation? Glad you asked!
Like most things in the online world, it’s both very similar and rather different than what we do offline. Start thinking of yourself as a brand like your favorite cola or automotive company and you’re off to a good start. At the same time, you need to be as diligent and aware of the record you leave behind as you did about your reputation. By working to promote your brand online, you’re going to be leaving behind a permanent record that is easily searchable by anyone.
That can be a double-edged sword of course. If you’re not consistent and follow through, it’ll be remembered, likely written about at some point. It all comes back to word of mouth – the best & hardest type of advertising one can hope for. In the case of personal brand in the 21st century (heh, don’t you just love saying that – so futuristic), it’s a fully indexed and archived word of mouth – and that is the biggest difference. Our memories are now much longer because of the technologies we use.
My biggest tip is to check out resources on the ‘net to start learning more about personal branding and how to go about building a successful one. Starting with Personal Branding Magazine (and it’s fine contributors), and moving on to Googling "personal brand". That’ll get you to the best initial places to start reading up on the topic.
It’s really up to you to make it work. Start filling out some social networks, decide if social tools like Twitter, FriendFeed, Flickr, Brightkite, are for you, start blogging or podcasting. Whatever direction you decide works for you, the key part is to participate and give back as much as you can to the communities that help you build your brand.
(Disclosure: I write the "Social Media Exploration" column for Personal Branding Magazine)
Photo credit: BlueMoose