Brand management gets personal

What do you bring to the table? Make sure everyone knows!

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Careers are really made now online, and you’re going to see it more and more in the future,” said Dan Schawbel, a personal branding expert and author of the upcoming book “Promote Yourself: The New Art of Getting Ahead.” “Think of the online world as a global talent pool. That’s where you’re going to be finding people. If you don’t exist in that pool — having your own Web site, being on the top social networking sites — then you can’t compete in that pool. And once you’re in the pool, you have to constantly manage that presence. It should be part of your daily routine, part of your career.”What do you bring to the table? Make sure everyone knows.

To this (quoted in the January 21 Chicago Tribune article by Rex Huppke titled “I Just Work Here”), I say a hearty “AMEN!” As an independent consultant, job seeker, nonprofit Board member, and transitioner to a new market, I have seen over and over how LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms have brought opportunities to me, kept my colleagues up to date on my progress and movements, allowed me to share in discussions, informed me about events and people and in short, expanded my professional community in ways I never could have done on my own and/or in the “live” world.

For anyone changing careers or jobs, marketing or selling a product or service (including their own expertise), I highly recommend becoming better at branding.  You don’t have to be an expert right away – just start with one thing – update your LinkedIn profile or join a discussion group; make a commitment to send one tweet every week and start following experts in your field… start small and your life will take on a new dimension.  Why? As Heppke said, “That’s the world we live in, folks. We’re no longer just people — we’re warm-blooded versions of Nike or Budweiser or, in my case, Breyer’s or Dairy Queen.”

So what do you do to get started or maintain a social media brand presence? Here are a few tips for the simplest approach:

1. Find five key leaders in your field on Twitter, and follow them.  Read their posts every day.

2. Update your LinkedIn profile with your most recent accomplishments, no matter how mundane you think they might be.  Events you’ve attended, speakers you’ve heard, papers or articles you’ve written, research you’ve done, things that have inspired you… these (with url links if possible so people can find out more) are worth mentioning and could be helpful to others.

3. Join at least two LinkedIn professional discussion groups in your field. (If you are a student, join your school’s discussion group or start one and tell fellow classmates about it.)

4. If you have a blog, be sure to link it to your other social media platforms.

In all your communications and interactions, show people what you bring to the table, what you offer that is uniquely yours and of value to others.

This is your best chance to shine and stand out in 2013!

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About Jaya Koilpillai Bohlmann
Global corporate communication, business, and organization behavior executive; author. My blog, DesigningCommunication, offers inspiration, insight, and tips for all professionals who want to express themselves effectively, and lead with integrity.

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