While many of us use social media to connect with friends and colleagues, to share our favorite photos and to exchange lots of information, how many of us are actively working to build our personal brands?
Should we bother? Won’t our managers wonder why we have the time to tweet and post and +1 when we should be “doing our jobs?” Many marketers are asking themselves if now is the time to build their personal brand.
We know that while “brands” used to be only for businesses, we are seeing the start of a new era: the employee-brand.
In preparation for my Personal Branding webinar with the Online Marketing Institute’s Megan Leap (@MeganLeap) on July 11th at 2pm EST, here are my answers to 5 personal branding questions…
1. Why is personal branding important for marketers?
Because our personal brands and the marketing that we do are inextricably linked. We have to create compelling content and we need to nurture our networks so that we have the personal influence to share great content in an authentic and helpful way. Personal branding is the only way for the marketing of the future to be successful.
2. Should marketers keep separate social profiles for personal and business use?
Do you become a different person when you walk into the office or a meeting. Of course not. We are who we are and we need to own it! Our personality is what makes us unique and powerful. The context may be different and we have to respect that a business meeting and family time with our kids are different situations that require different context and norms that must be adhered to. But I like to quote one of my favorite twitter personalities @LisaBarone on this question: decide who you want to be and then bleed it on all your social accounts.
3. How important is blogging when it comes to your personal brand?
Your blog is an opportunity for you to create your own space on the web. Blogging is really important because it allows you to share your unique point of view. It allows you to share content you find valuable. And it allows personal brands like you to become thought leaders.
4. When and why did you start B2B Marketing Insider?
I started blogging in May, 2010 because I was asked to drive social media as the head of digital / online marketing for SAP North America. I had always wanted to start one and this was just the push I needed. I also knew that in order to do social, you have to be social.
I was already a year into my Twitter addiction and once I started blogging, I really saw how the power of dynamic personal blog content could be amplified by my social connections.
I wrote my first blog posts on why I was in Marketing and why I was starting this blog. The key reasons, aside from what I explained above were to claim a stake in my personal brand, to interact with people around common themes, to share my experience and opinions and because I was excited for the journey. I believe blogging is the most important marketing campaign of your life.
5. Any advice for marketers who want to start developing their personal brand?
First, is just do it. You have to fight the common myths, aka excuses, people don’t focus on their personal brand: that you don’t have time, that your opinion is not unique, that no one will read it. These are all bull because most people simply have irrational fears that no one will read it or that they will get in trouble or feel stupid. The fact is that we all have unique experiences and opinions and that the world needs to hear your voice.
Second, is to simply commit to a regular schedule. I took Seth Godin’s advice to imagine that there is just one person out there who is waiting for your content and to write for them. With that motivation, I get through the days when I really don’t feel like writing.
Third, is that blogging is very therapeutic. It helps you to process new information, challenges, frustrations and to take those emotions and turn them into something practical and positive.
Last but not least, is the people you meet and the connections you make. I have met and interacted with the most amazing people. And nothing is cooler then when I interact with someone online, we comment on each other’s blogs and re-tweet each other and then we meet in person and have a drink. It’s like seeing an old friend even though you just met. The single biggest factor that keeps me going is all the great people I have met along my own personal branding journey.