10 January 2011

Your own online brand and identity

I am sorry for the few followers that I already have, but I barley had time to write down some of my ideas in detail due to [enter random excuse here]. You see, because of the [enter random excuse here], I had not enough time to express my views accordingly, but today I managed to sit down and finally start writing my things down. And you know, it’s a lot of fun actually!

So, this first post discusses why you should be engaging in the web and what you should keep in mind when doing so, so here we go:

In an age of financial disasters, fierce competition, and
the fact that everyone is trying to strive for the best possible results for their careers, I believe it is essential to have a strong online portfolio in a way or another. Online engagement within the industry is key, whether you follow PR professionals on Twitter or create blogs like this one here; it develops you as an individual. Essentially, like with most things you engage in actively, you start learning without to necessary hitting the books. It’s a gradual learning curve and soon you will discover why this is important.
So why should you have an online portfolio? Well, the reasons are quite simple:

Creating content – Tadaaaa! Engaging in socia
l networks or posting stuff on blogs allows you to have your owned media channel. Your own platform allows interacting with people and discussing things you may find interesting. Like in this case, BurnYourPRBook tries to be a discussion platform for PR related topics where professional and fellow students may add comments so everyone can learn from it. In this extremely fast paced industry, keeping up with knowledge and especially technology, is key.

Commitment – Oh yes, this is probably my favo
rite one. Engaging in the Web 2.0 shows that you are committed. So basically, next time you apply for that awesome job you always wanted and you claim to be a committed person, show them what you have done, what you think about certain topics and what other people think about your ideas. Start a blog, Twitter around, create a LinkedIn profile, have a website, just be out there. There are plenty of other people with huge potential out there but with no backup and representation, so be ahead of them and do your thing now.

Transparency – In these days, transparency is very important. This does not necessary mean that your Facebook account is accessible to everyone and all your ‘Friends’ see what you’ve done last Friday night or what kind of dress you bought recently, but you
can be transparent without worrying too much about your privacy. In my opinion for example, I truly believe that Facebook should be used for private purposes, blogs and broadcast tools as your own media platform, Twitter to send out your message and LinkedIn for your professional purposes. Going back to Facebook, be a fan of Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber, I’m not going to judge you, just make sure your personal interests and professional interests are a bit separated. In my own case, I follow brands, DJ’s and PR professionals on Twitter, because they provide me the info I need and want out of them. Facebook is strictly for people I actually know, classmates and old friends. If you want to be professional, why bother with Facebook if you got specific site for professional profiling?

Online Resume – Obviously, as soon as you start creati
ng content you create an online resume where potential employers, fellow students and professionals can get a pretty good idea of who you are and what you think about certain issues. Also, whenever you claim to have 'strong visual and presentation skills', show them. Online services such as SlideShare are excellent platforms to share your presentations online.

Accessibility – I remember when I started getting used to the Internet about 10-12 years ago, and in my own little world, a company or brand that had no website, did not exist for me. Toda
y, this feeling is stronger than ever and if I do research for anything and I can’t find it on the Internet, it just doesn’t exist for me. I know, it may be a totally wrong approach, but anyone not being on the web nowadays, on the most successful and open communication platform every created is planned to fail. Come on.

“So now you got me all excited now. What should I do next?”

To be honest, I am not quite sure what to sugg
est but with my background in media production and management I would assume following things to keep in mind:

Relevant content – Give your followers content they want, something that is
interesting. What upsets me most with the major marketing/PR/ad blogs out there is that most of them repost content over and over again. Of course there are many exceptions (Brian Solis) as well, but if you start following blogs you see that content repeats itself. What does this mean for you? You read stuff over and over again and well, it’s a waste of time. Create relevant content, content that people might find interesting to read and engage with. It may be crappy at the beginning, but eventually, hopefully, please God, it will evolve into something interesting and specific people may find worth following and actually engaging with. Don’t post how awesome your breakfast was or how cute that puppy was you saw yesterday, if you want to be professional, keep content relevant.

Create an identity – Global companies spend millions in their brand identity because they are represented in very different markets and areas all around the world. They want you, most likely being a consumer, to associate a certain color or style with their brand, so why not apply this fundamental theory to your identity as well? Basic marketing and design theories show you clearly how to do this, but to make things easy and simple, I listed a few very basic things to keep in mind:

1. Brand consistency – If you can, try to be consistent with your image. Create an appealing design for your blog that people will associate with you, modify your Twitter page with the same colors, make your YouTube channel the same s
tyle as your other platforms, add the same colors to your signature in your Gmail account. Its all about details and people will see that. Have a unified profile picture, a distinct writing style. Nothing worse than one person with several media channels and completely different styles.

2. The vicious circle - Connect everything you have with everything you have. Have your Twitter, LinkedIn, whatever social media you are using, to your Facebook, to your MySpace account (oh wait a second, does anyone still uses MySpace except artists?), to your FourSquare, even in your e-mail signature. Create vicious circle people cannot get out from, muahahaha.

3. The exception: LinkedIn – With a slightly satirical and very casually written blog like this, I do not want people to think that this is the way I act professionally. By now I hope that most of you realized that this blog is more of a fun project with a, hopefully, relevant content for the world. That is why professional social networks such as LinkedIn are very important. It is where the fun times are over and where you as a professional can post your whole educational and professional life. Be detailed, do not make any mistakes, join groups, network with everyone you meet at networking parties and have a strong ‘Summary’.

Ok, so this was the first post. I hope I provided with some interesting content and perhaps a few of you got inspired to start writing and setting up online identities. And please, write some comments, let me know what was good or bad. I am looking forward for all your comments so we can all learn from this ☺

In the mean time, connect with me if you want. Next post will be hitting this blog soon!

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