Social Networking and Success
If you want to create positive personal impact, you need to do three things. 1) Create and nurture your unique personal brand. 2) Be impeccable in your presentation of self -- in person and on line. 3) Know and follow the basic rules of etiquette. Even if you're not in business for yourself, you need to have a personal brand and a web presence to create positive personal impact. These days, I hear the question, "If you don't exist on line, do you really exist?" That's a good question. Prospective employers will Google you. You'll be better off, if they like what they see. It's much better than if they find unfavorable results or nothing at all. Today when people want to learn about you most of their answers usually come from Google.
This can be pretty scary -- if you don't take the time to make sure that you have an internet presence that reflects well on you. The best place to begin is with your unique personal brand. Your personal brand highlights what is special and unique about you -- why you are not a commodity.
For my money, the best book on personal branding is Career Distinction by William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson. They stress the importance of the "Three C's" -- Clarity, Consistency and Constancy. You can use the internet to help you with all three C's.
I'm a big believer in social networking sites to help you build your brand online. LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace are great places to build relationships with like-minded people. I believe that LinkedIn is best for building professional relationships. Choose the social network where you have the greatest affinity with the people who are on it.
Leaving comments on targeted blogs is another good way to build your brand on line. This means that you read blogs that are tied to your field or area of expertise and comment on posts that interest you. I used to be bad about this. I read quite a few blogs, but commented very infrequently. I set a goal to leave at least five comments on blogs per day. That's 25 comments a week. I've stuck to it, and it has paid off. I have raised my web presence by commenting on other people's blogs. Of course, I am in business for myself, and my web presence is very important to me.
You don't have to do 25 comments a week. Start small, one comment a day is reasonable. I think that if you have limited time, you are better off starting your own blog and posting two or three times a week. This will also boost your web presence and enhance your personal brand. This assumes, of course, that you have something to say. And, in my opinion, everyone has something to say.
On line book reviews are another way to build your brand. Do you read a lot? If so, take a few minutes and review books that you like on Amazon. Because I blog about books quite a bit, I have started to receive review copies from major publishing houses. A while back, I decided to post only positive reviews. If I don't like a book, I don't do a negative review. I do this because there are enough interesting, well written books out there. I choose to focus on them instead of bashing those books (however few) I don't like. If you begin writing reviews, you too, may start receiving free books to review.
The common sense point here is simple. Use the internet to build your personal brand by paying attention to your internet presence. Focus on the "three C's" -- clarity, Consistency, and Constancy when building your brand -- both on line and off line. Make sure your web presence reflects the person you want others -- especially those who don't know you -- to see. Besides presenting yourself well, you can do a number of things to amp up your web presence. Write a blog, comment on other people's blogs. Review books on Amazon.com. Having a lot of hits come up when someone Google's you is a good thing.