I’ve been thinking about my online brand for a few years now. It started out back in 2007, when I only had a MySpace page (and a pitiful one at that) and I decided that I needed some professional assets to offset the intoxicated party-posts that comprised most of my MySpace.
Since then, I’ve enhanced my brand, little by little over the years. I started with a wordpress.com blog, moved over to a self-hosted blog and now I have a fully created professional website.
I also have a presence on a variety of other social networks – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Slideshare and countless others.
When I started creating a personal brand online, it wasn’t because I knew how valuable it would be. It was because I was embarrassed of MySpace.
How I Built My Personal Brand
It all started with thought-leadership content. I was working for an internet startup and I wanted to share some of our social media marketing learnings. Social media was new and I had the opportunity to experiment and share the results. It wasn’t rocket-science, and I wasn’t really doing it to build my brand. It was more about sharing something I knew.
What I realized really quickly was that if you show people your expertise consistently online, you don’t have to tell them you are the expert. By showing what I was doing in social media marketing, I became an expert.
I built my brand simply by talking about what I knew about.
My Online Brand Got Me My First Client (and it was a HUGE ONE)
After the startup I was working for sold, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next. I continued to blog and had a Twitter account (LinkedIn wasn’t too big back then), and I still wasn’t really trying to build a brand online.
One day, I got a Tweet from a brand manager at P&G. I had worked at P&G in the past, but he didn’t know me from that. He followed me on Twitter and read my blog. He told me that they were trying to do social media and needed some help.
They hired me as a consultant, and I had the opportunity to work with P&G on their first social media community manager strategy (a model that is now replicated throughout the company).
Then I realized my Brand Mattered
This was when I started to get it. If I had wanted to work with P&G on social media I never would have been able to get my foot in the door. BUT when I created a personal brand that showed my knowledge, they came to me.
Over the years, I became more proactive about showing and sharing my knowledge and expertise online through different social media channels.
I have generated more and more value from this.
I got offered to co-author a textbook because I had written a blog post on social media strategy and it resonated with the person who had the book deal.
I have gained countless new clients from LinkedIn because they see me sharing content on social media and I am the first person to come to mind when they need support.
I’ve received countless international speaking and training opportunities from people who found me on search engines.
How I Built My Personal Brand Online
I built my personal brand online organically – by simply sharing my knowledge across multiple social networks and introducing myself to different audiences. Every year I’ve improved a bit.
This isn’t rocket science, but many people just don’t know where to start. The key steps to personal branding identified in Launch Yourself, our new personal branding class are Define, Design and Deliver. Start by knowing what you want and who you are, build credibility around it and deliver it online in a compelling way.