In today’s day and age, accountability, efficiency and efficacy are making room in the budget for line items like: character, image and reputation. The most valuable product produced by your company is no longer a tangible asset or a service. It’s you. Your brand. Whether businesses fold, fizzle or flourish, one core asset remains. Positive or not, it’s you. Your brand.
If done correctly, a successful personal brand is the very reason why you’ll never have to apply for another job. You may notice very successful people get recruited from a job they love, to a job they love even more. It’s because a majority of the work put into their future careers occurred well before they were even looking. It started with their brand.
A strong personal brand allows you to implant a virtual resume in the minds of everyone you touch. When opportunities present themselves, it’s your brand that pushes your name to the top of the “I know a guy (or girl)” list.
Defining Your Personal Brand
So what makes up a quality personal brand? Simply put, your brand is the definition of you as defined by others, and is made up of five core components:
- Name: Brand success isn’t built upon a name, but rather the value that name holds.
- Image: The best version of yourself put forward. Always.
- Online ID: You’re only as good as the last results when someone ‘Googles you.’
- Reputation: The buzz you create in a room before you even arrive.
- Network: The bigger your network, the bigger your brand.
Regulating Social Media
One key component to brand development and sustainment is social media. While it is very easy in our digital age to put all our twitter eggs in the proverbial basket, it’s important to remember: social media is not a brand strategy, it’s a tool.
We’ve seen this generation viewed under a microscope because of increased social engagement – and that can play to both our advantage and downfall when it comes to brand. A key formula I use daily to ensure my personal brand is being supported by social media is called “The IFE IFE Rule” (pronounced iffy iffy) and stands for:
If what I want to post to any of my social media platforms doesn’t contain two of those six qualities, I don’t post it. Ever. This creates a natural filter and social self-libel litmus test guaranteeing I have the repetition of reputation I need to manage a personal brand successfully. My social media presence is consistent and showcases my brand in a positive light. Always.
Another key to successful brand management through social media is understanding its full potential and using it strategically. You wouldn’t use a pocketknife solely for the nail file, so why limit your brand by excluding the abilities of what your social media accounts can do for you?
My Social Breakdown
Twitter: My Grand Central Station. Anything outbound has to go through this social media hub. It’s a traffic director that allows me to leverage all other social media platforms.
Facebook: My Home. Where I live as a person. Most of the time I have an open house because I want people to get to know me personally. The humanizing piece of Facebook strengthens my brand.
LinkedIn: My office. Where I wear a suit every day, brag about my accomplishments and rub shoulders with other professionals to expand my network.
Instagram: My gallery. A creative outlet which visually captures my life as I see it. The gallery, like Facebook, is located in my home and provides a personal snapshot of my brand.
Social media is more than a blank slate for regurgitation of emotions, diatribes and stalking. It’s a tool. A business tool. A branding tool. The moment you look at social media strategically, the same way big businesses do, you can successfully manage your online presence with the same type of brand development results.
As a businessman/woman, the most important client, account or boss you’ll work for over the entire span of your career, is you. That’s how important a personal brand is. If fired, and resumes didn’t exist, would you feel confident in finding another job? When you strip away your sales figures, budget, analytics and job title, your brand is all you have left. Are you assured that will be enough?
With a successful personal brand the answer is unequivocally: absolutely.
This blog first appear on MattPrince.com. Matt Prince founded a creative agency, launched three successful blogs read in over 100 countries, led the communications department for one of the most influential business organizations in California, and was tapped as executive speech writer and eventually social media manager for one of the biggest brands in the world – all by age 27. At the ripe age of 30, he currently manages brand integration and public relations for the Taco Bell.