Branding

10 Tips to Creating a Personal Brand Online

 

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Ever since my thread on twitter about personal branding, people have been asking for a blog post. It seems timely to start the new year. The new year is always about new beginnings.

Your brand is your reputation. How you are perceived online is just as important (if not more important) than how you are perceived offline.

Here are a few personal branding tips to take into 2017:

  1. Your brand is your story: I find it interesting that many people don’t share what they do for a living on their social networks. Most use it for their passions, gossip and jokes. Which is all great and all but shouldn’t you be using your networks to share a little bit more about yourself? If you are self-employed or are seeking a promotion at work, start thinking of yourself as a brand. No matter what you do for a living more and more what we share on social media reflects on us. Employers look at your social networks before they choose to hire you. Remove any tagged photos of you in any comprimising positions or just make sure those types of pictures are private.
  2. Decide what you want to portray: Just as you would create a strategy for your business or marketing plan, so too should you create a plan for your personal brand. How do you want to be perceived? What are your goals? Your passions? Make short term goals and long term goals. And put plans in place to achieve them.
  3. Secure a personal website domain in your name: A part of managing your online reputation is making sure that your name is secured. Just think back to when  someone secured Portia Simpson Miller’s domain name and redirected it to Gleaner’s website showing an article about the PNP facing funding problems. Not pretty.
  4. Offer distinct value: Remember people don’t want to feel like you are advertising to them, so try in ways that are subtle to give advice or tips in your industry without pushing things down people’s throats. Figure out how you stand out from the rest.
  5. Start a blog: Here you can give a more detailed opinions and advice about your industry. That way people can opt-in to getting more in depth information if they choose. Be sure to share on your social networks. Try to blog 2-3 times a week. As more of your information is shared, so will your profile.
  6. Take professional photos to share on your social networks: Not just for Linkedin, professional photos can be used on other networks as well. Use these for your profile pictures.
  7. Fix up your resume and Linkedin profile: Write a bio with a description of your work experience and some of your professional goals. Make sure it is concise and strategic in representing you in the best possible light.
  8. Create a logo of your name: Create a logo of your name and make business cards with your social networks and contact number. This way people will remember you and can easily reach out to you when they need to. Business cards are still relevant and memorable.
  9. Use your social networks to tell a story about you as a person, your goals and yes, your industry:Tell a story and have fun! Use Instagram to share interesting pictures and quotes, twitter for blog posts and micro-blogging and facebook to connect with people in your network.
  10. Remember offline is just as important as online: Online is great and all but face-to-face is also very important in getting your personal brand out there. How you dress, how you greet people and the things you choose to discuss are all representative of who you want to portray.

If you need help with creating a personal brand online, I can help to enhance your personal profile. Please feel free to reach out to me via social networks or email me at kesigardner36@gmail.com

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Branding, PR, Social Media, Strategy

The Future of the Press model in the rise of Social Media

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Photo Credit: INTERACT

The political landscape has changed significantly in Jamaica in the past couple of years. Social media and digital marketing in general have helped to transform it, as politicians use it as a tool to engage their voters. We saw this in the last general election. JLP was very targeted in its approach, using online digital ads to reach female voters between the ages of 24-35 years old and mobilizing its MPs to use their social media accounts to inform and participate with their audiences.

As social media continues to increase in popularity, so too will politicians using it as a direct line to the public. Politicians can get insight through comments, likes and even debates about what matters to voters. This can dictate strategy and the tailoring of messages, as politicians become more aware of what is important to the masses.

They can bypass the media, as Trump did in the US election, (using half of his ad budget on digital) and continues to do so before his inauguration.

Trump has Influence of Over 17 million

He uses Twitter as a direct line to his now 17 million followers, side-stepping traditional media, sharing his unfiltered personal views. His influence is such that traditional media comments on his every tweet, with bated breath. Instead of the news reporting their views on a topic as given to them with privilege (either through press release or press conference), they are now forced to share the news direct from the source and then try to make sense of it.

Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness and many other heads of state, use social media to converse with their followers. The PAJ’s desire to have more access to the Prime Minister through more press conferences, is their way of making sure that they maintain access to this privilege.

To imply that the press is asking hard-hitting questions that only they are capable of asking, is negating the opinions of the public, who are the same ones that the press is asking the questions on behalf of.

The Media got it wrong in the US election

And journalists are biased most times, even if they try not to be. When I think of the weeks I watched CNN and witnessed numerous conversations, polls and opinions in favour of Clinton’s win—only to be side lined when Trump won. Boy did the media get it wrong! They were so busy trying to scandalize Trump that they failed to listen to the public’s views and report what they found. Isn’t that after all what the press is for?

Andrew Holness’s team continues to use social media as a way to keep the public informed. It is a more calculated form of communication than Trump, as it should be, but it gives you an insight as to how social media is affecting the political landscape in Jamaica. If Andrew Holness can send a Facebook post to his over 190,000 fans and get a response in real-time over going through traditional media sources that may or may not print his story, why should he?

Integrated Approach is still Best

As a communications practitioner, I say integrated approach is still the best way to reach your audience. Using traditional media channels in conjunction with social media and PR is still important to building awareness. Having your news story told by a reputable, respected news source only gives it strength and notoriety. And this I strongly believe, read my article on “Why Traditional Media still Matters” here.

But as someone who saw first-hand how biased the media can be, I say that social media will force the press to re-evaluate their model for how they approach reporting. News will have to become much more objective and integrated with social media. The future of the press relies on it.

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