Using social networking to build your personal brand

Published:  August 10, 2011
Using social networking to build your personal brand

My mother always used to tell me, “You are your friends.” That was her way of making sure I understood that those with whom I associated were a direct reflection on me.

I suppose that’s why now, although I am always trying to network in the creative industry to meet contacts and candidates that I can eventually match up, I’m somewhat selective about the people I connect with on places like LinkedIn and Twitter. It’s each individual’s preference, but, ultimately, I see this network as a reflection of my own personal brand.

I won’t, for instance, accept a LinkedIn invitation from someone with whom I’ve not at least had a phone conversation. Having someone in my LinkedIn network means that I’d be comfortable, even confident, introducing that person to someone else, whether it be to speak with them about recruitment opportunities or to make a connection that would benefit the businesses of both parties. I’ve had this conversation many times with colleagues and it seems to come down to people being in one of two camps: those who connect with anyone (called ‘open networkers’ on LinkedIn) and those who don’t. There’s no right or wrong way, I just prefer to control my network a bit more.

Twitter to some extent is the opposite, as it’s really information that is in perpetual motion. Here, although still keeping in mind Mum’s adage, I’m more inclined to first follow people, companies and blog posts that provide me and the people who follow me with the information I need to do my job well and stay connected to the industry. It’s that information that might lead me to re-tweet or even reach out in direct contact to network in some way.

Both social networking examples (plus any others you may be using) are part of what goes into developing your own personal brand. As marketers and people in the world of design, we know it’s all about the brand. We should be constantly crafting and managing that brand over time in order to market our capabilities, stay relevant to those who look to us for help and to build our reputation in the industry. What better way to do that than to network with people who share your values, share your industry insight and share the same level of professional integrity?

I’ve spoken with a number of people who think that LinkedIn is a recruitment tool. They believe that listing their name and information is as good as telling their manager they’re looking for a new job. Just the opposite is true. It’s a powerful tool that’s built to help you strengthen the business you’re doing. Designers, studio managers, traffic managers: how valuable is it to always have access to resources like print vendors and photographers? Social media offers global access to those resources.

Allow your network to work for you and it will perpetuate itself, continuing to build the types of connections that will help make you more and more successful over time and will continue to help build your personal brand.

From desktop magazine.

Thumbnail image available here.

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