Here’s a short one, but chock full of information that might be useful to you. You might not be ready to admit yet that you’re a brand. You might not have yet discovered the value of yourself as a brand. It might benefit you to start giving it some thought, and at least preparing for that potential outcome now, just in case. Here are some suggestions:
- Buy Your Name – Register your first and last name as a domain with GoDaddy or some other service, just to hold the real estate. If someone else has it, you can either back-order it, or pick something close enough that it will still hold value. Why? Because you might want it, that’s why. And buy your kids’ names as domains, too.
- Register your name as your username– on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Jaiku, Pownce, and all the social networks you choose to try out. If you want brand consistency, use the same name on all of them. Take it from a guy who uses a lot of these apps, if you’re more than one name on the sites, you get jumbled in my mind.
- Consider Your “Message”– If you’re using these social networks simply to connect, is there anything behind it? Are you just looking to have conversations with interesting people? Cool! You’ve got the right tools. Are you looking to meet friends, business partners, relationship mates? All great. But make sure you know how you’re thinking of using these things, and try to keep everything personal and genuine, and aligned with what you’re trying to accomplish.
- Branding is About Your Choices– There’s that “choice” thing again. Branding is every bit about what you decide to take on for work, and what you let go past. If you’re committed to doing X, then do X, or you’re putting out a serious message. Learn to say no, so that you have the space to focus on your core abilities. Make yourself do this and it will pay off in very short notice. Focus, be strong, and make good choices.
- Don’t Overlap– If you consider all these various networks as channels, presume we’re all on them, too. Or if not, think of a way to segregate what you’re saying, so that you’re not Twittering, Facebook statusing, and whatever else-ing the same status messages to me from various channels. If you’re a podcaster, I don’t need an email newsletter, a Ning group, a Twitter, and your Facebook status to tell me you’ve got a new show. Maybe pick one channel, and call that good *or* think about splitting your “lists” so that I get the message in only one format, if at all possible.
- Make Contact Easy– Do you have business cards that align with your message? Do you have contact information clearly and easily referenced on all your sites? Are you driving people to use your communications tool of choice? Consider that for a moment. If you don’t like answering the phone, tell people you prefer email, except for dire emergencies. People usually will honor your requests.
- Consider Your Behavior– Remember that branding isn’t logos, software, and usernames. It’s about presenting yourself in such a way that people get an impression of you and your value. People will form an impression regardless. The hope is that you’ve come up with ways for them to form a good one.
What’s your take? What have you done to build your personal brand? How do people understand the message you’re putting out? Do YOU understand it?