On October 7, 2009, I have the opportunity to speak at the Sparks Chamber of Commerce 2009 Business Forum. You might be surprised to know that I am not speaking about positive organizational behavior per se, but about personal branding. I am also teaching a new course on personal branding with Ronele Klingensmith entitled “Google is your new business card: Building a valuable personal brand.”
Whether you are a business owner, an employee, or a senior leader in a large organization, I think everyone needs to develop their personal brand. Like it or not, you already have a personal brand so the best thing to do is to take responsibility for it and to strategically maximize its value. Social media and Web 2.0 presents all of us with a tremendous opportunity to professionally develop our brand.
I think personal branding using social media should be done with a single operating principle: Consistently Contribute Value.
- Value: How do you use your style, knowledge, and abilities to add unique value? What is it you do that merits exceptional compensation? My value is my passion for and knowledge about leadership, management, and positive organizational behavior. Select your social media platforms for their ability to help you enhance your personal value and their ability to connect you with people that have an interest in that value.
- Contribute: Build relationships with others by giving freely from your value, and never ask for anything in return. Show others that you value them so much that you will share your expert knowledge freely with them and they will reciprocate, thereby increasing your value. Web 2.0 is about building relationships and helping others, not about advertising and selling.
- Consistently: Real relationships require your presence and active participation. You have to show up regularly with a consistently valuable contribution. If you don’t show up regularly, you have either stopped caring or have run out of value to share.
Make sure YOU understand clearly how you can help others solve a problem that is meaningful to them. Use social media to consistently communicate your ability and willingness to contribute to others and never ask for anything in return other than the opportunity to continue to earn their trust. To the extent you do this with authenticity and excellence, they will tell others in their trusted network about you.
Don’t miss this: the reason we invest the time and effort in personal branding is because we expect a residual return in value.
And if all that were not enough, personal branding through social media is free!