Friday, October 15, 2010
Personal Branding In The Age Of Social Media. What's Your USP?
Social media had changed the way many of us communicate. No one can debate that. And across social media sites our personality and face to the world is communicated to friends, family, co-workers, business partners, prospective employers and just about anyone else you can think of. Welcome to age of personal branding.
Personally, no where has this been more critically evident than on LinkedIn. Finding myself laid off back at the end of June, LinkedIn became a much bigger part of my life. Although consulting work took up my summer, I found myself in job search mode in September and quickly realized how the game had changed.
After meeting with my most-awesome career coach, Cindy Pain, she educated me on the value of LinkedIn and the modern mantra of the personal brand. Like product marketing, personal branding begins with determining ones differentiation in the market and USP. How are you different? What makes you tick in ways that makes most other people talk? What unique characteristics are going to make you stand out from other candidates or business partners? And why are those differences valuable? It's not an easy task - sometimes the most difficult sell is ourselves, especially when one is raised under the tenets that modestly and being humble are positive traits.
Overcoming these barriers is easy to do when one looks at the competition. How are the best in the business selling themselves? IMHO, the best don't resort to hyperbole or schmaltz, they focus on what's core to their personal brand and what's unique and then translate those characteristics into a key message of value that is then reiterated throughout all social media touch points and points of communication digital, analog and interpersonal.
For me, this process began with the development of my head shot. As a photographer, I of course had to control the process. It wasn't easy. I suddenly found myself thinking back to a episode of Seinfeld, where Jerry dated a two-face, who, depending on the lighting, looked either as pretty as a picture, or let's just say, not so pretty. To watch what I'm talking about check out this clip:
Funny stuff, but not if it's you and your personal brand we're talking about!
This is your face to the outside world, so better make it good. Try different angles, sides and lighting situations. Get the money shot then crop it for your cover to your personal brand.
Next post I'll talk about building out your brand in different ways and how to take your product to market in the most effective way possible.