To Be Findable, Share Your Content Online

February 2, 2012

To a great extent, you can control what people see when they Google your name. You can proactively create the content that fills your digital footprint.

I suggest you create content that reflects the three dimensions of what your brand represents. Those categories are:

  1. Who you are professionally. LinkedIn is the basic platform for sharing this information. You may also decide to use other websites—perhaps even your own url—where you can showcase your portfolio, resume and other relevant information.
  2. Who you are personally. I recommend using Facebook for this purpose. If, however, you prefer not to use Facebook as a branding tool, then I suggest your work very hard to find another online presence where people can see you as a real person.
  3. How you view the world. A blog is an excellent way to share your ideas and your perspective. I recommend that your first blog posts provide information that you hope your next employer will ask you in an interview.

Creating and sharing content will make you more finadable online. This will help you build your personal brand and will increase your chances of being interviewed and ultimately hired.

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These ideas on personal branding were originally presented during two workshops I conducted for the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. The sessions were attended by current and aspiring nonprofit leaders who came from across the nation for the annual Alliance Management/Leadership Institute, the nation’s largest leadership development and networking symposium for students, faculty and nonprofit professionals. —DH


To Be Findable, Expand Your Digital Footprint

February 1, 2012

Google your name. The search results represent your digital footprint.

Do you like what you see?

Does your online presence help someone understand 1) who you are professionally, 2) who you are personally and 3) how you see the world around you? Does your digital footprint contain enough information for a prospective employer to “know” you before he or she calls you for a first interview?

When you look at your digital footprint, ask yourself how much of it you actually created? How much it was created by others? Do you have control over your personal brand?

You can expand your digital footprint and actually shape your online image by being findable on at least three social media platforms. I recommend LinkedIn, Facebook and a blog as the basics for building your online image. You can then connect your social media platforms by linking them together. For example, you can put a link in your Twitter profile directing people to your blog. Then, in the “About Me” tab of your blog, you can include links to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

To be findable in a competitive job market, deliberately look for ways to expand your online presence. You really can create and control the size and shape of your digital footprint, so make it impressive.

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These ideas on personal branding were originally presented during two workshops I conducted for the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. The sessions were attended by current and aspiring nonprofit leaders who came from across the nation for the annual Alliance Management/Leadership Institute, the nation’s largest leadership development and networking symposium for students, faculty and nonprofit professionals. —DH


To Be Differentiated, Blend Personal and Professional

January 26, 2012

Many job seekers—your competitors—have been advised by friends or career counselors to hide the personal dimensions of their personal brands.

Job seekers are admonished to set their Facebook settings high so others cannot look over the wall. Some Twitter newbies protect their tweets so strangers cannot follow them. Too many job seekers have been programmed to fear the unknown evil lurking in the shadows of the Internet.

Here’s your opportunity to differentiate yourself! The more your competitors hide themselves, the greater advantage you have to establish your brand. By being transparent and open, you can stand out from the herd.

For any job opening, you’ll likely compete with dozens (or perhaps hundreds) of people who have work histories, job titles and career accomplishments very similar to yours. From the vantage point of a prospective employer, it looks as if everyone was shaped by the same cookie cutter.

How can you stand out from those who naively believe they can effectively sell themselves in a one-dimensional way? One effective method is to be real. Show others that you are a real, multifaceted person. Show others the splendor of your multidimensional brand.

If you present only your professional persona—as impressive as it might be—you are branding yourself too shallowly. Our 2.0 world requires authenticity and transparency. Being authentic and transparent will definitely help you differentiate yourself and your brand.

People like doing business with people they know, or at least with people who present themselves as real-life human beings. A resume or even a LinkedIn profile is usually a sterile, sanitized description of one facet of your brand. Seldom does a resume portray you as a real, multidimensional person.

You need every available tool—including social media—to differentiate yourself in a crowded job market. Others may be afraid of using social media to reveal who they are personally. Their trepidation can work to your advantage. Their timidity gives you a great branding opportunity.

You can differentiate yourself by presenting yourself as a real person, not just a professional silhouette. You can differentiate yourself by opening up, by being real and by being transparent.

Deliberately look for opportunities to blur the lines that separate the personal and professional compartments of your life.

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These ideas on personal branding were originally presented during two workshops I conducted for the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. The sessions were attended by current and aspiring nonprofit leaders who came from across the nation for the annual Alliance Management/Leadership Institute, the nation’s largest leadership development and networking symposium for students, faculty and nonprofit professionals. —DH


Are You Too Boring To Be on Facebook?

September 11, 2011

I‘m Facebook friends with a former radio journalist turned PR pro. She shares almost nothing on Facebook, saying, “I’d rather report the news than be the news.”

I don’t get it.

A relative of mine does not have a Facebook profile because, as she says, “My life is not interesting enough to share it with the rest of the world.”

You’ve got to be kidding!

I am privileged to know lots of people. They represent rich diversity of age, race, religion, politics, economic status, education and even personality. Yet, they all have one thing in common: Each has an incredibly interesting life and each has a unique story to tell.

In college I remember a guest lecturer looked across the room where a hundred or so of us had gathered. Decades later I’ve forgotten his name, but his words remain etched in my mind. He said, “The biography of every person in this room would be a best seller if written by a good writer who knows you well enough to tell your story.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Marie – An Inspiring Volunteer and Storm Victim

June 21, 2011

Before the monster tornado struck, Marie was an active volunteer with the American Red Cross in Joplin. The night the tornado hit, Marie lost her apartment and most of her personal possessions.

Unhurt, she began driving through the debris towards help. Along the way, she helped others, even pulling an injured truck driver to safety. When the debris made driving impossible, she began walking. Along the way, she helped with the initial search and rescue efforts, checking to see if anyone needed help. Read the rest of this entry »


Introducing Student Guest Bloggers

December 1, 2010

Last month I was honored to speak before a class of university students preparing for careers in the nonprofit sector. Our topic of conversation was social media.

We talked about the trends in social media, ways to use social media in a nonprofit organization and the blurring of our personal and professional lives.

We even discussed using social media tools for personal branding. I shared my thoughts on using Facebook to differentiate oneself when launching a career. I challenged the students to use social media to “brand” themselves in an open, transparent and authentic manner. Then, to encourage them to develop their own online presence, I did something I’ve never done.

As an experiment, I invited each student to become a guest blogger here on my personal site. I offered this space to anyone in the class who wanted to share why he or she had chosen to pursue a career in the nonprofit world. A couple of students accepted the invitation. Read the rest of this entry »


How to Handle a Negative Comment in Social Media

November 17, 2010

Earlier this month, something happened that increased my respect for the city newspaper. Actually, the paper itself did nothing unusual. Rather, one of its loyal employees did something worthy of commendation.

What did he do? Well, he talked to me. He engaged me in a conversation. That’s it. Simple, yet profound.

Let me explain why I found that to be so significant.

Two days after the World Series ended, I noticed that the newspaper including Game 6 in its TV listings. On my Facebook status I wrote, “If anyone at the paper watched TV, they’d know the series ended a couple days ago.” I also made a snide remark about the “dead tree” medium, using a broad brush to make a fine point. That elicited a few comments, including two from Facebook friends who are former newspaper journalists.

That night, long after I’d gone to bed, another Facebook friend wrote something I found quite profound. He said, “The section where TV listings are located prints early, but point taken. As someone who still loves to read the ‘dead tree’ and who also is marketing the media company that makes it, what advice would you share?”

Why was his two-sentence comment commendable? Here are six reasons I valued his response:

  1. He did not ignore my negative comment. Instead, he talked to me. He listened and responded.
  2. He communicated with me on the same social media platform I originally used. He did not redirect me, suggesting that I call customer service or write a letter to the editor.
  3. He did not take my negative comment personally. He responded in a sincere, professional manner. Read the rest of this entry »

Day 24 – Social Media Plan – Business

November 4, 2010

Develop a social media plan that integrates new and traditional media.

Some people are so obsessed with social media technology that they overlook their communication strategy.

They are so focused on gadgets, applications and tactics that they completely miss the obvious:  These are only tools!

Tools are used to create or build something. Tools, technology and tactics are all a means to an end. The “end” is often defined in a well-written marketing goal. A goal articulates what success will look like and offers a clear, measurable definition of the desired outcome.

A communications plan should 1) target a specific audience, 2) define key marketing messages and 3) select the appropriate channels to deliver the right message to the right audience.

These communication channels should include a mix of traditional and new media. I define the two this way:

Traditional media primarily push information outward from a centralized source. They “broadcast” information in one direction. Examples are television, radio, newspapers, direct mail, newsletters and brochures.

New media (sometimes called social media) work best when the content is user-generated. Rather than broadcasting outward, new media rely upon interactions and conversations. Examples of new media are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WordPress and other social networking platforms.

Traditional and new media must be integrated if you want to build a strong and effective marketing communication program.

Read the rest of this entry »

Why Not Differentiate Yourself Using Facebook?

March 31, 2010

This week a headline on CNN grabbed my attention. It read, “Young job-seekers hiding their Facebook pages.”

My first thought was, “That’s pretty stupid!”

My second thought was, “If it’s not stupid, it’s at least naive.”

If you are looking for a job, you already have strong competition from other job seekers. Therefore, you need every available tool to differentiate yourself in a crowded job market.  Facebook can be a very effective tool for branding yourself.

The CNN article began with the story of a college student who wanted “to keep his personal life (hidden) from potential employers while applying for summer internships.” I’d like to remind that young person that there is no shortage of people applying for those same internships. So, what sets him apart from all the others? How is he special? How is he differentiated?

The 2.0 world we live in requires authenticity and transparency. Those who are inexperienced in branding themselves naively believe they can present themselves in a one-dimensional way. Read the rest of this entry »


What Is 2.0? A New Era Defined

February 17, 2010

We hear a lot of people talking about the 2.0 world we live in. Marketers refer to social media tools as Web 2.0. The titles of business books increasingly contain that magical number—2.0.

But what does “2.0” mean? How are things different now than they were before? What has changed?

For starters, let’s agree that the social media revolution has created an entirely new landscape—a 2.0 world. The changes are so profound that those who do not understand it will soon find themselves on the sidelines, confused and perhaps even angry that the world has passed them by.

The social media revolution is really not that confusing. The more we understand and embrace the changes, the more powerful social media will become. Here is my brief comparison of the differences I see between a 1.0 and a 2.0 world:

Let’s look at the nuances between the two. Read the rest of this entry »


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