Branding Your Professional Identity
Pleased to share with you some highlights from a recent presentation. I was fortunate enough to be selected as a speaker for UCLA School of Law’s orientation. The full seminar title is “Becoming an Ethical Professional and Branding Your Professional Identity.” However, I’ve chopped up the video to include some of the more general information which applies students and student-athletes at all levels, as well as young professionals (and likely more established professionals who haven’t spent all that much time developing your personal brand).
What steps will you take to consider your professional identity and how you want to grow your personal brand? Leave a comment and let’s discuss!
5 Tips to Make Your Personal Brand Shine
This post originally appeared on flexjobs.com blog on July 31st. Flex Jobs makes your search for a telecommuting, part-time, freelance, or flextime job better, easier, faster, and safer. Their site is easy-to-use and even allows you to build a professional-looking resume right in your profile which you can digitally send to any prospect. The platform allows you to create more than one profile so you can filter your search and find the best matches for you. Enjoy the post!
The L.A. Times reported recently that, “A whopping 92% of U.S. companies say they are using social networks to find talent in 2012, according to a new survey. In addition to checking your resume, nearly 3 out of 4 hiring managers and recruiters check candidates’ social profiles — 48% always do so, even if they are not provided.”
When you are on the hunt for a new job, it is essential that you have your personal brand in order and your online ducks in a row. If you have not yet taken the time to polish your personal brand, let’s review this handful of essential tips to help you outshine your competition.
1. Define You
The most significant step to developing your personal brand, is determining what your brand represents. Your core values are the heart of your brand. It is the foundation for all of your brand and communication strategies. Ask yourself a few questions. What motivates you to get up in the morning and tackle the day? Why are you unique? What are you passionate about? When you begin to answer these questions, your personal brand will take shape. Once you have discovered your core values, you can easily draft your personal vision statement. Your vision statement will serve as your personal brand guide and will keep you in check as you continue your search and promote yourself.
2. Set Goals for Your Job Hunt
Setting your goals will help you filter your search results to apply only for jobs which align with your brand. How well does a company and job listing fit your brand’s values? If they don’t match up, don’t apply. FlexJobs has a great feature, which allows you to develop more than one profile. You can create very specific profiles to look for jobs tailored to your specific goals. There is even a video tutorial to show you how to set up multiple profiles. This will really help you narrow your search and save you valuable time.
3. Develop a Content Plan
Develop a detailed content plan so that you are continually engaging audiences, sharing valuable content and affecting perceptions of your image. Think about how often you will post to your social accounts. What topics are relevant to your job search and to your desired industry? Use a calendar to map out your social content plan and develop a strategy. Use a tool like Hootsuite to manage posts for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, among others. Your communication strategy will help you stay focused on your goals and in-line with your brand identity.
4. Promote Through Social Media
Digging a bit deeper into some of the specific platforms, you’ll gain a better understanding of why you need to plan your content. It takes time to manage your profiles, but your hard work will pay off as you will be more easily found, and will be proud to share your social links because you can be confident what others will find.
- Add video to your LinkedIn Profile. This Sprout Insights article is a good tutorial for that.
- Utilize Sections on LinkedIn to highlight your achievements, especially if you have less work experience to leverage.
- Remember to include LinkedIn as part of your content plan and schedule posts.
- Tighten up your controls so that your posts, photos and/or activity are not set to Public.
- Use Facebook Lists for easy use of custom settings.
- Strategically use Life Events to post your achievements to your Timeline. Set those posts to Public so recruiters can see them.
- Schedule some Twitter time each day to reply, retweet and converse.
- Use the list function to set up lists for leads, businesses, news sources, etc.
- Update your bio to reflect your job hunting status.
- Take care with who you follow and who follows you.
- Use Pinterest as the visual form of “Interests” on a resume.
- Share photos relative to your hobbies and life goals.
- Pin the items which make you a person a Hiring Manager can relate to.
- Establish your own website, blog or splash page like about.me.
- Make sure to mention that you are looking for employment.
- Write about or post information that is applicable to your chosen industry.
On your FlexJobs profile, you can list one website per profile. Promote your site or list a splash page or your LinkedIn account to help you make a positive first impression.
5. Be Consistent
- Use the same profile photo and color schemes/background photos across all networks for easy identification.
- Make sure your bio information is listed the same on all sites.
- Follow up with your leads and conversations and track interactions.
With sites like FlexJobs, the search for that perfect job is made much easier with so many tools and resources at your finger tips. Taking the time to build your personal brand and engaging online will prove to be worth the effort, as your brand will be refined, professional and ready for any recruiter to discover.
Shanna Bright founded Beaming Bohemian, unconventionally brilliant communication, to infuse communications with positivity and purpose and to empower you to build a meaningful, personable brand which connects and inspires people. She consults with several university programs, businesses and individuals about personal branding and strategic use of social media. You can learn more about her work at http://beamingbohemian.com or contact her directly at [email protected] to schedule a private consultation.
A Strong Brand Identity Recruits the Right Members
Membership Recruitment: A Strong Brand Identity Recruits the Right Members
This article originally was written for and published in the Club Membership and Marketing Magazine, an online resource for Private Club professionals. The article appears in full below, as the magazine is subscription only. The Magazine is a resource provided by PCMA, the Professional Club Marketing Association.
In a world that has gone almost completely digital, it is easy to get caught in the online current of promoting your Club through various social channels. It’s a natural tendency to advertise the Club’s events, golf tournaments and membership programs, to show the public how great it is to be a Member at your Club. Without doubt, Private Club Membership is rewarding on many levels. However, before you post another status update, craft that 140 character tweet, or share another photo, take a few steps to make sure you are recruiting the right Members for your Club.
Review your Club’s core values
Every Club most likely has a vision or a mission statement somewhere. Perhaps it’s written on a plaque which hangs in the library or it may be collecting dust within the founding documents box. Where ever that may be, it is time to find it and read it. Your Club’s vision is based on the core values of your Club’s brand. It’s a good idea to discover what those are, too. If you haven’t reviewed the Club’s core values and vision in a while, then it is time for a re-education. This is the heart of your brand. This is the foundation for all of your communications. And the Members you want to attract should connect with those core values. The Club’s values are the most significant component of your brand identity. Your Membership is the embodiment of your brand identity.
Take a temperature on your Club Culture
Is your Club culture in-line with the core values of the Club? If your programming has fallen a bit out of touch with the vision of the Club, then work with the executive team to get it back on track. Determine what events best promote the vision of the Club. Tweak some of the less successful events to better represent your values. For example, if your Club is founded upon being a family-friendly retreat and you have very few kid-friendly events, they you may want to add activities that kids will love to the appropriate festivities.
Be a good listener
Most of a Club’s advertising and promotions tend to be all about the Club and what the executive team wants or needs to push. But let’s change that focus to be more about what Members and prospective Members want and need to hear. Do your programs truly add value to their life? In what way? Does it offer a solution? Make their life easier? These are some things to consider. Your brand messaging should definitely be infused with your core values, but it should also address your Members’ core concerns. Online, it’s easier than ever to understand what people want. They talk all the time! This is a key step in finding prospective Members who have a need for your Club. Listening to what people want, need and are concerned about will help you reach out to them with all the great answers wrapped up in a Membership at your Club. Spend more time listening online to discover who is a match for your Membership.
Choose the right channels
While you might love posting every event and program to Facebook, your Members and prospects may be checking their LinkedIn profiles three times a day and Facebook only three times per week. Part of listening is also learning where your Members are living online. You will better connect with your audience if you find them, versus them having to search for you. Learn and understand your Members’ social habits to better promote your Club culture and find new Members who are a good fit.
When you and the staff are living and breathing the Club’s core values, you’ll find the culture warmly reflects this vision, the Members embody it and that your communications reach prospects who want and need what you offer because you address their core concerns. This is the strong brand identity that will recruit the right Members for your Club…and keep them.
Shanna’s private club experience includes an award winning role as Member Relations Director at City Club on Bunker Hill, a ClubCorp Club in downtown Los Angeles, California. Shanna is pleased to be presenting Private Club IPO: Go Public With Your Club Culture at the PCMA Convention in Las Vegas on September 25th, 2012.
Opportunists Should Love The LinkedIn-Twitter Breakup
Perhaps you’ve noticed something missing from your LinkedIn news feed? That would be tweets. Twitter announced recently that they are changing their policies as to how tweets appear in third party applications, and therefore cut the link to LinkedIn. If you want to post to both LinkedIn and Twitter simultaneously, you can begin your post in LinkedIn and check the little box next to the bird. That will send the post to Twitter, too. If you want tweet-like posts to appear in LinkedIn, you can use a social media manager like Hootsuite and post status updates or content to Twitter and LinkedIn and the same time – Facebook too, if you desire!
It’s clear though that few people have taken an interest in posting news to LinkedIn. What I’ve noticed since the breakup is that most people have not made an effort to make up for the lack of tweets. Take a look, right now, at your LinkedIn Home Page. Do you notice anything? Is anyone posting news? Or do you see mostly the regular updates like “Betty Smith is now connected to Bob Johnson,” or “Sam Jones changed her profile.” Yeeowza! Those updates are boring!
Now that tweets will not appear in the LinkedIn news feed, opportunists should develop new strategies for how we use and post to LinkedIn. What bits of news and information do you want to share with your connections? Will you be seen as helpful? Can you position yourself as an expert on a particular topic? Will your connections be able to say, “Wow, that Johnny sure posts some valuable news and insights.” The point being, that’s exactly what people should say about you. If you want people to notice you on LinkedIn, you have to initiate the conversation. You have to keep appearing in the news feed with helpful, useful content and information that benefits your connections. Check in with your LinkedIn account, decide what posts will resonate with your audience and start making our news feeds a lot more interesting than, “Jane Doe joined the group, People Named Jane.”
Side note: Sprout Social recently shared an article on adding video to your profile. One more way to set you apart from everyone else!
The Coaches’ Game Plan for Personal Branding
This article was originally written for Hoop Group. You can read the post HERE. Hoop Group is the worldwide leader in basketball instruction. Hoop Group has offered premier basketball camps since the summer of 1963. Having touched the lives of over 1 million young men and women since Hoop Group has evolved into much more than just summer basketball camps. Learn about the 4 divisions and what Hoop Group does by visiting their website at http://hoopgroup.com/. You can also learn more by following @DaveKrupinski on Twitter
The slightly altered version….
University athletic programs are increasingly placing pressure on coaches to better understand social media and use any variety of networks to interact with and monitor athletes, converse with students, be available to supporters and identify prospective donors. Coaches are in a unique position to either excel in the sport of social media or walk off the platforms scoreless. Coaches have undoubtedly reached the moment when it is crucial to not only understand how to use these social tools, but also how to use them with purpose and in a positive way. If coaches take an authoritative approach over their accounts, they can very well work to build a positive brand image, not only for themselves, but for their team, sport and school. Here are a five key steps coaches can take to to build their brand and use social media more effectively.
1. Create Your Identity
Before your fingers touch the keyboard, you’ll need to develop your brand identity. Creating your brand identity starts with discovering your core values. What are you passionate about in life? What motivates you? Why are you coaching basketball instead of soccer, softball instead of volleyball? What makes you special? Why is your coaching style unique? These are all questions that you can ask yourself to drive down to the core of your being and determine what you value.
This is an exercise that will take a few hours, but it is well worth your time to discover three to five of your most prominent values. With each core value, it is essential you also write a core value statement. A few corporate examples:
We can generate greater appreciation and loyalty from all of our stakeholders by educating them about natural and organic foods, health, nutrition and the environment.
We demonstrate integrity every day by practicing the highest ethical standards and by ensuring that actions follow our words.
Collaboration and Partnering
Providing opportunities to meet, communicate, collaborate, and partner within the information industry and the business community.
2. Craft Your Brand Message
Using your core values and statements, draft what is your vision. Incorporate your core values, but also give some thought to what your audience wants to hear from you. What are their core concerns? This will set the tone of your brand communications and define your purpose for using online tools. Why should people follow you? Why should they engage with your posts, read your content or share with their circles of friends? What information are they expecting from you? Keep this in mind as you draft your brand message. It’s not only about what you want to tell them. It is more about what your audience wants to hear from you. Maybe you know your fans love behind-the-scenes photos. Perhaps they go crazy for post-game analysis. They might want to know what it’s like in the day of a coach. Fans could be looking to you for inspiration.
Even the biggest brands have gone through these first two exercises. The best brands incorporate their values into their brand message and communicate that through various channels, particularly social media. Another way to think of these first two steps is to imagine that you are building your house of communication. Your core values are the strong, solid foundation and your vision and brand message serve as the framework for your communications. Without these, there is no house. Step into the world of social media without these game plans, and you are planning to fail.
3. Choose The Right Channels
One easy mistake to make is to have the desire to be all things to all people and exist everywhere. We tend to want to gain as much exposure as possible, and find we’re signing up for every social network ever built. But in order to hone your skills, it is better to narrow your focus. Just think in terms of sports. If you coached football, water polo, lacrosse and tennis how good of a coach would you be at any of those sports? If you cut out the others and focus only on football, how much greater of a coach would you be? You would see your skills refined and improved.
But the question remains, how do you choose the right channel? We have to think about your audience again. Where do they “live?” If the majority of your fans, friends, community members, etc., use Facebook, then by all means, zone in on Facebook and utilize the features to your advantage. If you enjoy using Twitter to share news, gain a following and Twitter turns out to be a great method for telling your story, then go nuts on Twitter. Choosing the right channel is a blend of where you know your audience will receive your communications and what channels best promote your brand message. You may have to test a bit and find what works and where your audience engages with you the most. Rest assured, you will find what works best for you. In order to better understand how each network functions, gain the help of the person who manages social media for your athletic department. They will be delighted to help you. If one of your athletes is a social superstar, ask for their help. They would love the chance to give their coach a few pointers! And what a great conversation to start with your players! (That’s an entirely different blog post!)
4. Be consistent
You’ve taken the steps to create your brand identity, to craft your brand message and choose the right channel to communicate, now you have to keep at it and build your brand. One simple tip to brand yourself across your chosen channels is to use similar images for your profile or background photos so that fans will know they’ve landed on your page. Use images that well represent your team or even pictures which promote your schedule. Put some thought into the photos. Don’t underestimate the power of a great photo. It’s valuable real estate for promoting your brand and lends a lasting image.
Just as a business would, you should plan ahead and create a content plan. You might not need to get super specific, but some outlines of what you might consider posting on a weekly or monthly basis can come in handy. This will help you with consistency. Luckily, you have a practice, game and tournament schedule that can guide you in what information to post. Check out a few professional teams like the Boston Celtics, The LA Kings or the Chicago Cubs. Seattle Seahawks Head Coach, Pete Carroll does a great job on Twitter. Mimic what is working for the pros. The more consistent you are, the more you will see your following grow. They will learn they can depend on you for either specific bits of news and information, or expect dedicated times when you are online and available for conversation. Coaches may want to consider a weekly window of time to be present online and allow the community to chat with you about an upcoming game. This type of chat can be neatly executed on most social channels. So again, find the one where your audience is present. You might also do something like welcome game-day quotes that you’ll retweet or posts of photos of fans in school-spirited gear on your Facebook Page. There are lots of opportunities to create regular and consistent conversations and sharing of great content.
5. Be Valuable
Not only should you create content of value, but you should work to be valuable. A few questions to ask yourself: Are you promoting your sport? Your team? Your school? Your league or division? Are you cross-promoting the other sports at your school? Giving accolades to your players or to other athletes at your school who excel? Are you sharing content that is a positive reflection on your personal brand? Are you sharing information your audience wants to receive? Do you really look at who your fans and followers are? Any prospective donors in the mix? Can you name the team’s biggest fan?
If coaches take the time and make the effort to promote their brand, they will grow to serve as valuable assets to the team, the athletic department and to the school. Coaches with strong personal brands can positively affect recruitment, player performance and professional development, community support, ticket sales, donor relations and public image. When your contributions off the field are just as significant as your work with your athletes, you bring added value to your team and to the athletics program. You can serve as a social media example to your players and, in turn, help them improve their communication skills.
Far too many coaches have written off social media as something that exists only to get their players in trouble or as some silly thing kids use to broadcast which sandwich they chose for lunch. In reality, social media serve as incredibly powerful communication tools which, when approached professionally, purposefully and positively, can set you up for the winning goal.
Beaming Bohemian, unconventionally brilliant communication, was founded to infuse communications with positivity and purpose and to empower you to build meaningful, personable brands which connect and inspire people. If you are a coach in need of more guidance, we’d like to help you. We can consult with you privately to get you active on the social networks which best fit your goals, or we can bring the Coaching the Coaches program to your campus and allow all the coaches on your teams benefit from personal branding and social media education. Contact us!
How many followers do you really have?
As my Twitter followers grow on both Beaming Bohemian and Shanna Bright, I am often fascinated by the follow-habits that seem to be prevalent among Twitter superstars. Just today, I was followed by a social media “guru” who previously followed me, and then once I followed back, promptly unfollowed me. He’s not the first Tweep to do this. Numerous folks engage in this behavior in an effort to boost their following. There is no genuine interest to find new connections. It’s a numbers game.
It makes me laugh for a few reasons. I love that someone can claim they have over a million followers, but when you look through their list, you see lots of hallow and spam accounts. And two, I laugh because I actually remember the people who practice this type of number boosting exercise. It’s not that I have an awesome memory, it’s my Twitter management style.
I do not have over a million followers, nor am I following thousands. But everyday, I take a moment to look through the people who are following me, determine if they are providing valuable, relevant content and if they are someone I want to follow back. I report and block hallow and spam accounts without hesitation. Sometimes, I don’t feel I need to follow certain accounts and will just place them on one of my Twitter lists, a terrific organizational tool. I make the effort to manage my account so that I know who I am associated with on Twitter. It is a more accurate circle of influence.
You can do the same. You can closely manage your account and have valid, useful and helpful contacts or you can simply work toward some unverifiable cool factor and let anyone and everyone follow you. For high school and college students and student-athletes, law or med students, and job hunters, it is in your best interest to monitor who you tweet with just as much as what you tweet. If you are following tweeps who post a lot of inappropriate content, you are associating yourself with that content and personality.
With the same motivation to manage your reputation, protect your brand against being linked to the wrong people. Take the time to weed through your account and build up a following of quality and image-appropriate accounts that reflect the core values of your brand. Tweet with and retweet content from good sources, not someone you are going to regret “knowing” when your coach, college or potential employer take a peek at your account.
Cubs Social Media Night
This is really cool. The Chicago Cubs have really embraced social media. On the 16th, they hosted their first “Social Media Night.” The event included a panel discussion and attendees were given a swag bag. A favorite item listed is the social baseball cards, special cards with Twitter handles.
The standout point in this article was what Public Relations and Marketing Specialist Kevin Saghy shared:
He also articulated the five point plan for how the Chicago Cubs use social media:
1. Deliver the core values of the Cubs
2. Get to know their key influencers
3. Listening and engaging
4. Offer something of real value to the fans
5. Financial benefit
Take another look at the first point – Deliver the core values of the Cubs. BINGO! That’s what successful brands do on a consistent basis. And notice how the last point listed was financial benefit. The Chicago Cubs have their act together. It will be fun to follow them and see how fans respond to the Social Media nights and continued opportunities for engagement.
Here’s the link to the article or you can read the full post here:
Chicago Cubs social media strategy articulated on social media night
By Paul M. Banks, Friday at 8:28 am
On Wednesday May 16th the Chicago Cubs hosted their inaugural Social Media Night. Fans who purchased tickets were invited to a pregame social media panel at Wrigley Field’s Captain Morgan Club. And by social media, we obviously mean the discussion was Twitter heavy.
The panel consisted of Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould (@RobbieGould09), (more on his night here) Cubs.com writer Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) and Cubs Public Relations and Marketing Specialist Kevin Saghy (@Cubs).
Each person was given a swag bag that included a Cubs “social media” t-shirt, a copy of Vine Line magazine, a teeny foam finger, a voucher for a hot dog and a multi-card set of Cubs “Social Media Series” baseball cards featuring Cub players that are on Twitter.
“We looked at a lot of other teams, what they do and how we could differentiate themselves. We wanted to do something really interactive, then do you a unique giveaway” Saghy said.
“That’s where the baseball cards came in. I’ve never seen a professional baseball team do the social media themed baseball cards. Our ticket office came up with that idea, and as a kicker we got a lot of them autographed. So everyone that came here today actually got an autographed card.”
Mine was Ian Stewart.
“It just kind of ties into our theme of we want to provide value for following us, we really do care about fans and it’s something that we take very seriously, and hopefully we were able to portray that today.”
Kevin said that he and his team read every single tweet and message they receive through Twitter, and they often respond.
He also articulated the five point plan for how the Chicago Cubs use social media:
1. Deliver the core values of the Cubs
2. Get to know their key influencers
3. Listening and engaging
4. Offer something of real value to the fans
5. Financial benefit
Carrie Muskat approaches social media from a professional, not a personal perspective as she’s a reporter for the Cubs and an employee of MLB. She said her main uses for Twitter are sharing team news and stories, following other Cubs reporters and blogs to get the latest team/player news and following current players who tweet. Her tweets appear on Cubs.com.
“Twitter has totally changed our jobs cuz it’s 24-7 now. Paul Maholm announced his signing on Twitter,” Muskat said.
The Cubs have seen increased Twitter volume since merging from @cubsinsider to @cubs.
“We reply to everything that we can, and we have a monitoring dashboard where we’ll able to summarize, qualitatively and quantitatively tweets and we can then we can go to our management team and say this event was really popular, or say this is the number of tweets we got for this campaign versus other campaigns,” said Saghy.
“We’re just getting much more sophisticated in our measurements basically.”
September 17th versus is the next Cubs Social Media night. A contest will be held, and one follower from the next event will get the chance to throw out the first pitch before that game.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, MSN and Fox Sports
A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.