Social media has opened up the potential for managing your professional profile or ‘personal brand’ with a much broader network.
Increasingly, professionals are looking to platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter to initiate digital handshakes, to make new connections and to find a wider audience for their ideas.
Valerie Khoo is National Director of the Australian Writers’ Centre, co-founder of SocialCallout.com and author of Power Stories: The 8 Stories You MUST Tell to Build an Epic Business. Her personal blog at ValerieKhoo.com was just named by SmartCompany as one of the 20 best business blogs in Australia.
I spoke to Valerie about how she has successfully built her personal brand and asked her advice on how to harness the power of social media to do this.
JH: What is personal branding and why is it important to today’s professionals?
VK: Your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. It’s what you’re known for. Your personal brand helps you stand out from the crowd. Your personal brand will help create opportunities and open doors for you. If people have already heard about you, and if you’ve developed that all important “know, like and trust” factor through your online presence, it’s easier to get meetings with busy people, secure speaking engagements, acquire new customers or even score yourself a book deal. If you’re not paying attention to creating and building your personal brand, you’re just making it harder for yourself to get ahead. Thanks to social media, it’s easier than ever before to build your personal brand – if you are strategic about it and use social media as a tool to connect with others and to showcase your expertise.
JH: You’ve been very successful building the brand of the Australian Writers’ Centre and your own personal brand. How did you do this?
VK: At the core of building both these brands is authenticity and passion. With the Australian Writers’ Centre, we are passionate about sharing resources that will help people in our writing community. We tweet links to useful articles, competitions, courses and any information that will help aspiring writers. We also answer queries through social media – and we help people wherever we can, whether they are one of our customers or not. My personal brand is a bit different. I often share links to useful resources or have conversations on social media about topics I’m interested in such as writing, entrepreneurship, and blogging. But my social media stream isn’t all business. I also share a small part of my personal interests as well. Anyone who follows me on social media will know I love my pets!
JH: How does social media complement more traditional ways of building your profile such as networking and speaking engagements?
VK: All these methods are important. Real life networking is invaluable. Similarly, speaking engagements are a wonderful way to connect with a room full of people. You can’t catch up for coffee with everyone so social media enables you to maintain connections. I’ve made some wonderful friends on social media who have turned into real life besties.
JH: What is the most challenging part of building your personal brand via social media?
VK: You should be protective of your personal brand and the image you’re presenting to people via social media. Think before you Tweet. If you complain about your staff or share drunken photos from the weekend, you’re leaving a clear impression about who you are and what you value. Use your common sense.
JH: What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had?
VK: When I released my book “Power Stories: The 8 Stories You MUST Tell to Build an Epic Business”, I was amazed when my Twitter stream suddenly filled with photographs of people with my book and comments about how much they were enjoying it. They were all using the hashtag #powerstories. Not only was I grateful for everyone’s kind words, it was so wonderful to see people sharing their experience of the book with their own followers. Other people were reinforcing my own personal brand. I felt blessed by this.
This post originally appeared on the SMK blog