Social Media Can "Help" Build & Promote Your Personal Brand - Part 2

05/19/2011

 Standing-out-from-the-crowd_flower It is not slickness, polish, uniqueness, or cleverness that makes a brand a brand. It is truth. ~ Harry Beckwith

In the old days .. pre Internet .. pre social networks, who you were was confined by space and time. If you stumbled and fell only the people in the room saw. Oh sure the water cooler gossips might be working overtime but it was soon forgotten and life went on. The same went for your successes. 

With the onset of the digital world all that changed. As the saying goes,"Google has a long memory." Your online bread crumb trail never goes stale. All those little pieces build what is in vogue to call .. Your Personal Brand. How you stand out from the crowd. But you knew that. 

What I was curious to explore was what women who work in a corporate world think of personal branding and how they use it to build their reputations inside of their job and outside as well. 

I asked five successful women if they would share their opinions and use of personal "social media" branding. In Part 1 of Social Media Can "Help" Build & Promote Your Personal Brand Amanda, Em. Laura, Nancy and Naz discussed why they felt it was important to develop the brand called you. In part 2 they talk about authenticity and how they align the brand promise of their organizations with their own values .. or not. 

Please meet the women who graciously shared their insights.

AmandaheadshotAmanda Coogle - Sales Consultant for PulteGroup which is a large, nationwide homebuilder. I am currently responsible for the marketing and sales efforts at a Centex branded community in the Coastal Carolinas Division. Facebook Linkedin Twitter Foursquare

Em HallEm Hall - Communicator who specializes in digital strategy, social media, and online marketing.  She helped strategize and implement award-winning marketing campaigns at two of America’s most trusted nonprofits and currently works in the transportation industry. Facebook Blog Linkedin Twitter Portfolio

Laura bennett 2008 80 redo (2)Laura Bennett - CEO and Co-Founder of Embrace Pet Insurance. I am an actuary, entrepreneur, mother, and world citizen. I left the corporate world to get out of insurance and to get my MBA, but my odd combination of actuarial skills and entrepreneurial leaning led me to the underserved and underpenetrated world of pet insurance. Facebook Blog Linkedin Twitter 

NancySchubertNancy Schburt - Global Brand Professional for IBM who has worked for IBM full-time for 13 years on a contract basis.  Blog Linkedin Twitter

NazNazanin Weck - Marketing professional who draws from 15 years of industry knowledge and professional skills, I develop concepts for and design creative marketing and communications material for the parks and recreation industry. Linkedin Twitter

Diva Marketing/Toby: We all have many facets to our personalities. How do you adjust your personality and values to the public forums of social media and still stay authentic and your ‘true self?’

Amanda Coogle: The way I handle that aspect of social media is that I keep the platforms separate from each other.  I think that linking your Twitter feed to your LinkedIn profile is a great option – I just choose not to link them because my tweets are normally not real estate related.  Each social media platform represents my ‘true self,’ but I cater the content to each individual platform.

Em Hall: My goal when creating my online persona was that anybody I meet in person should be able to recognize and connect my real-life self with “EmilyHaHa.”  I love meeting people from Twitter who I follow or who follow me.  And I’ve met up with about half a dozen of my regular blog readers to ride Metrorail or Metrobus together; we start chatting like we’re old friends!  I never want to exist just in the virtual space, so it’s important to me that my “true self” is the same online or off.

Laura Bennett: I don’t adjust my values or personality; I just leave certain aspects out. So for example, I don’t talk politics, my negative opinions of other people, or about personal issues. I talk a lot about things I care about and my business and pet insurance happens to be a big part of that.

Nancy Schubert: I don’t adjust my personality and values. I don’t generally post about personal issues or positions I hold on topics outside my profession. I try to be very careful in positioning the brand known as Nancy Schubert. I don’t speak out on every public forum. I’m very selective in what I say and on which topics I speak.

Nazanin Weck: I may adjust the “tone” of my conversations based on the public forum and not so much my personality. My values and interests remain the same regardless of what forum I am on, I may hold back on some personal opinion depending on the conversation, but the overall message will remain the same. That being said, to maintain my “personal brand”, the majority of public forums, and social media outlets I am involved in are within my realm of expertise and interests therefore, there is no need to really adjust my values.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Does your management know about your digital presences and are they supportive? Have they put any limitations on you?

Amanda Coogle:  Yes, my direct manager does know about my digital presence.  She is supportive of my networking efforts because it is also great exposure for my company.  I do, however, have a company laptop that provides some limitations.  Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare along with most other social media websites are blocked which is perfectly fine with me.  I am at work to focus on my sales and my customers, but we do have access to LinkedIn though.

Em Hall: My bosses have always been supportive of my non-work online activities, and are often quite active on social media themselves.  I think that marketers these days really get the importance of having staff members who understand and are fluent in the language of social networking.

Laura Bennett:  I am the management so yes and no :) I am the face of Embrace so I am very cognizant of what that means for Embrace whatever I am saying. I did have a well-meaning investment advisor once tell me that I shouldn’t mention that I read and like Deuce on my corporate blog so I deleted the post I mentioned it. It made me think about the message I was putting out and nothing to do with Deuce and whether that is or is not appropriate for me to like (I do like!), it’s more whether it was consistent with the message of the blog. Actually the post I deleted was on Heather’s dog Chuck so it was relevant at the time. You won’t catch me pulling that off now!

Nancy Schubert:  My management is somewhat aware of my sm involvement. Yes, the company strongly supports employee sm involvement, but I don’t speak about my company on the web.

Nazanin Weck: Being in the government industry, while management is aware of my social presence, they do have certain limitations that must be followed. These limitations are nothing out of the ordinary and just good practice to keep that impeccable “online reputation”. Some great advice I once got was to “never put anything out in the digital world, you would not want your mother to read”. Beyond that, they are supportive and excited that I am able to utilize my “online presence” to network and further our marketing efforts.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Has there ever been a conflict in the way you present yourself in the digital world and the values of your organization/the brand you represent?

Amanda Coogle: My company represents value, a quality product, and the ability to be the customer’s ‘Builder for Life’ with our three brands: Centex, Pulte, and Del Webb.  My personal brand reflects the same representations.  I am a reliable source with valuable information to offer, and I consistently deliver quality work and knowledge.  Because of the value and quality I deliver, my brand sends the message that I have the ability to be a source for life.

Em Hall: As much as my online presence supports my career goals and – I believe – helps make me a better employee, I keep the personal and professional strictly separate in that I’ve always blogged/Facebook-ed/Tweeted anonymously or under a pseudonym at the organizations where I’ve worked.  At work it’s all about the organization’s mission and brand.  It’s a fine line to walk, and of course people often figure

Nancy Schubert: No. My personal brand is me – not my company, not the organizations to which I belong.

Laura Bennett: No, we are one and the same. That’s how Embrace was founded – on the core values that my co-founder Alex and I had from day one out who “the woman behind the curtain” is, but I think it’s completely doable.  Plus, I only work at places that align with my personal values and interests.

Nazanin Weck:  I would say that my “online persona” is in line with the values of my organization, it is one of honesty and integrity. The difference is perhaps that my “personal brand” is more creative and tries to utilize the latest trends while the organization I am with, being government, lags behind in that department but I see that as a challenge to overcome and the ability to use my “online brand” to further the goals of my organization.

More to come!

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Comments

The relationship between a social media presence and a business reputation is an interesting one. These women have given me some good insight about how to balance social media and business - especially if you work in the social media business. I think it's great that most businesses support personal social networking; they see the value of being relevant and the ability to reach a broad audience of people within seconds. Great insight. Thanks for conducting/posting this interview.

Posted by: Kristyn Lambrecht on May 20, 2011 6:10:02 PM

I read the #1 part and now this #2. very good ones. this is so true! social media is an effective tool to get exposure and for creating brand awareness. the best part of social media is that you can have others opinion about your product.. i guess this is the only reason why we are seeing such a huge turnouts of companies in media’s like FB & Twitter

Posted by: Virtual Business Assistant on May 21, 2011 12:49:41 AM

Promotion via social media is not easy. It's good to begin with self promotion to make experiences.

Posted by: Trendi on May 25, 2011 9:02:10 AM

It's good to know that most management positions are accepting of social media outlets. Social networking is such a huge part of society today, so companies must embrace this new relationship with technology. I enjoyed hearing various opinions from different women in professional fields - this is definitely a hot topic today! My favorite quote is from Em Hall when she mentioned that anyone who she interacts with through social media should be able to recognize her in person - how true!

Posted by: Casey on May 25, 2011 10:15:53 AM

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