Monday, 23 May 2016

Personal Branding & Your Social CV

Life as we know it has changed from what it was a decade ago. Fast-forward to now and new tools of connection and education have arrived. The way we connect, learn and develop credentials is being turned upside down. While those native to the digital landscape have little problem moving through the learning curve of using and connecting, it seems few have realised the importance of these new age social tools.

These tools are rapidly becoming a means of judgement, maybe even more so than a formal education. Whether we like it or not, we now all run our own media company. We have to manage our presence in social channels, much like we have had to manage our education. While it sounds daunting that we may have to get a new set of ‘qualifications,’ the news is that we now, for good or bad, live in the era of the 15-minute expert.

One of the most important tools to arrive out of social media is the new Automatic CV Generator tool. It’s a website in which you input your name and it automatically pulls up all your recent business activity, skills and projects. It’s called Google. So while we may send someone a CV that we wrote, the real CV potential employees and business partners care about are the results when they search your name. And it’s our choice what they find. How good is that! We can recreate our skills and persona based on what we feed into the internet machine.

What this means is that if we pay attention we can build our brand. We can become an expert in our desired area. The work we choose to publish under our name and our forums will bubble to the top of the search for us. And we all know people rarely search beyond the first page. What people see is what I want them to see and, while I don’t have anything to hide, it’s a simple process of proving passion through output and proving ability through projects. This kind of activity is rewarded by search engines. In a very short period of time our own published works (social, blogging, video, tweeting - you name it) can very quickly grow our personal brand and even change perceptions of expertise. We can renovate our lives. Once we understand the need to build our personal brands, there are a few important strategic rules we need to follow:

We can never be an expert at all tools. It takes too much effort to move past the learning curve. Social media presence is like sport: If you play them all, it’s hard to get good at them without losing focus on your actual projects. Choose a few and master them.

Invest time into building your brand identity and a name you can take with you to other positions and companies. Considering how often social media platforms and tools change, we need to be agile enough to adapt and ensure we are bringing what we build for ourselves with us.

At the beginning of any start up or personal branding page there is no doubt that it is difficult to obtain a huge amount of organic growth. It is important that we avoid building our brand on open tools at the expense of building direct connections. Earning a following, an audience or an email list may be harder and slower but it’s definitely worth the effort.

Shifting aside everything that happens in between it is vital to maintain a direct relationship in which you have control over the systems and interactions taking place. It’s a marketer’s dream, and yet so few people and companies understand the power this creates. This shift we are living through is about connection and attention.

Attention is the scarcest resource in today’s economy. Once we’ve worked hard to gain someone’s attention, we should also ensure it’s in a place where our biggest asset can’t be taken away from us.

More than ever we need to build our own brands. And if we can’t build one for ourselves, what chance do we have of building one for the companies we work for?

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

No comments:

Post a Comment