Posted in marketing, online community, web business, z personal

Reclaiming your personal brand

We are more connected than ever, but that also means we more transparent than ever. Company’s have been worried about their brand integrity forever, so why would it be strange to manage your own?

Taking care of your identity online is an unfortunate chore that we all should have as part of our online habits. It doesn’t take much to discredit your name online, so make sure you are in control of how you are represented, just in case someone wants to help you form that identity in a negative way. This has now happened to multiple friends of mine, so I thought I would post my tips to them for everyone.

Scary cautionary tales – Here are just 3 stories of non-webby people who, because they had such a limited presence online, one small thing made a huge impression:

  1. DUI in public paper from years ago – many local papers publish their crime blotter sections online now. Wouldn’t you hate an embarrassing evening from 5+ years ago to show up on an employer search?
  2. Relationship help in forums – Forums are great ways to reach out to the masses for help on problems that you either don’t have anyone to relate to in your face to face networks or you are not comfortable with sharing. But if you were writing about something private about your boyfriend’s hangups, make sure to keep your details private too. (that means the details in that forums profile area too)
  3. Multiple account holders – be careful how you associate yourself with accounts that have multiple people sharing the same login. I know someone who helped design a site for someone to be nice, associated that site on her portfolio, only to have the site owner drastically change the content to be very questionable after the fact.

Tips:

  • Consistency is the key, use the same bio wherever it makes sense. I have one typed up in a saved sticky note on my computer that I can just cut and paste from when I join a new site.
  • Wherever possible, change the generic link location to your real name (i.e. linkedin/in/joipodgorny)
  • Use your real name – joipodgorny – as your user name for all profile and sites that you don’t mind your real identity being shown. (some of these sites are listed below)
  • Pick a profile picture, name it YOURREALNAME.jpg (i.e. joipodgorny.jpg) and use it in all of your profiles
  • Assume EVERYTHING is viewable somehow to someone. This puts the private feeling some web communities foster into perspective and helps you to be aware of what you write before you write it.
  • Use tags whenever you can. They help associate your content with keywords that you choose, and give more relevancy to your content.
  • Have a list of 2 or more pretend usernames that you can use when you want to go all ninja-secret online.

But remember:

  • The cool thing about the web is how you can try on different identities – take advantage of it. Just remember, the more detailed you are, the more clues to your real identity you give. Even if you don’t give your real name, but you tell your town or favorite local pizza place and a couple other you-centric details in a “secret” identity, people can figure out if they are so inclined.
  • You can still have fun online in all of these sites, just remember that what you type and do and post is permanent in many ways. Just think before you hit the enter key. Sharing a virtual 4-leaf-clover with a friend is great in all contexts, but virtual s&m toys may look odd to the clients you forgot you added to your friend list.
  • This may sound paranoid, but it’s simply a reality. You don’t have to do any of these thing, you don’t have to do all of them – and there are certainly TONS more ways than this list. But the more you are aware of how you come up online, the more control you have, just in case something were to happen.

Good sites for helping you manage your personal brand identity. (The more you belong to, the more you dictate how you show up from a google search)

Social Networking Sites:

linkedin.com – business social networking site. Put your resume up, recommend people, get answers to business questions.
facebook.com – social networking site
myspace.com – – social networking site
bebo.com – social networking site
friendster.com – social networking site
amazon.com – you can make a wish list of items you want, but it has a profile section
yahoo/msn/google – every free email site has a profile associated with it, fill it out with the info you use on other sites
mashable.com – social networking news site that launched their own social network.

Personal Website/Blog generators – These are great ways to generate content you want about yourself. Not for everyone, but even sporadic posting helps increase the amount of you-authored content about you online. I have a personal blog and a professional blog that I post different content to. Again, choose the site titles accordingly (i.e. this site’s name has MY name, see how I work that? :P)

googlepages.com
tumblr.com
wordpress.com
vox.com
blogger.com
livejournal.com

Microblogging tools – This is a relatively new kind of site. They are like blogs in that you post about yourself, but it’s more like sending a short message into the universe for everyone to see.(they all have 140 character limits, like SMS). There are tons of different ways to use these tools, but if your goal is to increase the you-authored info on the web, these are great tools for that.

twitter.com
pownce.com
jaiku.com

Social Bookmarking tools – I personally love these tools as they allow me to keep a running tally of cool sites I find, associated them with tags/keywords, and save them for later. I have used them for years and find myself checking my archives all the time. They are great in the personal brand context too, as if your username on your bookmarks is your name, they can be another source of reference for your name in search results.

de.licio.us
ma.gnolia.com

Aggregators – This category is more advanced, but certainly helps in flooding search results. They are simply sites that catalog the info on blogs and other sites online. If you log your info into them, they are very good at popping up in search results. There are hundreds of these sorts of sites, I just pulled a few that showed up at the top of some of my friends vanity searches.

mybloglog.com
blogcatalog.com
blogged.com
toluu.com
feedgarage.com
globeofblogs.com
feeds4all.com
blogflux.com
blogernity.com
weknow.to

Feed distributors – These are services that take your posts on one site and distribute them to other sites automatically, via the RSS feeds associated to that content. I have my twitter set up to post to my facebook status, so I only have to post my updates in one place. (I don’t “have” to post anywhere, but you get my drift. 😛 ) The first 3 are actual sites that manage multiple rss feeds.

twitfeed.com
friendfeed.com
socialthing.com
each social network

Hope this helps. Feel free to post your own tips. Again, it’s not paranoia (unless you make it that way), it’s simply being smart and in control of your own identity.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tags: , , ,

Advertisements

Author:

I am a data & results driven Digital Media Influencer with over 15 years of experience in engagement, family marketing, scaling infrastructure and audience culture across a product’s lifetime from pre-launch to millions of users. Strategic Vision & Business Development: • Articulated corporate integrated digital marketing strategies for 10 children’s entertainment properties across multiple digital channels • Authored a comprehensive business plan for scalable online community infrastructure for internal and external partners and successfully participated in a thorough VC due diligence process • Increased sales revenue by 20% while managing 6 million dollars of annual revenue in existing business services. Production & Project Management: • Developed multiple 2D & 3D multi-player virtual worlds, online games & apps based on repurposed/original assets • Produced 12 animated 2-minute shorts for broadcast on television & developed animation production department workflows • Launched multiple major website redesigns to include more fan interaction • Led workflow & process optimization teams to improve operational effectiveness/productivity. Audience Engagement & Research: • Developed domestic and international audience research programs both on & offline for both parent and children audiences • Grew multiple audiences from pre-launch to tens of millions by using organic, as well as established marketing tactics. Team Management & Relationship Building: • Designed team management & organizational structures for multiple Web Content and Web Marketing departments including international remote teams of staff in North & South America, Europe and Asia. • Managed teams in multiple disciplines, including customer service, social media engagement, production, moderation, marketing, design, tech and content development. • Extensive client, vendor and partner management experience in television, licensing, digital, e-commerce & customer service industries

One thought on “Reclaiming your personal brand

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s