Answers to recent questions people are asking on Twitter about personal branding.
Branding for career purposes only or not
Jacob Share, @jacobshare: No, your personal brand doesn’t need to revolve around your profession, it depends on what your personal branding goals are. Many people build their personal brands to become known as experts in their field or industry – like us bloggers here on the Personal Branding Blog – but you could also aim to have a strong personal brand in non-professional types of communities such as your local church/synagogue/mosque/etc. or among people who share a hobby with you.
Importance of user names
Jacob Share, @jacobshare: A user name is as important as you make it. That said, regardless of how much or how little emphasis you put on it, a bad user name can be very detrimental to your personal brand.
Take Twitter, for example.
Twitter home pages display user names prominently at the top (here’s mine). There are 3 ways you could go with your choice of user name:
- A good, personal brand-building user name, such as your own name. If this same user name is being used prominently on other websites that you’re using to brand yourself – something you can check with these user name-checking tools – the extra reinforcement will only help people recognize you and in doing so, build your brand even more.
- A neutral, non-brand-building user name, such as your first name and some digits (think ‘tina1043’). These user names are usually the results of automatic suggestions at sign-up time because the user name you asked for wasn’t available. A neutral user name won’t help build your brand but as long as you don’t call attention to it, the only negative aspect is the lost opportunity of having a better user name.
- A bad, brand-destroying user name, like one that hints of anything an employer would shy away from in the professional space: sex, drugs, alcohol, etc. Unless you actually want to work in one of those industries, this kind of user name might seem funny or cute at the time but it can easily come back to haunt you as a reputation-buster in a recruiter’s candidate-checking Google search.
Personal brand managers
Jacob Share, @jacobshare: The main reason to not hire one is cost, both in terms of money and time required to find someone of quality who’s available and willing to take you on as a client.
Many people would also hesitate to use a personal brand manager out of fear of being called out as a ‘fake’, like when celebrities are discovered to use ghost Twitterers.
However, if you can justify the expense and find the right consultant for the job, a good personal brand manager would know how to plan a branding strategy within the criteria that makes the most sense for your personal branding goals, such as creating a situation where no one will ever think you’re a fake.
Real name vs. personal brand name
Jacob Share, @jacobshare: That depends on how different your brand name is from your real name, but I’m going to assume that for your question, the two names are completely different. With that in mind- every time you use your personal brand name, you’re literally building your personal brand, making it the better choice by default. Although, going back to my answer above to @henrygw, what matters most ultimately is that you use the same name on all the websites where you want to build your brand.
Aggressive personal branding
Jacob Share, @jacobshare: You’re asking the wrong question. Rather, you should be asking ‘how can I aggressively market my personal brand in a dignified way?’
Take massive action. Do a lot of things that people respect. Try to help as many people as you can without blatantly asking for anything in return.
Jacob Share, a job search expert, is the creator of JobMob, one of the biggest blogs in the world about finding jobs. Follow him on Twitter for job search tips and humor. In July 2009, he will be releasing The Ultimate Twitter Job Search Guide, the first ebook about using Twitter for job search.