Entrepreneurs tend to wear multiple hats, typically working a full-time job while also running their business afterworkhour. However in the digital world this leads to a very real dilemma of operating as a personal brand for yourself and being a corporate brand ambassador for someone else. So how does a small business or the individual running the business standout and stay portable? Simple, you have to build your own digital personal brand.
A digital personal brand includes the online assets that comprise your digital persona, that includes your digital voice and the online interaction that you use to communicate the real you. As the lines between personal and professional continue to blur an individual has to manage their digital personal brand while working for someone else. At the end of the day you want to have the ability to take your online personal brand assets with you when you move on to a new company or transition to being a fulltime entrepreneur.
This is very important considering that an average worker changes thier career aproximately 5-7 times during thier working life. The last thing you would want is having to start rebuilding your network each time you move so its important to ensure that your personal brand is portable. Here is three tips to help maximise your perosnal brand portability:
- Own Your Social Network Account URLs: Create and maintain separate social network accounts with your personal brand. Your social network account URLs (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, etc.) should not be tied to the company that you work for as the only accounts you have or manage. When you leave a company to start your own business your accounts should travel with you, but this can only happen if you own the accounts. I recommend that you establish your profiles in the social networks you chose to be active in before you need them. Note: every social network provides users the option of customizing a vanity URL to align with their personal and/or business brands. A great tool to identify the availability of customized URLs is Knowem.com.
- Own Your Network: In social media we get charmed with numbers and we judge the value of a person’s social network by the number of follower or friends that they have. Who really owns the contacts in your social networks? The answer is simple; the social network, not you. If the contacts in your network are only housed in the database of the social network there is an inherent risk of losing them if your accounts get comprised or the terms of service change. One way to manage this risk is to create a list from your social network contacts and download and import your contacts into a personal database that you own and manage. (Note: If you’re tweeting from company accounts legally you don’t own the contact list.) As you transition from employee to small business owner your online network will become more of an asset that has value in the real world to generate leads and get introductions to influencers or key decision makers.
- Own Your Own Website (Don’t Just Rent): Every person should have an online hub (dotcom) for his or her personal brand. The dotcom should be aligned with the business brand you own or your personal brand. Remember, social networks have tremendous value in helping us to spread our ideas. Since you don’t own this digital real estate you always want to take potential customers back to the digital real estate that you do own, which is your dotcom. This is personal branding 101.
So how portable is your brand? Let us know in the comment box below.