Personal Branding – What is your “Why”?

The making of the “Why” video.

Dennis Yu is my social media spirit animal.

Later today I’m off to Phoenix for three days of intensive training with Dennis Yu and the Blitzmetrics team. If you didn’t already know, Dennis is my social media/data spirit animal, and is helping me work my way though this personal branding journey.

It seems like I’ve been doing a ton of prep work to get ready for this event. Everything from establishing my business email and public figure page on Facebook, to setting up Google AdWord and Tag Manager accounts. The ultimate goal of all of this is to lay down the foundation and kick start my personal brand.

Part of the process is creating my “Why” video. As often as I have been on stage performing as a musician or in a community theater production, you would think I’m comfortable in front of a camera. I really don’t like the sound of my voice recorded and the old adage that the camera adds pounds to you is no joke! But in order to move this personal branding thing forward, I need to suck it up.

The “Why” video is – why me? The steps to building my why have been laid out very clearly by Blitzmetrics.

  • Start with a personal story that will connect your audience emotionally
  • Make my “I Believe” statement connecting to my Why
  • Who I am and what I do

This video concept sounds simple enough right? But how do I decide what experience I should connect myself to?

I narrowed my choices down to three:

  1. Adopted as an infant by a single American woman before it was cool to adopt children internationally.
  2. Went to an open call audition for performers to sing the National Anthem at PNC Park for the Pittsburgh Pirates and was selected.
  3. Was a stand in for Pocahontas at the mall.

When I post the video you’ll know which option I choose! Stay tuned! If you have an opinion about which one I should focus on, please leave a comment!

 

 

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Networking

Why does networking matter? Have you ever thought why you build your professional network? When you meet someone at an industry event or conference, what do you do with the card you exchanged? Do you add it to the stack in your desk drawer, or do you immediately invite them to connect on LinkedIn and follow them on Twitter?

Networking helps build new relationships and maintain established ones.

Regardless of how you met, the practice of active networking offers you a valuable opportunity to forge new relationships and maintain established ones.

Networking isn’t for everyone

I acknowledge that networking doesn’t come easily or naturally to every one. Some struggle with random introductions and are more comfortable as observers, while others seem to maneuver a room with ease. No need to conquer the world in one swoop. Start with the people you work with, or the companies you deal with on a regular basis.

Why do you need connections?

Why are connections important? These are contacts that you may need in the future for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you are looking for an introduction at another company. Maybe you would like an opinion about a project, or you are seeking a vendor recommendation. Your professional network doesn’t expect you to friend you on Facebook, but they do want to be considered if there’s a way they can earn your business.

You can maintain your relationship with your contacts in a variety of ways. It might be a simple gesture like commenting or sharing a person’s post on social media. I believe that when possible, it’s important to have “face time” with people in your network. I make a conscious effort to attend a couple industry events a year to re-connect with people. This might be an industry specific event or a social media/digital marketing conference.

This summer I attended an automotive aftermarket industry event in Austin. While there, I was asked to say a few words to members of the SEMA Young Executives Network.

I shared with them that networking is one of the most important career skills I’ve learned. Industry contacts are important, but so are out of market contacts. Don’t discount local chamber of commerce and other local, regional or online networking groups.

Online networking

Image result for linkedin vs facebook
Apparently some people can’t differentiate between personal and professional content.

My primary platform for maintaining those networking connections is LinkedIn, I also have a profile on brandedme.com. There has been some debate about where the line is drawn between what could be seen as personal posts vs. professional on LinkedIn. I suppose that’s why I’m a bit selective about who I accept to connect to. I’ve even unconnected with people I did not want to be associated with professionally.

We live in an age where tenure at one employer is less common. People change jobs and industries for a variety of reasons, so regardless of what industry you are in now, don’t underestimate the importance of networking. You never know when you might need that connection down the road.