What Social Media Tool Reveals the Transparent Brand You?December 18, 2008 by Candice A
You might think this is a trick question, but for now, it’s not. I’m the most transparent on Twitter. After Twitter, I reveal more of my personal brand on this blog and then on Facebook. I’m known for different things on different services and manage my brand slightly different right now because the audiences vary. I think it’s important that you know what audience you have on each of these social networks by recognizing commenter’s, wall posters, etc. The more you can identify and send messages to the right audiences, the more success you’ll have. It’s also imperative that you don’t send inappropriate messages to audiences that may include your parents or hiring managers.
How do you brand yourself on each website?
Regardless of which website I’m on, my main brand message is extremely consistent. I brand myself as the leading personal branding expert for Gen-Y and have been for over a year. Every single website you see me on has the same picture (avatar), my name (Dan Schawbel, not Daniel or Danny) and my personal brand statement. What I mean here is the language and type of content I post to each of these websites is slightly different.
My blog: On my blog, I brand myself as a thought leader, personal branding activist and expert, as well as a commentator. I also promote a lot of people constantly, so I’ve been branded as a “giver.” I use my blog to flush out my ideas, get feedback, start conversations and as a marketing tool.
Twitter: On Twitter, I get real intimate with my audience, even though I have thousands of Twitter followers. It’s easier to showcase more for your transparent brand when you are limited to the amount of words you can use. Twitter makes it easier to share quick thoughts or feelings. For instance, I’ve been tweeting about how my grandfather has been really sick, yet I wouldn’t really share this on Facebook or this blog (I just did, but you get the point). I’m also branded as the “quick fact” or “stat” guy on Twitter because I share interesting research I find everyday. I do a lot of Twitter polls as well.
Facebook: I don’t use Facebook much anymore, especially after graduating college a few years ago. The reason is simple: I have a clash in audiences on Facebook. I’m friends with my high school and college friends, summer camp friends, old teachers, family, coworkers, my manager and business contacts. If I were to be completely transparent, such as syndicating my tweets on Facebook, I would be messaging some people who either didn’t care or that would think differently of me or possibly fire me? Facebook has become a global neighborhood for your brand, from birth to death, and it forces you to remain completely transparent to all audiences. Are you ready for that?
LinkedIn: I hardly ever use LinkedIn, except to add new contacts and update my profile to ensure accuracy. Since LinkedIn is strickly for my professional brand, I leave it that way. I don’t share anything outside of my professional life. I have a hunch that this professional network will expand and become more sociable in the future. When this happens, I think we will have a problem much greater than Facebook, which is having employers reject us immediately based on a first impression. Should be interesting!
YouTube: First, YouTube’s audience enjoys humor or viral videos. My videos aren’t supposed to be funny or viral. Instead, their main purpose is to communicate something emotionally, like I couldn’t do with words on this blog (or through pictures). To me, my YouTube audience is my blog audience because that’s where it’s promoted. People don’t really search for my material on YouTube.
Mashable: I just started as a feature writing for Mashable, which is an excellent source for all of your social networking needs (plug!). I’m a little less revealing when I post on Mashable because their audience demands big ideas and strategies. It’s also important to note that that audience is much larger, and as humans, we will be more careful when we are “performing” to a larger audience.
Our future is hyper-transparent
In the future, transparency will be commonplace and there will be no hiding. People, like you, will be viewed by the internet paparazzi on a reoccurring basis without your permission. Some of you will welcome it, while others of you will feel threatened by it, but there will be no escape. We will all be forced to live on the web, losing the comfort and privacy of having our brand stay secluded in reality.
If we want to be discovered, and reach a mass audience, then the web is the cheapest and most efficient way of doing this. There is an opportunity cost associated with not having your brand rest online. All these social tools will be mixed, mashed, filtered and spread out, so any move you make will be seen by each website your brand lives on.
“In the end, you must be the real you because everyone else is taken and replicas don’t sell for as much. If you ever question anything you do, always revert to being yourself and your transparency will shine through.”
Article by, Dan Schawbel, the leading personal branding expert for Gen-Y. He authors the Personal Branding Blog and publishes Personal Branding Magazine and authored the upcoming book, Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success (Kaplan, Spring 2009). Dan has been called a “personal branding force of nature” by Fast Company and his work has been published in BrandWeek Magazine, Advertising Age and countless other publications.
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