Monday, May 2, 2011

Personal Brand Management: Easy Tips and Tools That Cost NOTHING to Use!

The most effective brand management for yourself and the products and/or services you have to offer is best served by using a strategy is holistic in its approach.

In addition to having a clearly defined brand, a bold business card that articulates what you do, an engaging website where customers and clients can learn about your company’s vision, mission, values and product mix, you also need to have a social media platform to connect, engage and interact with your clients and/or customers.

There are many traditional and new media ways to market yourself and your business that are won’t bust your budget! What follows is a number of tips and strategies that you can start using today and best of all to help you become all that you can be and best of all, they are all FREE:

1. One-on-one contact - E-mail and online communication is NOT a substitute for getting personal. While using e-mail and other on-line tools are good for making initial contacts it is also important to then take the initiative to pick up the phone or suggesting some sort of off-line meeting. Nothing accelerates a relationship more than getting personal.

2. Facebook.com - This platform is responsible for connecting 250 million people from 190 countries from around the word. If you haven’t already signed up, it may be one of the best places to start your social media presence.

3. Twitter.com - Twitter is a micro-blogging [140 characters per post] that is an extremely effective method for disseminating ‘real-time’ information.

4. LinkedIn.com - LinkedIn has been described as ‘Facebook for professionals’. The main difference between LinkedIn and Facebook is that LinkedIn is entirely focused on business social networks while Facebook is more general and crosses social spheres.

5. YouTube.com - YouTube is a video sharing website upon which users can upload and share videos. Given that video is fast becoming a preferred way to get more personal online, short purposeful videos can and do share your unique personality and style.

6. Press Releases - Don’t underestimate what makes something newsworthy. Grand openings, new certifications, community events, new clients, new hires, new services, launching new websites all count as newsworthy and deserving of well-written press releases.

7. PRLog.com - This is a free press release site that has a worldwide reach. Just go and sign up, they offer an easy template format to write your releases and click! No limit to how many and they also give you 3 link backs in the body of the release.

8. Volunteering - Human capital is precious and valuable. Non-profit organizations, schools, community organizations, local chambers of commerce, professional organizations always need friendly, capable people to help. This is a great way to step up your leadership skills.

9. Phone Meetings - Once you have met some interesting people both in-person and on-line, a great next step would be to set up a phone meeting to take your connection to the next level. When setting up a phone meeting, it is best to prepare a short specific agenda about what you want to talk about including how you think there is synergy and collaborative potential.

10. Host an Open House - Finding reasons to bring people together in person can have huge benefits. When people meet after interacting online it is somewhat akin to already knowing each other. If you want to get to know certain people better, inviting them to your place of business or to a meeting is a great way to share what you have in common.

11. BlogTalkRadio.com - BlogTalkRadio allows anyone, anywhere the ability to host a live, Internet Talk Radio show, simply by using a telephone and a computer. Now that Internet radio networks are quickly becoming one of the most effective ways for sharing podcast content, localizing radio again and honing your skills as an ‘expert’, BlogTalkRadio has grown dramatically and gives people who have a flair for interviewing or radio hosting a chance to have their own radio show and feature others or share their wisdom, expertise and personality.

12. Blogging - If you don’t already have your own blog, you can simply identify the top blogs you enjoy reading and following them and then requesting that you provide an article as a guest author. Two of the more popular blog hosting sites include Blogger [Google] and WordPress [LinkedIn]. In addidtion to having your own blog, you can also market yourself by writing articles and getting them published on any number of on-line magazines. Also, do not overlook the posibility of submitting articles to professional associations within your industry.

13. E-Books - Now that we are in the information sharing age, anyone and everyone can be an author and publish content. Everyone has something they are an expert on be it gardening, woodworking, cooking, travel or wine. You can create a short or long e-book simply and FREE. Create a format similar to a book outline with chapters in word document, make it into a PDF and you have an e-book. Post it on your website, blog and offer it FREE in exchange for their email data.

14. Google for Business - This is probably the best kept secret and the most accessible business solutions out there for business today! Whether you want to reach new customers, enhance your website, or increase your productivity Google Business Solutions has amazing mostly FREE tools for you. Simply go to Google Business Solutions, http://www.google.com/services.

15. Blog Comments - Not only is this free, it is also a sure fire way to build your credibility, brand and expertise. Whatever your passion, hobby or expertise, research the top blogs, follow them and comment on their blog posts. You can find and follow bloggers on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. In addition to commenting on blogs, there are also plenty of opportunities to show off your expertise by answering questions on LinkedIn.

I can’t bring this post to a close without mentioning one of the most overlooked methods for marketing and expanding your network, especially since it is located right in your backyard [almost]. Do you know your neighbours? You should. Community and being neighbourly can have very unexpected and pleasant results. It’s FREE, underused, underserved and a great way to make friends and make connections and get referrals. Bring your business cards with you anywhere you go. You never know when someone will ask you for a card!


Copyright © 2011, Career Matters. All Rights Reserved.Permission to Reprint: This article may be reprinted, provided it appears in its entirety with the following attribution: Copyright © 2011, Career Matters. Reprinted by permission of the author, Mary Salvino.“Career Matters” is a blog hosted by Mary Salvino, Senior Consultant for SMART Career Planning.com. This blog is dedicated to those who are seeking advice on managing their career and future job opportunities. We welcome readers to share their experiences, post their comments or ask questions about career related matters. For any questions or comments that are better addressed privately, please feel free to e-mail Mary directly at Mary.Salvino@shaw.ca