Thursday, 5 March 2009

Personal Branding & The Art Of Engagement

Classic "one-knee" proposal, ca.Image via Wikipedia

In these tough times, a lot of people are getting laid off. Even in digital, I'm hearing of more and more people who are moving around.

Just the other day, I got a linkedin invite from someone who had been a digital strategist who was looking to connect. I won't name names because it's not that important but it struck me that the strategies we build for brands online are ones we tend to ignore for our own personal brands.

I mean, I didn't personally know this guy/gal. And yet, s/he wanted to go straight from nothing to personal connection.

And you gotta wonder, if this is how they approach personal branding, how will they be as a digital strategist? Well the truth is, they might be a brilliant but I'll never find out because I'm not likely to be interested in them now.

There are probably a lot of people out there now looking to connect and network for current or future employment opportunities. So here are some suggestions on how to go about networking in the online space....

1. Start following the people who you want to network with

Pretty much we all want to know who is following us so if you follow me, i'll likely go to your link/twitter/tumblr account and see who you are. It drives awareness so if nothing else, your name will be somewhat familiar to me.

2. Start a blog
Now I know what a lot of you are thinking. Blogs are sooooo 2005. But the truth is, i've hired or contacted people for jobs just based on their blog content. You can tell a lot about a person by the blog. It drives familiarity.

3. Link to things I say that you think are smart (well ok, if you think anything I say is smart)
Bloggers are notoriously sycophantic and will almost always check on who is linking to them. More importantly however, if you start to talk about something I'm saying, it gives me an idea of what you think is important and how you think. I might even make the first move and comment on your blog especially if you are being provocative. And thus we have our first moment of engagement. And even better for you, if i make the first move.

4. Work on on-going participation

Now I know who you are. I'm getting an idea of how you think. You follow my blog and likely I probably follow yours too. Maybe you comment from time to time. Maybe you reply to something I"ve said on Twitter. We are definately on the road to getting to know each other.

5. Engagement

At some point one of us might make a move to be more officially and personally connected. And that would be the time to invite me to linkedin. I have a general rule that I don't accept friend or linkedin requests from strangers. But you're not a really a stranger anymore.

Any more suggestions? Feel free to plop them in the comments. Come on, don't be shy. Make the first move. Let's get to know each other better ;-)

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