During my last semester of grad school I was lucky enough to take Dr. Bret Simmons Personal Branding class at the University of Nevada. Dr. Bret, as he is known fondly by students, is a business professor, business speaker, a management trainer and consultant. He has done extensive research in social business and management. He teaches courses at the University of Nevada, Reno and blogs about leadership, management, social business, and personal branding. He is a the curator of TEDxUniversityofNevada and one heck of a social business motivational speaker.
If you are a grad student in the UNR MBA program, or taking under grad classes at the UNR College of Business, I highly recommend you take his class. The class isn’t just about Personal Branding lessons, but it is also about developing yourself and your brand as a professional. This blog is about the most important lessons I’ve learned and utilized from the class.
The Top 15 Lessons I Learned in Dr. Bret’s Personal Branding Class
1. Attract, convert, then transform is the name of the game in social media marketing.
To be a successful social media marketer you need to be able to draw attention to your website, convert strangers into consumers or customers, then transform by turning your success into a way to attract more traffic and start the cycle over. A great way to do this is to use social media platforms to share your success stories about your clients. For example, if you are a realtor don’t forget to post pictures and success stories on your social media platforms to celebrate your clients. You will celebrate the success, and in the process attract more business.
2. Content is King
To succeed in social media marketing you need to provide valuable, relevant, and compelling information. Make sure you bring legitimate and worthwhile material to the table. The more original and useful your content the better the results will be.
3. Blogging is Important
Blogging is the hub of social media strategies. It is a great way to share content and provide your knowledge and skills as a useful resource. Blogging allows you to interact with people and show them you are a credible resource. Blogging enables you to bring all social media platforms together to interact. This is why every time I post a blog on MadAboutEventsBlog.com I post it on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google +.
4. SEO is a big deal!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is key to any social media strategy. You cannot succeed unless you learn about SEO. The best way to increase your results in SEO is to maintain well organized content and have a site with good structure for optimal results. I have found that Google+ has increased my SEO results and improved the positioning and visibility of MadAboutEventsBlog.com in search engines.
5. The World Has Gone Social
We have moved from the Industrial Age to the Social Age and the progress being made with social media platforms is amazing. The industry is moving so fast it is hard to keep up. You must adapt, challenge yourself to learn new techniques, or you will fall behind and lose your competitive edge.
6. Social Media is a valuable tool.
The #1 reason people use social media is to showcase their own identity, #2 reason is they crave community. This is important! When you consider the motives of people on social media you can understand where they are coming from. You can gain a better understanding of your customers and what they need. You can also tailor your content to your audience or desired demographic that you’d like to attract to your business. Don’t be afraid of social media, embrace it as a tool.
7. Social Media Consequences Move Fast
Don’t be an idiot on social media. Okay Dr. Bret may have said it nicer than that, or maybe not, take his class to find out for yourself! Social media is a great tool but it also can bring unintended consequences into your life and it can be a threat to your success if you aren’t careful. There is a social lynch mob culture that has formed online. If you are an idiot and post inappropriate material you can be attacked by the lynch mob. The most famous stories usually involve some employee posting something incredibly stupid and then the mob goes after them and their company has no option but to fire them. The biggest lesson here is that there is no longer a line between your personal and professional life. Social media and technology have completely changed the dynamic of a personal and professional life.
8. Friend-of-Mind Awareness
Personal and commercial relationships have merged on social media platforms. Your customers see your posts as well as their friends in their news feeds on social media. Do your best as a social media marketer to gracefully slide into customers’ personal space on social media by being amazing and interesting at all times, or by being useful to your customers online. The best part is this is the kind of marketing that customers and potential customers want, and they will seek it out.
9. Be Useful!
Use social media platforms to be useful to your customers. Build loyalty through interaction and information. We live in a world ruled by research based consumers. Customers’ needs change so you must adapt to them!
10. Always respond and be relevant in real time.
No question is unworthy of an answer. Radical transparency will help your company develop loyal customers. It is important to respond in a timely fashion. Customers expect you to respond almost immediately. I can tell you this is true from my own experience at work. I had a customer post comments on two of my companies social media platforms, and then slam us on an online review site because we didn’t respond immediately to their complaint. The problem was that they posted in the middle of the night and no one was working. I was surprised how customers expect a response 24 hours a day on social media, whether it will make a difference in their situation or not.
11. Be nimble – Nano is good!
Large organizations are challenged to adapt to these fast changing times. They are challenged to respond and react to fast moving social media platforms. If your company is nimble they can adapt to changing markets and have a better chance at being successful.
There are new opportunities through crowdsourcing to work temporarily with a network of people for a common mission and then disband when finished. Keep your skills sharp and continue working to become an expert in your field so you can capitalize on these opportunities. Crowdsourcing allows ordinary people to make an extraordinary network.
13. Be a Social Leader – Blue Unicorns Are Cool!
It is important to embrace social media and have a social leader in your company. Set the example of being a listener to social media and your employees will pay attention as well. This can give you insight to the customer experience, what they think, and your company’s short comings. Rare leaders who are connected socially, and social media champions, are considered blue unicorns because they are so unique. They are able to engage the workforce, engage customers and learn what customers think about their company and their competition. This can lead to an advantage!
14. More Social, Less Media
It is important to be more social on social media platforms and less media / marketing. Be useful but don’t be pushy with your marketing messages. It is annoying to your customers and potential customers if all you do on social media is preach your marketing message.
15. Personal Brands Open Doors
You should always work on enhancing and protecting your personal brand. Since today there is no separation between professional and personal identity it is important to take care of your image and reputation. Personal branding can help you develop your image and connect with new business contacts. Social media is a great tool for personal branding. The people that do well on social media tend to be the people that were already doing well to begin with, it is easy to see the correlation and social media can help them showcase their success. You are a product whether you like it or not, so you must make sure to develop and protect your brand. Success attracts more success.
Going forward with my personal brand…
Developing a personal brand is a lifetime mission. I plan on using the tools I learned in Dr. Bret’s class to continue to develop my personal brand. Using the lessons above I will continue to develop as a marketing professional.
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