Do you ever read a blog post and want to shout out loud, “Yes, exactly-what he just said!” while you eagerly devour each word to the finish?
That’s how I felt, although I didn’t shout it aloud, when reading a post titled, “Ways to Be Human at a Distance” by Chris Brogan, Community and Social Media thought-leader and co-author of New York Times Bestseller “Trust Agents.” Like many of you, I’m challenged every day to keep in touch and up-to-speed on my clients and fellow bloggers virtually with very little face-to-face time. Being human, showing my face as much as possible on Twitter and Facebook primarily and on my blog is one way that I stay “in touch” with my clients, prospective clients and colleagues. Just how well it works or to what degree you should incorporate Chris’ recommendations are up to you and based on your individual strengths and weaknesses.
A couple of key items that resonated strongly with me for you to consider for your own personal branding efforts:
- Chris says, “Faces matter – On all online accounts, use a picture of you, or you with a logo, or you in front of a logo, to represent yourself.” I encourage my clients and anyone who asks me about social media to please, please show your face instead of just a logo on all online accounts. I also strongly recommend adding people pictures on your About Us or Our Team pages on your websites as well. Nothing feels more sterile and unwelcoming than an About Us page with text only. Seeing people’s faces is much more engaging and establishes a layer of credibility.
- Chris says, “Make each conversation unique to the platform – By this, I mean that I prefer individual conversations on Facebook that aren’t cloned into Twitter and/or back again. I believe it’s more authentic to be in one place at a time. Even if you say similar things in both places, I prefer it that way than to blanket automated clatter.” I may be too particular about personalizing things, but when I read that a post or content was pushed out from platform to platform, it doesn’t feel as authentic to me either. I completely understand that it’s a time saver to hook up platforms to republish content automatically, but it loses something in translation in my opinion. Months ago, I fed my Twitter tweets to auto-update my Facebook profile. I was doing this to save myself time but wasn’t considering that some of my friends on Facebook aren’t on Twitter and were reading updates they didn’t care about or understand. The exception to this is in auto-publishing your blog posts to your Facebook fan page. For some reason, that feels okay to me and I do it.
- Chris says, “Remember – When someone says their cat is sick, it’s good to make a note to inquire about it later. People like when you remember. It goes far in making a relationship feel two-way, because believe me, they remember about you.”
- Chris says, “Pictures help – I use Flickr to share photos of events, of people I meet, of my family, of whatever catches my fancy. I do this also because they connect us, they give us common experience points, they share faces with we humans (who have a thing for faces, if you didn’t know). Pictures are a strong way to add humanity to what you do.” Twitter photo sharing and Facebook personal profiles and Fan Pages are great places to “take us along” with you, show us what you’ve been up to and keep us feeling like we’re a part of your business’ successes and challenges.
- Chris says, “Mixing Personal and Professional – I’m for it. People ask me all the time whether they should talk about personal things on their business account. I say yes, absolutely. But be measured. There’s a huge difference between self-aware and self-involved. In my personal case, I’m lucky. I’m my own brand, so if I want to scare you with tweets about my doctor’s office, I can. You might not be as lucky, but please, in the name of all that is holy, don’t be boring. That’s a worse crime.” People bring this up frequently when I speak to them about social media and I’m for it too. It has helped me tremendously in the little bit of time since I created my business. I thought about it before venturing out to pursue my dream of breaking into the wine industry where I knew very few people. How can I win the trust of the local wineries when I’m an outsider and how do I stand out to my long-distance client prospects and stay in touch with all of the awesome wine bloggers that I’ve met? Social media posts and blogging about my passion, my family and friends and my hopes and dreams has brought ideal clients to me and repels those that don’t share my outlook or care for my personal approach, saving us both time in the end. I’ve noticed a sense of warmth and welcoming from the prospective clients who have researched me and read my blog when we meet in person or have our first phone conversation. It also helps to break the ice for me at the Wine Bloggers Conference each year. I welcome this because I’m a bit shy when just getting to know someone so breaking down the walls helps me feel more at ease and lets me focus on the person in front of me.
Take some time to consider these points. Chris has won my trust and respect by doing the things he outlines in his post. So much so that I bought and read “Trust Agents” just after release and will be attending the SM2Day Conference in Rochester, NY where he’ll be speaking next Wednesday. Wouldn’t miss it for anything.