The best way to approach anything, is with a clear strategy. You will never find a successful company that began without one. Why should you treat yourself any different?
Think of yourself as a company. A company cannot begin to think strategy without first having its brand, and neither can you.
A clear strategy when it comes to networking starts with your personal brand.
The good news is that your personal brand is not something you have to create. It is something you already have and that you now have to realize. Think of the company Chik-Fil-A. What is its personal brand? Most would answer that it is a fast-food restaurant that provides healthier options than others in the industry along with superb customer service. These qualities now become guidelines for the chain to have to live up to in order for customers to have continued interest and for the companies ultimate success. This does not differ from a personal brand, apart from the fact that you have it easy and are already you, when the company Chik-Fil-A had to start from scratch.
As far as personal branding goes, Gretchen Fox, cofounder of social strategy, gives great advice explaining that personal branding can not be looked upon as one-dimensional. She says that, “it’s important to define who you are, but from the perspective of a two-way conversation.” This brings personal branding to a two-dimensional level. Not only do you have to think about who you are on paper, in your bio, elevator pitch, linked in description, or whatever it may be, but Kimberlee Morrisons’ article: “The Social Strategy: A Five-Step Process For Social Media Marketing Success,”states that you have to additionally think about, “what to say, what not to say, and the tone to maintain.”
Now that as individuals we reach multiple audiences every single day through all of our social media platforms, how we present ourselves in online networked environments is crucial to our networking strategy.
Social media sites from SMS to LinkedIn, are all made as methods of networking. We create our personal brand and network by means of predetermined spaces. An example would be the layout of Facebook with the option to add a profile picture, cover photo, albums, status, etc. Although the spaces are planned out for us, this does not mean that it is a simple task to fill in the blacks per say. Papacharissi, in her writing, “A Networked Self,” mentions that it is in fact quite difficult to display yourself on SNS (social networking sites), because we often are engaging many audiences on them, from employers to friends and all the in-between. What we have to know when we are engaging in any form of SNS, is whether or not we want to engage all of these audiences or whether we want to target certain ones. Papacharissi mentions in her works that often when we engage in too many audiences we can lose a sense of place. She defines a sense of place as something, “formed in response to the particular sense of self, or in response, to the identity performance constructed upon that place.” A sense of place and self comes from experience. Just like your personal brand was not fully developed the first day you were born, neither will your sense of place on social networking sites. Over the years we have adapted new SNS and combined new and old methods together. It is all about adapting and experimenting. You have all the tools to go for it, so do so.
Featured Image Source: ER Tour