Recently I've had a few discussions with a couple of my friends about marketing themselves as a brand. They each are in direct sales and the image of their product isn't the company they represent but their face. People do business with other people mostly for one reason…that is they like and trust you.
Could you imagine working for a company for 20 years and all you've done is pour your heart into it all? Everyday, every month, every year to become the best at your job. One day you wake up and there is a company merger only to find they have eliminated your positions. As time goes on the clients you happily involved at your last company would like to contact you but your old mobile phone, email, and etc doesn't work.
By positioning yourself while representing your company and their brand to the fullest, you can make an ever lasting impression by giving them your personal email, phone, and even your website. You can even take that a step further if your involving yourself in the social web called “social media”. Those things would be your own YouTube channel, Twitter, Facebook Page, and etc to name a minor few in the grand scheme of things. Your approach might be different depending on the type of business you're in.
Going back to my recent conversations with a few of my friends. Their companies tell them to market themselves but they aren't allowed to have a website, Twitter, or even Facebook to promote their business. Correct me if I am wrong but this isn't 1950 anymore and technology has evolved to reach more people than your immediate metro areas. My gut feeling on why corporate policies and the people who have written them might have decided not to allow these things are because they don't understand the power of online networking. It simply is a big change which leads to a scary monster of PR issues potentially in their minds. They don't understand how to monitor their brand or control how their sales people for example will be obedient in only being positive about the company. Having a few rogue customers compared to your sales force blasting you online is more manageable than a few rogue customers.
Market like its the 21st century; not like its 1950. Here is a quick list for starters.
1) Purchase your domain name from GoDaddy (<– the link gets you a discount). Put yourself up a simple website talking about who you are, your skills, how to contact you, and how you can help someone. At minimum talk about things you love to talk about. That probably is the key to this all. You'll get very tired of talking about things that disinterest you. Remember to think about providing value…giving first in whatever topic you choose. Worse case register yourself at About.me (website). You can use it as a personal basic webpage.
2) Create a user name that can be used for your Twitter name, Facebook Page, Digg, Delicious, Reddit, YouTube, and etc. Then go and create those accounts (there are a ton of social sites out there. These will get you started). They are all free and even if you don't know what your going to do with them, its best to be the owner :). Tip: If your name for example is taken…be creative with a brand. EX: Michael Banker (your name) – “Your Banking Strategist”. So you would make all your “id's” off that slogan.
3) You need a place to keep all your passwords and usernames. Now the're about a billion ways to do this but I use www.Clipperz.com. It is all online and you can even download an offline copy. The key here is if you forget your password to log in, there is no “password retrieval” for your protection. You can access online or offline. Again find something that works for you.
4) It's a contact sport; you'll have to spend a few minutes each day interacting with people. That might be writing new material (it can be short and brief), interacting with others on the web replying to their posts, and etc. I have a hard time myself sometimes. You don't have to be perfect. Nike says “just do it”.
Make 2011 a great year for yourself! You never know how these efforts could get you noticed and pay off for you and your family. If you have any questions or need help getting started, I'd love to help if I can. Please contact me if so.