Why should you care about your digital personal brand? It’s not just your reputation, it is also the 21st century platform that enables you to work, socialize, sell a product, and plan and achieve goals. I was speaking with an author recently who publishes a book every year. Prior to 2017 he says his books would sell 2,000 + copies in paperback. Since then, he is lucky if he sells 200. What happened? Did his fans abruptly change their minds about his books? Was he blackballed from Facebook? Since he is a self-published author, his primary means of selling was online, but somehow it was as if he had disappeared from cyberspace.
How do you disappear in cyberspace?
Sometime in the last five years between changing algorithms, and a critical mass of over three billion people on social media, the rules changed. When once you could post a few times a week on a platform, build a reasonable audience, and become more popular, now you have to have a brand and a plan. Enter CoVid, the constant stream of bad news and politics, stores shut down, and more people online than ever before, doing everything from work to school to entertainment. Do you think this is temporary? Nope. Even when more of us venture outside of our homes, experts say the move to digital was fast-tracked by necessity, and much of it is here to stay.
How does a digital personal brand work?
Imagine that you are a high school science teacher by day and host a podcast on sci fi entertainment by night (or any other time). As a teacher you go to school, see students, engage with colleagues and parents, and have a reputation as an effective educator. You tell people about your podcast and you gain a few downloads from your connections, but nothing that will justify the time it takes to put your shows together. How can you solve this problem and make your podcast successful?
If you had a digital personal brand with a presence on social media platforms and a business page for your podcast, you would have a base from which to start growing an audience. You could utilize Instagram and Facebook to post your audio and link to iTunes and other streaming services. You could research people interested in your topic and connect with them to get listeners as well as potential guests and topics for your show. As you build your audience you could offer promotions and incentives for them to provide content for you to repost, tagging the original user. Then you will show up in that user’s network with exposure to all of their friends and followers, and so on, and so on.(Anyone remember that Faberge commercial for shampoo?)
Why do you need to put YOU first to get noticed?
The science teacher may think creating her podcast is the hard part, but it isn’t. The first step is having the content. Then she needs to plan on how she is going to be in front of people who are spending time in the digital space. Brian Solis says that we have become a society of digital narcissists. To make that premise work to your advantage, you will need to figure out who you are; who you want to be; what you are promoting; and how you are going to communicate all of this in a consistent, branded manner on digital media.