Just got a question from one of my NSA speaker friends, Kevin Lerner of PresentationTeam. His question is as common as it is tricky:
"Is it better to promote your personal brand or your company brand?"
He continued, "Do I put more focus into the personal or professional? I'm seeing more and more people who have mostly professional information in their social media profiles and activities (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter). Do I maintain a presence for both? Which one is primary - me or the company?"
Good observation, Kevin, and even better question. As a marketing speaker and marketing coach who works with professional speakers, consultants, and professional services firms, this question comes up a lot.
The answer lies in building your brand sandwich. It's made up of several layers and each one needs to be hot, tasty, and fresh on it's own. (And avoid using ciabatta bread.)
Seriously - here are the layers for your brand sandwich:
- Your personal name/brand (in my case, David Newman)
- Your company name (for me, Do It! Marketing)
- Your book titles (ex: 21 Secrets of Simple Marketing Success)
- Your speech/seminar titles (ideally, there's a book or product with the SAME name in your arsenal)
- Your sound bites and building your "marketing language bank" (which is itself one of MY sound bites!!)
- Your favorite sayings or expressions (ex: "Fabulous!!!" or "BAM!")
When it comes to social media, the best plan is to market your PERSONAL brand first and foremost. After all, remember it's called SOCIAL media -- not BUSINESS media!
My three rules for social media (and these apply equally well to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and your blog):
1. It's SOCIAL (be a PERSON first) - 3-dimensional, quirky, approachable, authentic, fun
2. It's OUTWARD-focused - Just like making friends, you'll make a lot more of them if you make your social interactions about THEM and not about YOU
3. It's a RELATIONSHIP and not a transaction - treat your followers, fans, and friends like real people. They have egos, they have feelings, they like being thanked, recognized, promoted, and praised. So DO THOSE things and you'll do great.
So Kevin - YOU ROCK, BABY! Thanks for asking the killer question!!
A corporate presence in social media is great -- if you're a corporation.
If you're a 1-5 person business (like 90% of businesses in America are), then you're NOT trading on your company's name - you're trading on your own. Make your social media strategy fit that reality and all the pieces will come together nicely for you.