I am fortunate enough to work for a company that encourages people to attend networking events and learn new skills — and even pays for it! Last week, I listened to HARO (Help A Reporter Out) founder Peter Shankman speak at a local event, and I drained the battery on my phone typing up practically everything he said.
So. Since I'm still talking about this presentation on personal branding almost a week later, I thought I'd leave you with my takeaways. His points can apply whether you're blogging, trying to drive traffic to your business or just wanting to get more engagement on Facebook.
- Self promotion is getting other people to want to promote you. The best way to get followers or page views is to provide people with a reason to read what you write/check out your photos/connect with you. You just have to figure out what that is.
- Your network is only as strong as your weakest link. If your Facebook feed is full of people who bring you down, start unfriending them. There's no need to waste time reading people's rants or getting annoyed by their constant negative posts. On the flip side, reach out to friends you haven't spoken to in a while and get to know them personally. They'll remember your friendliness later and reach out to you when they need help — or when they have an opportunity.
- Be a "finder." Find photos, articles and videos worth sharing, and make what you share count. Everyone wants to be the first one to find something cool or start a trend, so make it happen! People will notice and start to rely on you for help.
- Be ready if something goes viral — and brand everything you do. Peter Shankman gave the example of a video he created about training for a triathlon that he didn't expect to go anywhere. And then Lance Armstong saw the video, tweeted it to all of his followers, and lo and behold the video had 400,000 views. Unfortunately, he hadn't branded the video with his website or any contact information, so he missed a huge opportunity to direct people to more of his videos. Bottom line: Be aware of how your stuff is being shared, and make sure people can find you if they want to read or see more.
- Believe in good karma and do nice things when you don't need something. I loved that Peter Shankman took karma so seriously. Throughout his presentation, he stressed that if you're kind to the universe, the universe will be kind to you. And it's true. If you post kind, genuine comments on a blog, chances are good that the author will send you kind comments, too. She'll also remember you if you're nice and accommodating even when you don't need a favor.
- Limit the things you post with the word 'I.' Share articles from other people on Facebook or Twitter, and recognize the good things others do. Also, limiting posts with the word 'I' means being more conscious of what you're posting and staying away from rants or posts that are overly critical of yourself or other people.
- Don't promote things that you don't love. This seems obvious, but it's so true. If you don't love writing about something or talking about it on your blog, then don't do it. Stay true to yourself and your passion will shine through and make everything you touch more interesting.
- Sharing happiness is the greatest self-promotion. Being positive can go a long way — especially if you're sharing amazing things that happen to you or are happening to others. Make others happy and you'll be happier yourself.
- Be thankful and show your gratitude. Peter Shankman mentioned that he carries a stack of thank-you cards with him wherever he goes and sends them to people he meets by dropping them off in the airport mailbox. Who doesn't like getting mail, especially a kind, hand-written card? A nice email to say thanks is a great way to connect, too.
- Everything you post increases or decreases the credibility of your personal brand. I need to have that sentence printed up and framed for our little office, because it's the biggest thing I took away from the presentation. Each time you post something, you're showing people your personality and telling them what kind of posts they can expect. Make sure that what you're posting accurately reflects you and doesn't hurt your reputation.
Did you like Peter Shankman's advice? I'm still soaking it up and already planning ways to make my blog even better — and to be a "finder."