Personal Branding Advice from Dan Schawbel
Personal Branding Advice from Dan Schawbel
I recently interviewed Dan Schawbel on my podcast show. Dan is the best selling author of Me 2.0 and widely recognized as an expert in personal branding. Dan is also Managing Partner of Millennial Branding.
In his book, Me 2.0, Dan offers a four step personal branding process: Discover, Create, Communicate, Maintain. Whether developing a brand for a company or individual, it’s all about figuring out who you are and what you represent before you can create your online presence. Dan stresses the importance of setting goals and developing a personal brand plan where you communicate through online media, network and constantly work at maintaining your reputation. You must be involved in relevant conversations. As you grow, your brand must grow along with you.
Social Media Position
Dan worked at EMC for about a year. He met fifteen people over eight months to get his job at EMC. Dan had created a blog on personal branding. Fast Company wrote about him. Google invited Dan to speak at their headquarters. Once he built his personal brand, and EMC created the social media position, Dan was the obvious choice for the position. Dan’s success from his book and media engagements snowballed his career as a personal branding expert.
Twitter as a Communication Channel
Dan used to use to his Twitter profile as a marketing platform. People would often retweet his content. He noticed that as his followers increased, engagement decreased. He likens Twitter to a public forum where everyone has a level playing field. But, Twitter allows you to move people to other forms of online relationships such as email, or a phonecall or in person. Now, Dan uses Twitter it as a communication channel. But, he’s now investing more of his time in Facebook. Dan also has a popular LinkedIn group on personal branding.
Native Strengths of Online Channels
Dan recommends the use of each online channel in relevant ways, and to bring people back to your blog. Depending on your goals, Dan suggests you figure out your marketing funnel. Take people through the online touch points where they can get exposed to your products or services in ways that meet your goals. To emphasize this point, I borrow from Wayne Gretzky; “skate to the where the puck is going.”
Those of us born before 1985 are digital immigrants. The public Internet as we know it was created during our lifetime. On the other hand, digital natives grew up using the Internet. For digital immigrants, we must figure out which tools work best to build our personal brand. We must be willing to experiment over the span of months. It’s a huge process. There is no simple answer. There must be a mindset shift to leverage both the technology and cultural evolution of the Internet for personal branding value.
Personal Brand Example
I asked Dan for a good example of personal branding. He told me the story of Joel Backaler, who is an American fluent in Chinese. He developed a blog called TheChinaObserver.com. His focus on China has earned him recognition from The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, BusinessWeek and other prominent media outlets. His career has taken off as a result of his focus and content on China. Dan makes the point that small opportunities often lead to larger opportunities. But, the hardest thing to do is to get the first hit.
Dan’s Millennial Branding consultancy is his attempt to create a personal branding world with four integrated business divisions. The Media division includes blogs, a magazine, online television and a newsletter. The Consulting division helps individuals and companies build their personal brand. The Community division is all about building his community by connecting with people online on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. And, the Education division produces books, conferences, webinars, etc. Despite the name of his company, Dan acknowledges that most of his clients are not millennial, but rather people and brands beyond the millennial phase in search of a personal branding strategy.
How do you mix personal and company branding?
My good friend Chuck Palm asked me to ask Dan this question. Dan’s advice is to build your name before your company name if possible. If you already have a company, then build both at the same time by connecting the two together. When people think of you, they can think of your company. For example, ChuckPalm.com is synonymous with IPN.
Me 2.0 Second Edition
In October Dan is releasing the second edition of Me 2.0. It will contain another chapter called: Social Networking for Job Seekers. It will provide a step by step plan for job seekers to build their personal brand using social networking. This is a topic which is very near and dear to me, as I am speaking and delivering education on this topic.
My podcast interview with Dan has more on personal branding. Just click the play button above, or listen to it in iTunes.
What are you doing to build your personal brand? Share your story in the comments below.