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Said the Little Lamb to the Shepherd Boy

Do You Hear What I Hear?

I just read my favorite personal branding post of 2009, “Could Santa be the Strongest Brand?” Very much in keeping with the season and loaded with sound personal branding advice, the author, William Arruda, shares that to manage your strong personal brand you must:

  1. Stand out
  2. Be consistent
  3. Create an emotional connection
  4. Remain visible to your target audience
  5. Surround yourself with brand evangelist who will carry the message for you

Focus on doing these five elements of Santa’s brand model and you, too, will manage your personal brand and compel others to speak positively on your behalf!  Word of mouth, above all else, builds credibility.  And, ‘buzz’ does not create brand evangelists, brand evangelists create buzz.

In keeping with that festive and thought provoking theme, let's focus on remaining visible to our target audience and surrounding ourselves with brand evangelists.

Creating evangelists means that we have visibility and credibility with someone;  established a solid know, like and trust factor with them; and moved, touched or inspired them to speak positively on your behalf.

'Tis the season, so my thoughts focus on my favorite Christmas melody - the song "Do you hear what I hear?"  To me, it's the perfect example of how word of mouth spreads with the message borrowing from each person's credibility and being portable enough to pass along from person to person.

  • Is your brand portable? 
  • Can others explain what you do, who you are, or what your super power is succinctly and clearly?
  • More importantly...can you?

When you can do so and teach or model for others how and what to speak about when they are describing your brand you have a something that can be passed one person to the next. Much like the Telephone Game (a popular children's activity) they will add their own "credibility" to the message, their own "spin" and transport it far beyond who you could ever personally reach.Do You Hear What I Hear?

Add Web 2.0 to the mix and I see many gurus teach individuals that they are more searchable by placing keywords on the title of their Twitter page, in their Twitter handle or to title their Facebook page.  Sadly, I see many Realtors, solopreneurs, up and coming executives and small business owners struggle with this.  And, while SEO is powerful - I believe that word of mouth is even more powerful.

For this post, I'll focus on Facebook.  Here's what we know:

  • Facebook business pages rank high in the search engines and typically show up on the front page of a Google search
  • Facebook pages are visible to the public (available to non-facebook users, unlike personal profiles which are seen by members only)

Here's what you can do:

It makes more sense to name your Facebook business page with your name and laden the content on the page with all of the highly searched terms that are authentically a part of your brand.You want your name to show on the first three pages of Google – not some keyword or highly searchable term.  And, whatever business you are with - people will look for you by name.

Second, use your photo.  This advertising practice holds true, people are drawn to pictures.  If you want someone to look at your ad, put a picture in it.  Pictures are worth a thousand words so be sure it’s clear, focused and the background and what you’re wearing truly reflect your brand.

Here are some other thoughts that came up when we discussed this very topic on #brandchat, a weekly Twitter chat I moderate focused on all aspects of branding.

neilmckenzphoto: Photo for personal service, logo for product oriented company.
neilmckenzphoto: How many solopreneur logos can you remember?
andrewmueller: As a Solopreneur use a photo of You, You are the Brand and most important to create relationships, Logo is insignificant.

Even for executives, when people connect with you the relationship is with you.  And, while your company benefits from your personal brand powerfully contributing to the corporate brand promise, your brand and your connections are yours.  They go with you.  How often have we seen this evident in companies, board of directors and even non-profit organizations?Networking

Third, identify six people that you would like to deepen your relationship with who you either have great credibility with; or they've given you great testimony; or they're a wonderful customer who could become an advocate. Connect with them online by interacting in the social networks where they are. 

Word of mouth is powerful to any brand.  Whether you believe or not, there was a great teacher, long ago, who spread his message through and with twelve people and from that twelve he changed the world! What could you do for your business or career with... six?

Cross-posted on TheBuzz101

Maria Elena Duron Author:  Maria Elena Duron | chief buzz officer, speaker and coach. Share your greatest personal marketing challenge in the buzz bash contest to win a strategic 5-point personalized plan to create buzz for you!

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More Stories By William Arruda

Dubbed 'The Personal Branding Guru’ by Entrepreneur magazine, William Arruda is a pioneering brand strategist, speaker, author and founder of Reach Personal Branding. He is credited with turning the concept of personal branding into a global industry.

William delivers keynotes and workshops on the transformative power of personal branding for some of the world’s most successful companies. He energizes and motivates his audiences—and his private clients include some of the world’s most influential leaders. As a thought-leader, William is a sought-after spokesperson on personal branding, social media and leadership. He has appeared on BBC TV, the Discovery Channel and Fox News Live and he’s been featured in countless publications, including Time Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and the New York Times. William is the coauthor of the bestselling book Career Distinction. He is a member of the International Coach Federation and the National Speakers Association. He holds a Master’s Degree in Education.

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