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March 21, 2013
How to Burnish Your Personal Brand Using Social Media
Never look a gift horse in the mouth. There has been no time in history where it has been easier or more efficient to sculpt your personal brand to highlight your passion, spotlight your skills, and expose, to the world, your accomplishments. The proliferation of platforms has made it possible to deftly create or surface a specific identity that conveys who you are, your particular interests, and your ultimate objective in life. 

Let’s take stock of the possibilities. Let’s say for example that you have a penchant for being a wine PR aficionado. How and where do you convey that fact so your name will be associated with Wine PR when a hiring manager, HR representative, or recruiter goes casting about online for a wine public relations professional? Consider the following:

Resume: Start with your resume and craft it with an emphasis on what makes your background, experience, and abilities qualified for a role as a wine PR expert. Tailor each job with the type of experience and ability relevant to doing wine PR. Begin your resume with a summary statement that forms your 30-second elevator speech. See “Constructing an elevator speech.”

Blog: Try your hand at blogging about Wine PR. The key here is to be prepared to have a regular schedule of blog posts. The blog can focus on your experience, case studies, creative ideas, people who are authorities or thought leaders, what others are doing, or techniques, just to name a few tactics. Also, invite your colleagues and others in the field to guest post. Pick a title for your blog that is intuitive, clever, and interesting. Make sure you then amortize the blog over other social infrastructure platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, Pinterest, etc.

Linkedin: Construct your LinkedIn profile to reflect the character and language of your resume. Pay particular attention to your “Professional Headline” and “Summary Statement,” insuring that they are descriptive and relevant to wine PR. For example, the headline might read as follows: “Wine Publicist” or “Word Sommelier.” Then your summary statement could read: “Wine wordsmith and promoter with experience communicating, positioning and promoting wines of Napa and Sonoma. Crafter of culinary compositions to whet your appetite and satisfy the palate.”

In addition to your profile, look for LinkedIn Groups that focus on “wine PR.” Do a simple search to ID the groups and then, depending on if they are open or private, apply for membership. With that accomplished, engage with the groups, add original thought and content, and add value where and when appropriate. Also, if there is an absence of groups related to your focus, create a Group or two that that puts a stake in the ground about “Wine PR.” Have a mission and objective that will be attractive to others in the field. Once completed, invite others to join and collaborate.

Facebook: First, have your Facebook profile mirror your LinkedIn profile, emphasizing your skill set and accomplishments in doing public relations for wineries, retail outlets, vineyards, varietals, or whatever is your preferred calling. Next, as you post your updates, focus them on content, photos, and opinions on topics related to the wine business and PR. That's not to say you should not post other content. The key is that over time you want to build up a legacy of content that portrays your interest and experience in Wine PR. One more point. Post content that is thoughtful, instructive, and interesting.

Pinterest: The Pinterest platform is a terrific vehicle for posting content that is focused and instructive. You have a couple of alternatives. Create a board focused on "Wine PR" where you pin interesting content about aspects of wine PR. It could be your own content, links to blogs about wine PR, or interesting vineyard images. The other alternative is to find boards that concentrate on wine and PR and constantly post topics and pins that again are interesting, unusual, and educational.

Twitter: If you already have a Twitter handle, no issue, get a second one. Create a handle that reflects how you want to brand yourself, for example “PRWineDiva.” Intuitively it establishes your role as a public relations pro involved in the wine industry. 

Next, in 140 characters or less, tweet ideas, advice, news, counsel, requests, other sites (like your blog posts,) or any piece of information or knowledge that conveys something about “Wine PR.” Do this consistently. In addition, start following other wine divas and people whose livelihood depends on the grape. Follow other bloggers and reporters who write about wine. In due time, people will start following you based on your own content and posts. Also, register yourself on platforms like Twellow.

AboutMe: The “About.Me” platform enables you to create a universally accessible splash page that encompasses the different facets of your life. It provides a single page where you can display graphics and a summary of your career or a biography and icons that link, in real time, to your social media profiles. Icons are available for most of the major platforms. Insure that your biographic information includes aspects of your experience and accomplishments in “wine PR.” Also, consider using a graphic design or photo that features you in a setting related to the field of “wine PR.”

Quora: A crowd-sourced information site, Quora.com, is one of the pre-eminent platforms for asking questions and finding answers from people with first-hand experience. It is an ideal site to populate with information you know and can share with others based on your experience and knowledge. Make liberal use of your focus to both ask and answer.

Visual CV: VisualCV.com is a virtual resume that is searchable and discoverable by search engines. The site couches itself as “Your Resume, Only Better.” It allows you to create and “access anywhere” a complete history of your career and accomplishments together with a portfolio.

What other platforms do you employ to burnish your brand? Please share in your comments below.

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Gerry Corbett is the PRJobCoach at prjobcoach.com and CEO of Redphlag LLC, a strategy consultancy. He has served four decades in senior communications roles at Fortune 100 firms and earlier in his career in aerospace and computer engineering with NASA. He has a B.A. in public relations from San Jose State University and is a member of the International Advertising Association, National Investor Relations Institute; Arthur Page Society, National Association of Science Writers, and International Coaching Federation.

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