Can you imagine going a week without access to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or You Tube accounts? Some of us actually make a conscious choice to take some time away from posting on a wall, tweeting, joining a new circle, or uploading a new video clip. We need the time away from our online networks to get out into the real world.
Now imagine someone blocking you from your social media networks. You innocently try to log into your account and your access is denied. Such was the case for me on a recent business trip to China. For one week I was blocked from all my accounts – no ‘tweets,’ no ‘likes’, no social contact! I literally felt cut off from the world and after a few days it almost felt like symptoms of ‘social media withdrawal’ had started to set in. Seeing the drop in my Klout just made things worse. Social media had become such a regular part of my daily life that without it I felt naked!
Be Digitally Distinct and Physically Present
Building a successful personal brand requires an active social media presence to ensure you are digitally distinct, not digitally dissed. If you are not on social media, your brand runs the risk of being invisible – which is literally how I felt for that week in China. So much of my own branding is invested in social media that my friends, followers, fans, and circles thought I had disappeared off the face of the earth. I even had one of my Twitter followers jokingly tell me that she was going through her own kind of ‘withdrawal’ from not seeing my tweets.
This experience was eye opening. How did we socialize and identify ourselves before social media? While social media tools have certainly helped to catapult personal branding into the mainstream, we have to remember that Tom Peters seminal 1997 work, The Brand called You, was not a 140 character tweet.
Before we had online social networks we identified ourselves by our offline social clubs, sport teams, community groups, or school band. So while services such as Twitter and Facebook may be useful tools to build an online identity and communicate your brand, they certainly did not create the need for humans to form communities. Physical human interaction is in our bones and Tom Peters intention most certainly was for us to brand ourselves at the next job interview, job fair, conference networking event, or cocktail party.
As such we need to always remember to keep the human side of our personal branding efforts active and healthy. When creating your brand communication plan keep a good balance between online social networking efforts and offline physical ‘personal’ efforts such as talking at your local library, speaking at a “meet up,” presenting at a conference, or attending networking parties. After all, it would not be personal branding without the person.
How do you keep the ‘person’ in your personal branding? Share your ideas below.