Can Your Online Persona Strengthen Your Brand?

Not long ago I had a very interesting conversation via TweetChat with someone who is excellent at one thing, Branding.¬† We talked about how many of us bloggers have a unique online persona, one we share with the “world” as it may and one that may be different than our random everyday personality. Good or bad, it does happen and if you do it right, this may just¬† help you to succeed in the craziness of the online social media world.

From the feedback I received I realized that this idea is hardly new. Since the dawn of Hollywood and before, people have been using their public image to enhance their brand. I may not be a movie star, but many of the same techniques still apply. As a PR person, I learned many of these tricks and tips in school and thought I would now share them with you. So here is just a quick refresher on how to use your online identity (public persona) to help solidify your brand.

1. How important is a name? If you make a point to use your full name in all of your online interactions, that’s great…but remember that not everyone will agree and using your real name can inadvertently create enemies. As long as you remain thick skinned, this should be alright though. Another important thing to remember – if you use your name, all of your revelations whether they are professional or a rant against an insane boss are all linked to you. This can come back to bite you so if you choose to use your real name….be aware of the consequences that come with it. It is a good idea to go ahead and purchase your own domain while you’re at it. (oh and if you are curious…Google yourself and see what comes up – apparently I am an exotic dancer/stripper in Texas….who knew?)

2. According to Erik Qualman (@equalman) the author of the incredibly awesome book, “Socialnomics” , if you choose to develop your online brand based on a singular persona, (real or not) it is very important to have a singular image across all of your social media outlets. This may be a logo or even a picture. I really had no idea that one image could be that important, and then I felt silly since this is one of the first things hammered into your head in all advertising and marketing classes. We are a visual species, and more than remembering what is written, we will remember an image whether it is on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, FriendFeed or a blog. Therefore, pick an icon/image/photo that truly represents your brand and use it across the web. Soon, those who are interested in you and what you stand for will begin to read your online responses, or notice your “ads” simply because they see your icon, regardless if they are actually interested in the topic of the blog post or article.

3. No matter how “big” you become online, remember that you have a life…in the real world. When approached or contacted to speak, give presentations, be a guest-poster etc, remember that you are representing both your online persona (the person/brand the world is familiar with through your blog) and you as a person. If there is too much of a gap then your brand awareness could become tarnished. No one wants to feel they have been lied too or led on. While this may seem contradictory, one of the main things I have learned is that although I have deveoped a brand through my work online, I am still me and that is the person that I want people to respect.

Have thoughts? Has your personal brand ever interfered with your personal (off-line) life? Please feel free to share.

’till next time!


4 Responses to “Can Your Online Persona Strengthen Your Brand?”

  1. equalman Says:

    Wow – thanks for calling my Socialnomics book Awesome…YOU ARE AWESOME!!


    • Kristina Summers Says:

      Thanks Erik. Your book is such a great resource that I refer to it all the time when I give talks about social media. The copy of the video you sent always really warms up the crowd and I am forever getting asked about it – which is good for you! I really appreciate you letting me use it for my presentations. My niche is a little unique – using social media to advance wildlife and natural resource conservation, but your principles remain valid all the same.

      I am actually putting together a collection of essays about how social media is changing people’s careers for an e-book, and would love it if you would contribute. If you are interested, shoot me an email at or DM @kristinasummer

      Glad you liked the post and keep up the good work!

  2. equalman Says:

    Thanks again Kristina! I just sent you a note on gmail – hopefully I can help out!!

  3. Chito Peppler Says:

    Yes, Public Affairs is now every hour, night and weekend.
    When I served as a Navy Public Affairs Officer, I lived and breathed by my Blackberry. I was essentially on call 24/7. A query from the media could come directly to me on my Blackberry, whether I was relaxing at home or enjoying a night out with friends. There was no excuse for leisure. And when there was a tight deadline, I had to turn fast to get a solid response, regardless of what I had going on. It was my duty and I felt an obligation to respond using the latest technological gadgetry. I believe the media, some who did not expect a quick answer, were impressed.

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