Can Your Online Persona Strengthen Your Brand?

UPDATE:this post first appeared back in November. Due to a wordpress/human (??) error a first draft of it was re-posted on December 26th. I apologize for the double posting – still great info but the November final draft was much better.

Not long ago I was involved in a  discussion  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. Always use the same Avatar for all your online networks. We are a visual species. We associate images with ideas and with people, that’s why ads have crazy, easily remembered images that pop out at you every time you turn on your TV. Also if you have the same avatar then no matter where you comment anywhere on the web, people will automatically associate the image with your blog/website. Applications like Facebook Connect and Disqus really make this easy.

3. There are many great resources for additional information about personal branding. The magazine put out by Dan Schwabel is wonderful as is his book, “Me 2.0” – if you are serious about building your personal brand. Take a look around the internet and invest in a few resources.

Have other ideas? Feel free to share!

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

  1. swissknifev Says:

    Suppose I am a no one. Then what’s the online PR strategy? Will the power of my ideas and content go towards building my personal brand? OR – if I am a known name then will my every word and sentence be seen as great?
    In short what I am trying to say is – A faceless brand needs an online idea AND a popular brand blesses the idea. Am I right Ma’am?

    • Kristina Summers Says:

      Hello and thank you for your comment. First of all, yes I do believe the power of good ideas will help to build your personal brand, even if you are a “nobody”. I also do not think that every thing put out by a popular or recognized brand is great just because of their status. The good thing about the online world is that you don’t have to be a “somebody” before you become successful. The PR strategy is that you must have quality, consistent content and that you must nurture your online brand regularly. You do that by commenting, posting, guest-posting, replying and creating a presence on social networking sites. If you do these things then your brand will begin to build buzz all on its’ own. If you write consistently good material you will build an audience within your niche. Maybe you will never be a household name or “seen as great” but then again if you are only blogging to become a celebrity, then there may be a priority mix up that needs addressing. I blog because I love it and I think I have something worth sharing with others, not because I want to be famous. Good luck and thanks again for stopping by.

  2. swissknifev Says:

    Thank Ma’am. The reason I had asked the question was because I’m from advertising and we live to create images for branding. Often we can face a lot of prejudice. Sometimes the ideas from smaller and mid-sized agencies can be as good or as bad as well known large agencies. And people – especially clients – can be kind be kind of irrational. For example I know that a Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman or Julia Roberts is acting in a movie I automatically assume that the movie is good. But if the same movie and script feature some unknown guy -we kind of wonder if the movie is B grade. For all we know the new actor could be as brilliant. Therefore I was trying to apply this problem to online too. I suppose you’re right when you say that online is for ideas that you strongly believe in. In fact another blogger said that deep down everone wants to soicial network because the bottom line is sales for the company or some ulterior motive for the e-socialites. Finally the blogger believed that sincerity of your social purpose must take the lead. The rest is just a bonus if it happens to come by.

  3. home wireless networking Says:

    This is an awesome site, I will definitely be sure to add your site to my morning routine 😀

  4. Moshe Feazel Says:

    Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!

  5. Coleman Elena Says:

    Have you ever considered adding additional videos to your blog posts to keep the readers more hooked? I just read through the entire article and it was very good but since I am more of a visual learner, I find videos to be very helpful. I dig what you guys are always coming up with. Keep up the great work. I will check out your blog on the regular for some of the latest post.

  6. Clay Stange Says:

    Hello, first I want to say great blog. I don’t always agree with your blogposts but it’s always a great read.
    Keep up the good blogging.

  7. Kristina Summers Says:

    @Home wireless networking – Thanks for stopping by!

    @Moshe Feazel – hope your lunch was fantastic, glad I could help!
    @Coleman Elena – yes I have used embedded videos before – I am actually working on a masters thesis right now on the connection between the visual and what we retain. Glad to know know some of my readers are on the same page!

    @Clay Strange- Thanks for reading and I will say that I am glad you can say that you don’t always agree, I mean what fun would that be? boring conversations come from a lack of controversy right? Thanks for stopping by.


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