What makes us all human is our unique qualities and characteristics. Whether we are enthusiastic about technology or have a passion for cooking amazing feasts and bake for others – these are part of who we are and our identity as human beings.
However, when it comes to social media professionals, how do we showcase our unique qualities besides our knowledge, experiences, and insights? The answer is simple, and it has to do with socks.
No, I am not saying you have to go out and buy all the socks you can – what I mean is embracing an item, accessory, or even a drink that can be tied to your reputation.
I consider Ted Rubin to be one of the great leaders in the digital sphere and profession – we are Facebook friends, follow each other on Twitter and Instagram, and I have been really impressed with how he engages on a real and authentic level. He updates not only on relevant content on social media, but he also showcases his personality quite a bit. And, he takes pictures of his socks, which he calls “sockies.”
What Ted has done as he explains in his post is how socks helped establish his brand on social media and formulate these relationships. I couldn’t agree more! You have to figure out what makes you different and use this as a way to engage in dialogue and formulate these relationships?
So, while my sock collection totally needs to be addressed, I have used another item to help establish my personal brand with fellow colleagues, students, professionals, and even fellow professors. My item is coffee.
Coffee is probably one of my biggest weaknesses – I joke with my students and colleagues about the fact that it is a major food group for me as well as my blood type. All you have to do is look at my Instagram page and see all of the reference associated with my enthusiasm for coffee. I even use the hashtag #ThisProfRunsOnCoffee a lot to communicate this!
However, this was not always the case. I started really sharing my love for coffee a few years ago while I was still at the University of Tennessee with my friends. I would occasionally share this online on Facebook, and then it started picking up among my friends. While at UofL, I noticed right away that it became quite apparent with even my students where they would bring me items to my office related to coffee. In addition, if students or colleagues wanted to meet – it was never in my office – but rather a coffee shop. I guess you can say they know me pretty well!
Another factor to note here is that with social media, there is of course a way to share the love and joy of coffee with others! This is where I have used TweetACoffee from Starbucks to do just this. You can send a coffee voucher virtually on Twitter to a friend and they are able to redeem this on their end.
I have done this for students, fellow professionals working in social media, and even colleagues celebrating their birthday. I have gotten tweets, tags on Instagram, and pictures shared on Facebook of my fellow friends and colleagues who have used their gift and and thanked me online. This was awesome to see! I have found that this has not only been an extension of my personal brand on social media, but also has contributed to the relationship management I have had with fellow colleagues, or #RonR like Ted Rubin says.
In summary – the answer is not to jump on board the sock or coffee bandwagon [however, these are both fabulous and always in need for more enthusiasts!] – but find out what makes YOU memorable as a professional/person in your field. What other elements make you memorable and others can associate with your personal brand and give you the ability to share this with others. There are many other professionals who have done exactly this for other items like Lee Odden (another coffee enthusiast!), Jason Falls (bourbon), and Alex Houg (doughnuts).
So – what will be your item to help extend your personal brand and formulate sustainable #RonR with your community? Hope you all are having a great day!