Lifestreams and Vcards
In today’s climate of social media marketing, business owners are encouraged to get word out about their company in as many formats as possible. According to Michelle Carroll of 1stop Marketing Solutions:
"Companies are looking for new ways to sell their products and engage customers. Social media is an effective and low cost marketing strategy that allows you to compete with larger brands to gain visibility with your target audience. Whether your company is interested in testing social media by creating a corporate blog, creating a funny video and sharing this with people on YouTube, or establishing personal connections through your own brand profile on Twitter, there are many ways to take advantage of social media to create memorable brand experiences and grow your business."
While this is an effective way of getting the word out, it also makes it harder for your true fans to be able to find you. (The last time I searched for my name, I came up with over 9,000 true hits on Google!) If I am trying to work some personal branding, how am I to manage what is going on in so many locations?
A Central Place for Branding
The answer is to bring all these places together in one location—a central place for your personal brand. This could be the info box on one of your profiles, a Google profile, a company website, or a domain of your own name—it is up to you. The idea is to gather all the links to everything you are doing and put them all in this one location. This gives you one central location to base from, one single link to put into your e-mail signature, or a solid link to provide in the profiles for all the various websites you belong to. It helps focus your marketing efforts, keeps things simple, and lets people know where you are without having to Google you.
Virtual Business Cards
One way to create a central repository is to make yourself an online business card. Services like card.ly, Retaggr, PeoplePond, or Dandy ID provide fast and easy ways to create an online business card, even for a novice user. For those with a bit more advanced knowledge, you can make a vcard site using your own domain name like Tim van Damme and all the people he has inspired on his Wall of Fame. With either method, the idea is clear: keep it simple, make it precise, and keep it professional.
Social Media Spots
For those with an existing website (or existing websites), establishing a section of the site for social media and other connections is the best way to centralize your marketing efforts. For example, Sonya Ferreira of Sonya Lee Weddings & Events created a special "Connect With Me" section for all her links and social media connections in an eye-catching location on her new blog. She says:
"Social media marketing does have great benefits for my business, but I feel like having all these various profiles and websites really fragments my branding efforts. Having a blog (Brides with Passports) that I can brand with a centralized social media section has definitely simplified things."
Many modern themes for WordPress come with a social media focus, offering plug and play configuration for connecting all your social media accounts. Some examples of this include:
You could also add a plugin to an existing installation, like Social Media Page for WordPress.
For the ultimate mashup of all your social media sources, I offer the LifeStream Plugin for WordPress. You can use this anywhere from a sidebar on your regular site to a main selection for the site itself. MyTechTeam uses the LifeStream plugin in a sidebar to bring in feeds of interest to their customers as well as their own blog and Twitter feeds. I recently built my own lifestream site to look like my Twitter page that incorporates everywhere on the net that you can find me professionally.
Not good with programming? You can create your own (business)lifestream with Tumblr, Twitter, or a Facebook Page. There are many options that will take your feed from one site and post it to another (such as twitter feed), creating one page that is your centralized source of everything you!
Nikole Gipps is the face behind the superhero character at That PHP Girl, a web development help service for DIYers and non-tech pros.