Pioneering Brand Strategist, Speaker, Author and Founder of Reach Personal Branding

William Arruda

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Brands of a Feather Flock Together

Can your personal brand be affected by those who follow you on Twitter?

Recently, a blogger askedCan your personal brand be affected by those who follow you on Twitter?

What say you?

I say “yes”.  You might think that’s kind of harsh especially when those of us who have any presence on social networks have woke up one morning and found some spammer or sex goddess following us and thought “ugh” have they been following me through the night?  How long?  Have my contacts seen this person or worse yet, have they poached and spammed my contacts?

So, does it affect your personal brand?

Twitter FollowersIt all depends how you manage it.

I tell clients and audiences “if you don’t have time to take care of your presence on a network – then don’t jump into that network.”  It’s just like if you walked into a networking event and threw out a comment and said nothing afterward.  Even as people asked you questions or expounded upon your statement, you just stood there in silence with deadpan eyes.  That’s exactly what some people are doing to their personal brands as they race to have “presence” on the big three (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn).

And, even online, who you associate with makes a difference
.  So, if you make the decision to join a network, what plans do you have to maintain the network?  The next question then is, “how do you not become slave to social media?”  A question often asked by someone who doesn’t have a plan and they’ve just jumped into the online space to have “presence”.  The secret to involvement, connection or success is not “just showing up” as some will tout.  It is “showing up well.”

Here’s what I recommend:

1.  If you’re going to jump into a network, then have a plan.
Plays While there are many different helpful worksheets to determine your online strategy or plan, it really boils down to what is your communication plan.  So answer the basic questions of  - who; what; why; where; and when? That will assist you in deciding YOUR active networks.  For example, refrain from jumping onto YouTube if all you have is one video to post and no plans, thoughts, ideas, or ability to produce any more.  An old unattended network is creating a negative impression and quite possibly some negative word of mouth.  Better to be cautious then appear lazy.

2. When in a network, what’s your commitment to it?
If you blog, when will you blog?  How often? When will you respond to comments made on your blog? (It’s true. There are many who blog and throw their thoughts out there and then don’t engage those who comment on their post. The horror!  What is that lone act communicating about their brand?)

Why are you in a network? If you’re on Twitter, how often are you tweeting?  How often do you follow back? What’s your follow back policy? Who do you discard as followers or block? When will you do that maintenance? On Facebook, what’s your friending policy?  Do you give fans the ability to write on your wall or not?

For me, every single day I’m work, engage and “spot check”  my networks because that’s a key component in MY communication strategy.  For network maintenance and cleanliness, I do a “thorough review” of my network once a week.  It’s my quiet morning to catch up on the latest so instead of sitting down at the kitchen table with my morning paper, I check my networks and read the bios or pages of people following, fanning or connecting with me.  I block the spammers. Reciprocate to those it makes sense to stay connected with.  And, say “hello” to contacts I haven’t engaged with in a while.

3. Specifically, for each network you have presence on you must have some sort of maintenance plan for that network.
For LinkedIn: I disconnect from anyone whose asked me for a referral and I don’t even know them; whose asked for a recommendation and I don’t know them.  And, I do not respond and delete connection requests from anyone whose used the phrase “because you’re someone I trust I would like to add you to my professional network” –when we haven’t even met.

For Facebook: On my personal profile, I connect with friends and acquaintances.  Because my personal brand is about inspiration and positive word of mouth, I delete those who are so negative in their updates and comments; for others I block their ability to write on my wall if I still want to stay connected but know they can be negative at times; I hide those crazy new applications that keep popping up, or delete those who keep spamming about their product or service.  Then, I go to my Facebook Fan Page (which I do monitor several times a day since my wall is open for comments) and see who of my friends and acquaintances are fans and invite them to become fans (sometimes those closest to you have no idea what you do).

Brands of a Feather Flock Together For Twitter:
I manually use Twitn by buzzom to help me manage my followers (I’m still not a fan on anything on ‘auto-pilot’ because they lack the human connection that is a core of my personal brand).  I use it because of the volume of Twitter followers I receive from my personal tweets to the connections I garner from moderating #brandchat ,the weekly chat about branding. There I can see all the new followers in one place, see whose reciprocated, and then who I followed back and then unfollowed me immediately (meaning their just building their follower number).  I can also “flush and block” those who are just spamming.

“Guilt by Association” is used when you’re reputation is assumed to be like someone else you associate with really stemming from the old saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.”  “Built by Association” is a term I use with clients to explain to that the opposite is true.  Whomever you associate with, you can learn from, grow, brainstorm, mastermind with and lift each other up.

I’m curious to know how do you manage your flock?

Cross-posted on TheBuzz101


Maria  Elena Duron Maria Elena Duron | chief buzz officer, speaker and coach is co-founder of #brandchat, a weekly conversation on Twitter. Join us weekly as we discuss company and personal brands!

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More Stories By William Arruda

Dubbed 'The Personal Branding Guru’ by Entrepreneur magazine, William Arruda is a pioneering brand strategist, speaker, author and founder of Reach Personal Branding. He is credited with turning the concept of personal branding into a global industry.

William delivers keynotes and workshops on the transformative power of personal branding for some of the world’s most successful companies. He energizes and motivates his audiences—and his private clients include some of the world’s most influential leaders. As a thought-leader, William is a sought-after spokesperson on personal branding, social media and leadership. He has appeared on BBC TV, the Discovery Channel and Fox News Live and he’s been featured in countless publications, including Time Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and the New York Times. William is the coauthor of the bestselling book Career Distinction. He is a member of the International Coach Federation and the National Speakers Association. He holds a Master’s Degree in Education.