I’m a huge advocate of educators using social media to connect with students, but one of the many benefits that many educators don’t realize is that every time they post something online, they are helping to flesh out their personal brand.
While most people know that branding is used for organizations, professionals, including educators, can easily overlook branding. Simply put, personal branding is the public perception of a person, and, in the age of social media and search engines, everyone has a brand even if they are not aware of it.
In education, personal branding is important to both the educator and the university. Building an online brand is important for career advance, recognition by peers, prospective and current students, and, if the professor has an excellent online reputation, helps the university market its programs.
Having a “rock star” personal brand takes a lot of time and energy, and most educators don’t have the time or the desire for such notoriety. Here are a few quick, inexpensive, and effective tactics to keep you relevant and at the top of search engines.
When I search my name of Google the first few items are from my blog. This is followed by activities on social networks.
I try to blog once a week and I am very specific about what I write about. What are your professional passions? This is not the place to write about your hockey card collection. You need not write long blog posts. A couple of hundred words per week will soon get you noticed.
If you are stuck for topics, write about your subject discipline, or something you learnt that week while teaching. You can also write a few tips on how to do something, just like this article is.
Don’t forget to use your name as the blog’s title. You could also buy a url with your name. But if you don’t want to go that route, open a Blogger account using your name. It’s free and there aren’t any ads.
I tweet a lot (about 10 to 12 tweets per day) and that shows up in the search engines. You don’t need to tweet half as much as I do, but regularly contributing to Twitter will soon get your noticed if your tweets are interesting.
In addition to Twitter, I have a public Google Plus profile, Facebook page (personal), LinkedIn, (personal), and public Academic.edu profile. While I’m not very active on any of these, I do maintain a presence by posting every now and then. You may want to create public profiles on Facebook and keep your personal Facebook page only for friends.
On the off chance that I post something I wish I hadn’t, I can quickly bury it in the search engines by publishing more content. Remember, once something is posted online it can never be fully deleted. Keep your posts positive and you probably won’t regret anything you put online.
If you’re ready to take the plunge, write a couple of bog posts and then set up a Blogger account. Don’t be over ambitious and plan to write a post every day. Start small and work your way up. A few months after starting you may discover that blogging is new your new hobby. At that point you may wish to wave goodbye to Blogger and create your own website.
Everyone should create his or her own brand, or someone else will create it. Are you in control of your brand or are others?