What exactly is a brand these days? Is it a distinct symbol or shape, a simple jingle, an overpriced good, or a fancy name that may or may not be easy to pronounce. Perhaps it’s something that’s easy recognizable or something that we continually consume because we think that it’s the “best on the market.” The truth of the matter is that brands are no longer considered to be large corporations but, thanks to the evolution of social media you to my friend, are a brand.
So when did individuals become brands? We became brands the moment we created our personalized Facebook page, the day we entered the world of Twitter and the day that we became connected to LinkedIn and commented on that article in the paper. The day you made the decision to engage in social media, also made the decision to create your own brand. How so? Well first, you created a username. This was your opportunity to call (or identify) yourself as whatever it is that you wanted. Some people use their legal name and others make up things that are just plain silly but either way, you immediately created your unique identifier. Second, you posted personal things about your life. Where you live, what you do, where you were educated, your religious background and so forth. Yes, one could argue that there are controls put in place such as “friend request” or “request to follow,” to keep weirdos out of your space but, your living in a virtual atmosphere and most things virtual (aka social) have come to serve as a resource, especially for employers. When you share, comment, post, connect, or tweet, you are sharing and representing your thoughts, your values, and point of view with the world. This is branding at its best.
A brand offers a unique identity and that identity often times serves as a representation for something much deeper than a cute picture or a profound statement that you encountered. Yes, all the sites that I mentioned above are for personal use but I say again, they are also resources. If you meet a hot guy or gal, the first thing that most people do is look them up in Facebook or on Twitter to see what they are talking about, to see what kind of pictures they have posted, and to learn more about the person. Applied for a job lately, employers are checking out social media sites. Why? Because they are checking up on your “brand.” The bottom line — give them and yourself something to be proud of.