Social Media for Personal Branding: Stand Out by Being Social by Design

In the final of 10 installments of our Personal Branding Strategy Series I want to encourage you to use social media for personal branding, to be “social by design”.

I first heard the phrase from Carolyn Everson, my former big boss at Microsoft Advertising and now Head of Global Advertising Solutions at Facebook. Adapted from the industry cry for brands to be “digital by design”, Carolyn’s morphing of the expression is the perfect discipline for the busy professional of today.



Here are a few ideas of what it means to be “social by design”:

Getting your social infrastructure right

I talk about it in detail in the post on How to Optimize Your Personal Brand Online, but this is about making sure your social profiles  – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. – are set up properly so you’re half way to success. Your profiles need to be discoverable, they need to have the right security settings activated and it needs to be easy for someone to interact with you, understand immediately what you are about, and share whatever you are trying to get out there.

Creating great content

This goes without saying, but if you’re active on social and digital channels you need to have something of value to say and learn to say it well. I’ve written about The Science of Great Content before and an article on “How to Write a Blog Post in 30 Minutes” has been shared on over 6000 times so take a look at those as inspiration for creating content in long and short form that your followers/audience are going to appreciate and share.

Optimizing your speaking engagements

One of the best ways to get your ideas out into your industry is by pitching to speak at conferences within your niche. Too often I watch people who have flown many miles to give a speech at a convention somewhere in the world, only to limit the potential audience to just those in the room. The trick they miss is adding social signals to their presentations that prompt delegates to share their onstage wisdom to their followers. Giving permission to Tweet and take photos is one way, but adding your handle and the event hashtag to the odd slide is another. Sharing with people an easy to write down URL where they can get a copy of your presentation and connect with you would be the icing on the cake.

Being social even when out of the office

If you’re travelling or on holiday you’ll probably set an “out of office” alert right? That’s a perfect vehicle for leaving someone with a good impression and picking up some connections on social media.

So don’t just say “I’m on vacation blah blah”! Tell people where you are and how they can follow your adventures by giving them a link to your Twitter or Instagram account. If you’re speaking at a conference link to a Twitter search for your handle and the conference hashtag so people can read what they are saying about your speech – assuming it went well!

If you want to REALLY impress do what Andy Freed does!

And check out his latest Harrisonian effort on Vimeo.

Having something physical people can remember you by

A couple of years ago I wrote a post about the fact that business cards are not dead. I carry Moo cards that are large and thick. They stand out from others and people always spend time complimenting me and asking where I got them. If you have business cards, remember to take them to meetings, networking events or conferences. There’s nothing more awkward than having to do the “pocket pat” followed by some spurious story about leaving them in your hotel room.

Something physical is not limited to business cards either. Look sharp. Make an effort with your appearance in professional settings. Look to differentiate. You don’t have to go as far as David Shingy from AOL, but at least have some motif.

Mine is I always wear something that has red in it (shoes, shirt, handkerchief) as it’s Delightful’s colour. Yours could be a color, some item of clothing or accessory. It might sound gimmicky but it works. Humans need an icebreaker and something physical can help start a conversation and keep it memorable.

Don’t. Ever. Stop.

One of the main objections I get from people who are reticent about embarking on an effort to get their personal brand shored up is a lack of time to focus on it. If you’ve been through the 10 steps of this Personal Branding Strategy series, you’ll start seeing some achievements almost immediately. Wholesale success takes time though, sometimes months or years. Your professional profile needs to evolve, take shape and tell a story. Use social media for personal branding to create a strong image for yourself online.

This is why when you start. You. Can. Never. Ever. Stop.

Missing any pieces in the series? Read all of them here:

Personal Branding: 10 Steps to Your Perfect Strategy

And don’t forget to:

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@MelCarson – Founder of Delightful


  • Jay

    I just devoured your entire 10 article series in a morning – great read and I can see how it can provide a really great foundation for setting up a personal brand.
    I’m really interested in creating a personal brand and strategy, that leverages all my previous experience so that I can launch and elevate my presence in my chosen field of startup launch validation. I expect this will need to include everything from core positioning/differentiation through to content strategy and planning.
    The difficulty that I’m having is wrapping my head around how to reposition myself, given that I’ve been a professional oil and gas engineer for 18 years while moonlighting as a tech entrepreneur and recently a coach/mentor for tech startups. The industries are totally unrelated and although I’d like to preserve the professional experience accumulated as an engineer (I still consult as it pays the bills) – I’d really love to launch my own brand in the tech scene as the guy who helps SAAS tech startups validate and launch their business ideas.
    I’m guessing that having multiple presences in unrelated industries could be confusing, and so am wondering if I need to change everything over to the new brand (e.g. LinkedIn profile) – or is there a way that I could have both in parallel?

    • Mel Carson

      I will email you Jay. Stay tuned….. Mel

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