Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How to Market Yourself

Marketing is the process of spreading awareness about a thing or idea in order to gain a favorable perception and, ultimately, patronage from a targeted population segment. Just as every business, organization, public figure and institution employ marketing techniques to earn a following, you may be interested in marketing yourself for any of a wide variety of reasons. With the Internet at our personal disposal, it is now easier than ever to put yourself out there and create an image of yourself that you can distribute across a wide audience. Follow the tips below to learn how to effectively market yourself using an impressive arsenal of tools.

Method 1 of 3: Getting Started

Identify your product. Your product may be a good or service you provide, your business, or you, depending on what you want to market. For example, you may want to market yourself to earn a customer base for your clothing line, in which case your product would be your designs; or, you may want to become more popular, in which case your product would be yourself.

Develop your brand. This means creating a personality for your services or telling a story about yourself. Design a logo. This may be your business logo, or even just a picture of yourself. A logo is important to branding because people naturally recall images more easily than they recall words or names.

* Become an expert. Whatever your product is, whether it be your services or your personality, it is important that you devote time and effort to expanding your knowledge and understanding of everything related to the product.

* Make your expertise available to others. Accomplish this with marketing materials and through networking avenues.

Create marketing materials. You have a lot of choices when it comes to how to market, including business cards, social media outlets, flyers, brochures, stickers, refrigerator magnets, door hangers, calendars and more. Your resume and cover letter may even be considered marketing materials, if you are marketing yourself to find a job. Whatever marketing materials you choose to create, they should include some basic elements.
  • Make sure your name is readily identifiable when you market yourself. It should command attention with its typeface and placement. For example, use a bold font, in a larger size than the surrounding text, and center it at eye-level.
  • Your contact information, including telephone number(s), mailing address and email address, should be listed in a way that is easy to find and read.
  • If you have a mission statement, a promotional catch-phrase, or a call-to-action that expresses your purpose for marketing, then include it on your marketing materials. This is your opportunity to sell yourself, so be creative. For example, if you are marketing yourself for the dog therapy service you provide, you might include text like, "I can help Fido through his ruff times."
  • Include your logo on every piece of marketing material you produce

Method 2 of 3: Marketing Yourself or Your Business Online

Build your Facebook personal page. Your personal page is essentially the first impression that users will get of your brand and/or personality. Visitors to this site will usually be your peers, but employers also look at Facebook pages to find out information about you before meeting you in person.
  • Take advantage of this space to tell a story about yourself by adding personal details and bringing yourself to life.
  • Upload pictures wisely. Refrain from posting inappropriate pictures that could cost you your reputation. Pictures of you out at the bars noticeably intoxicated can cost you a job opportunity or a potential partnership. If people see these pictures, they may worry about your reliability and seriousness.


  • Fill your personal page with your interests in a consistent style. To create the image of yourself as a marketable brand, your profile page needs to exude a focused idea. This means essentially creating a persona. For example, if you are an outdoorsy person that climbs mountains and goes to music festivals on the weekends, make sure that not only your music pages and interest pages reflect this, but also that every page you like furthers this notion. For example, you might like the REI Sports and the Coachella Facebook pages.
  • To further create reliability, upload pictures of yourself doing the things you claim to be interested in.
  • Keep your contact information and job history up to date. Make it easy for people to find out how to get in touch with you and what your experience looks like so they don't have to go digging for details.
  • Create a Facebook group for your brand or services to build a community where your clients, partners, and friends can interact. Facebook groups come with specific boards for posting discussion topics, photos, and videos that allow you to quickly send updates to your group members.
  • Utilize Facebook's "Events" function to spread the word about specific promotional or marketing events for your brand or services. Events allow users to RSVP online and see who else is attending your event. Event pages are also a great way to distribute specific information about your event, such as directions to a venue, content details, and other basic logistical information.
  • Cross-promote yourself by posting content to your newsfeed that links to work that you've done or articles relevant to your discipline. For example, you might want to link to blogs you've written or news articles about your brand.
  • Buy an ad and pinpoint your advertising targets on Facebook. If you are directly marketing a business, Facebook offers a service called Flyers Pro, a cost-per-click advertising system that uses keywords to target a specific audience for your advertisement based on qualities such as political views, educational status, and profession.
Promote your professional presence on LinkedIn. LinkedIn has quickly become a hub of online professional networking and many employers are quickly turning to LinkedIn to seek out qualified candidates for open positions.
  • Showcase the problems you've solved in the past at your various jobs rather than the buzzword duties you completed. Write these accomplishments in the "Description" box of each position you've added to your profile.
  • Convert your goals into keywords to include on your profile. Other users are directed to your page by keywords, so make sure the words you include on your profile page truly articulate your career accomplishments and goals. For example, if you are a graphic designer, find several ways to explain your skills, such as “build graphics,” “design websites,” or “create visual content.”
  • Build your connections. Your LinkedIn network is the most important part of your profile for establishing relationships with people in your industry. Add college peers, current and past co-workers, and users in your geographic area and industry.
  • Get endorsements for your skills. Ask your connections to endorse your particular skills to establish credibility. If you don't feel comfortable asking people to endorse you, spend some time endorsing the skills of connections that you'd like to endorse you. Likely, they'll return the favor.
  • Upload a professional-looking photo of yourself. Be sure that you are wearing professional attire in your profile photo, that the photo is relatively good quality, and that you have a friendly, sophisticated demeanor in the picture.

Keep the conversation going on Twitter. Twitter is a quick way to efficiently disperse short messages comprised of 140 characters or less. Twitter is all about current events and to-the-minute breaking news. Because of the limited space Twitter allows, the way you write your Tweets is extremely important.
  • Update your Twitter several times per day. In order to gain followers on Twitter, you have to be an extremely active user. Showcase your work accomplishments and projects by linking to clips, relevant articles, and pictures.
  • Produce strictly professional content if you are looking to market your brand or services specifically. Create one account for professional content and one to keep in touch with friends and family if necessary.
  • Think carefully about how you write each post. Word choice, grammar, and political correctness are all extremely important when representing yourself on the Internet. Make sure to proofread your tweet for content and grammar before posting it.
  • That being said, don't comprise creativity or entertainment. It's important to create a following of like-minded individuals. Posting funny copy every once in a while will help you gain such a following.
  • Retweet from relevant and credible sources. This might include tweets from other users about you, or tweets relevant to your industry or an upcoming even
Paint a picture with Pinterest. Pinterest is an extremely visual website, with clicks driven mostly by visual content that links to written content. This outlet is ideal if you're marketing a creative, visually stimulating service such as interior design, professional photography, or even flower arrangements or something in the food industry.
  • Post a short introduction about yourself and your interests in the “About” section on your Pinterest profile. This allows users to find out more about you and your Pinterest presence through words rather than pictures.
  • Title your boards effectively. The way you organize and title your boards is the main way that you are able to showcase your creativity on Pinterest. Decide whether you want your board titles to be written in catchy, funny copy, or serious, straightforward language.
  • Steadily pin content to keep followers engaged and show up on the home pages of your followers. This will increase the amount of times that your followers repin the same pages that you have pinned.
  • Tag other Pinterest users by including their @username in your descriptions. This feature allows you to build a network of users that separates you from other Pinterest users and connects you with like-minded individuals.
  • Create one board that is dedicated to telling the story of your brand/services/personality through pictures. Make sure that it communicates your personality effectively and attractively in a narrative form.

Add some color to your social media presence with Instagram. Instagram is an almost ubiquitous platform for personal users and companies alike. It is particularly useful for showcasing behind-the-scenes, "happening right now" events. If you are shooting a music video, for example, followers would most likely respond well to a photo that highlights the videographers and artists in candid action, rather than a polished, posed photo.
  • Use popular hashtags in order to show up in search results, but don't overuse them. Hashtags generate keyword pages where users can browse and find similar photos. For example, if you take a photo of your breakfast smoothie, you might use the hashtags "#breakfast," "#healthyliving," and/or "#fruitsmoothie."
  • Geotag your location to add another layer of searchable information to your posts.
  • Participate in Instagram "theme days." While users are creating new theme days almost every day, it's important to stay relevant by posting photos with the appropriate hashtags and content to match the theme day. An extremely popular post is "Throwback Thursday" where users post an old photo and tag it with the hashtag "#tbt".
  • Be a storyteller. Use your photos not only to show something beautiful or exciting, but to give depth to a larger idea. You can use the caption space to include a quote or explain the significance of the photo for you or your brand.
  • Run an Instagram contest. If it's a business that you're marketing, photo contests are a great way to engage your followers. Simply create a catchy hashtag that participants can hashtag their entries with and then repost the winner to your Instagram account. You can advertise for a contest by posting a graphic to your own account showcasing and explaining the contest and the relevant hashtag.
Watch your views grow on YouTube. If your business or brand deals with video content, YouTube is the best place to market your services. Just about any company can utilize YouTube to post instructional videos for their products, mission statements for their business, or interviews with their employees. YouTube is also the best place for aspiring musical artists to showcase their talent to a mass audience.
  • Use this space to interact with your audience in whatever way matches your personality/brand. Create a YouTube channel with a clear theme and purpose.
  • For bloggers and DIY crafters, YouTube is a great place to post instructional videos. Make your video titles clear and concise in order to show up often in search results.
  • Respond to other videos. YouTube videos go viral all the time, meaning they are shared and viewed so many times that they become somewhat famous. Making a parody or a response video to one of these viral videos can amass a large amount of views.
Boost your exposure with a personal blog. A personal or company blog is an integral part of any online presence because it allows for a limitless space to create original copy. Use this space to provide your followers/subscribers with updates about your professional career, travels, and/or personal life.
  • Update your blog frequently. You should generally post a new blog a few times per week in order to remain an active presence.
  • Include photos in your posts. Visual stimulation is just as important as the content contained in your blog post. Make sure to include relevant photos of yourself or what you are writing about to break up the text and keep the reader interested.
  • Keep your posts under 1,000 words and target a specific audience. In order to keep the attention of your reader and attract loyal followers, keep your posts relatively short so readers find them accessible. Long essays will most likely be off-putting to readers who are skimming the web for quickly consumable content.
  • Comment on blogs that are related to your marketing purpose in order to attract new contacts. Invite them (or provide a link) to your website.

Pay attention to how you construct your email/newsletter correspondence. Remember that everything you write is a representation of yourself.
  • Use formal grammar and avoid abbreviations and Internet slang when professionally communicating with co-workers and potential employers.
  • Sign your emails and newsletters with a professional signature that includes your contact information. Under your name, include your job title, company name, phone number, work address and email so that people can easily find alternative ways to contact you.
  • Keep subject lines/newsletter headings concise and obvious and don't use fancy fonts. Long, colorful titles and text written in fonts like Papyrus can look like spam to your audience. Keep it simple and get your point across in just a few words.
  • Time your emails wisely. Emails sent during working hours on weekdays have the best chance of being read immediately.

Set up your own website. Market yourself by using your name as your domain ( You may choose to have a static site, or to maintain a blog. Either way, this site should be separate from your business site (if applicable).
  • When you reserve your domain, you may find that your name has already been taken. If this is the case, try variations like "" or ""
  • If you are selling a particular product, your website is the best place for customers to actually purchase your product online. You can use your various social media profiles to promote your home website.

Method 3 of 3: Marketing Yourself for a Job

Polish your resume. Your resume is most likely the first thing an employer will look at when they review your application.
  • Focus on specific results and achievements and leave out menial duties when describing your experience. Use action verbs such as "coordinated" or "managed" to describe the details of each position that you list.
  • Ask friends to proofread your resume before sending it out. A second, third, or even fourth pair of eyes never hurts to help catch simple grammar mistakes that could cost you an interview opportunity.
  • Make sure that your resume is tailored to the specific position that you are applying for. Select past job titles that show that you have the skills necessary to meet the needs of your potential employer. Be sure to include all specific skills, such as "Writing basic HTML" that match those specified on the job description.
  • Select a clear, easy to read font and an organized layout. Don't include any fancy fonts that distract from the actual content of your resume. If you are applying for a visual position such as a design job of some sort, you may want to include a personal logo to demonstrate your abilities.
Discuss your achievements effectively in interviews. Talk about successes in terms of how you helped make other people's jobs easier. You should discuss your achievements in terms of measurable successes like an increase in productivity, but you also need to be able to explain how you helped your co-workers.
  • Prepare for an interview by identifying the problems that your potential employer needs help solving. What sort of issues do the responsibilities outlined in the job description hint at? Identify the type of person they are looking for and think of concrete examples of times that you have solved problems at your workplace in the past.
  • Talk about what you learned from others in your past jobs, not just about what skills you brought to your past positions. Explaining your professional growth humanizes you and shows that you are able to adapt and learn quickly and humbly from others.
  • Practice your responses beforehand. You can almost always guess at least a few of the questions that you will be asked during your interview. Prepare responses to common questions such as "What attracted you to this position?" "Why should I hire you?" and "What would your current employer say about you?"
Learn to network with people in your industry in person. So much networking is currently done over the Internet that it can be easy to forget the importance of face time. Take the time to build relationships with people in person and create a lasting impression.
  • Attend company and/or industry events in your area such as lectures, seminars, festivals, and happy hours in order to socialize with like-minded individuals in-person.
  • Be aware of your nonverbal communication signals. Your outward appearance - including facial expressions, clothing, and posture - say certain things about you, as do your tone of voice and the strength of your handshake. Make sure to appear polished, personable, and approachable when attending networking events.
  • Search classifieds, industry/trade magazines and online sources like to find networking events you can attend and clubs you can join. Additionally, your school, religious organization and/or civic club(s) can provide opportunities for networking.
  • Be your true self in order to connect with others on a genuine level.
  • Always have business cards with your contact information on them to hand out at networking events. Doing so shows potential clients, co-workers, or employers that you are a credible professional.
  • Remember the basic tenets of networking: always provide something of value before asking for something, do what you can to ensure relationships are mutually beneficial, target people who are specifically related to what you are marketing, and be conscientious about staying in contact with people.


  • Search the Internet for free applications that enable you to manage multiple social networking site accounts from a singular interface. This can save you a lot of time when marketing yourself online.
  • Be sure to use the same font, logo, and information on all of your marketing materials so as to impart an impression of organization and uniformity.
  • If you are marketing a business and you don't want to associate your brand with your personal online identity, don't use your personal Facebook page to promote your business.
  • Cross-promote yourself across social media channels. Provide links to your various profiles on your profile pages, embed videos, and diligently post content that links people to your other social media profiles. For example, when you upload a photo to Instagram, you can also upload it to Twitter and Facebook at the same time.


  • Be conscious of etiquette when marketing yourself online. Your comments on others' blogs should contain useful, relevant and well-written information. Posting random comments only as a means of listing your link may be construed as spam, which could taint your Internet reputation.

Monday, January 6, 2014

10 Steps to Getting Started in Social Media Marketing

Like it or not, you need social media to develop and protect your reputation, and to grow your business.

When it comes to using social media marketing to build your business, the worst action is no action, and your biggest problem is being invisible, not being talked about negatively. As long as you're part of the conversation on the social Web, you can hear what's being said about you and massage negative perceptions about your business. But if no one is talking about you, you have no chance for growth. That means you need to get involved on the social Web as soon as possible, not only to capitalize on the opportunities that it presents to your business, but also to develop and protect your reputation.
It's a good idea to start with a plan that has goals and an organizing framework to keep you on track. If you start down a path on the social Web and hate what you're doing, you can change things around. Just as you change networking and conversational approaches in person, you can do so on the social Web. The only differences are that on the social Web, you're talking through your keyboard, and your potential audience is much, much larger.
Here are 10 steps to get you started.
 1. Determine your goals.
What do you want to get out of your social Web participation? Why are you doing it? Are you trying to generate direct sales? Are you trying to offer a form of customer service? Do you want to build relationships with customers and boost loyalty? Your answers to these questions greatly affect the type of content you publish and the activities you participate in on the social Web.

2. Evaluate your resources.
Who is going to create your content? Who is going to maintain your social media accounts? Who is going to respond to questions and be the face of your business online? Do you have the technical ability in-house to join the online conversation? If not, are you willing to learn? Can you or someone who works with you write well? You need to be sure you have the necessary people in place to execute a social media marketing plan before you start.

3. Know your audience.
Where does your target audience spend time online? What kind of content and conversations do the audience members get most vocal about? What kind of information do they want from you? What do they dislike? Remember, you're not just pub¬lishing marketing messages on the social Web. You need to find out what your audience wants and needs, so you can provide the kind of content they find useful and interesting. However, you also need to be personable, so they actually want to interact with you.

4. Create amazing content.
Once you know where your audience spends time and what kind of content audience members want, take the time to give them more of that kind of content. Don't give up. You need to continually offer your audience amazing content, which also comes in the form of conversations, in order to build a loyal fol¬lowing of people who trust you as a source that can meet their needs and expectations.

5. Integrate your marketing efforts.
All of your efforts at social media marketing should feed off each other. Cross-promote your efforts both online and offline, and make sure your social media and traditional marketing efforts work together seamlessly.

6. Create a schedule.
Allocate specific times during your day to devote to social media marketing. For example, spend five minutes on Twitter before you check your e-mail each day and another five minutes before you leave work each day. When you create a schedule, it's easier to stick to it and make sure you don't skip your social media marketing activities each day.

7. Adopt an 80-20 rule.
Always spend at least 80 percent of your time on social media activities that are not self-promotional and no more than 20 percent of your time on self-promotional activities.

8. Focus on quality, not quantity.
It can be easy to get caught up in the numbers, but don't become a slave to followers and subscribers. It's better to have 1,000 highly engaged, loyal followers than 10,000 followers who sign up to follow you but then never acknowledge you again.

9. Give up control.
You must let your audience take control of the online conversation and make it their own so they develop an emotional attachment to you, your brand, and your business. Remember, on the social Web, apathy or invisibility is a bigger problem than negativity.

10. Keep learning.
You can never stop listening and learning. For success in social media marketing, you need to be flexible and accept that change is good.