Danielle Douglas

A native of Colorado, Mrs. Yolanda M. Johnson-Bryant, currently resides in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina, with her husband. Mrs. Bryant is a published author, freelance writer, novelist, editor, ghostwriter and a literary and entrepreneurial advocate. She is the founder and owner of Literary Wonders! and Bryant Consulting. She is acting editor for AMAG For the Conscious Professional magazine, and part-time columnist for RAW Sistaz Literary Services and other literary venues. Mrs. Johnson-Bryant is a member of The Nussbaum Entrepreneurial Center for Women, Women of Leadership and Learning (WELL Women), Toastmasters and conducts workshops and classes on writing and entrepreneurship. She is also a member of several reading and writing groups.

Bryant Consulting

Putting Your Best Self Forward and Utilizing Social Media

According to Oxford English Dictionary, publicity is “the professional exploitation of a product, person, etc., by advertising or popularizing; material or information used for this; public exposure.”

Let’s think about this. Isn’t exploitation a bad word? Not in this case. When it comes to publicity—positive publicity—exploit me all you want!

Branding ourselves in today’s economy can be somewhat challenging, but it is doable. We must utilize the tools that are readily available, network, and put our best selves forward. But be forewarned, putting yourself out there is not an easy task. You have to work hard or fork out lots of cash to a specialist in this field, in which case you will still have to work hard. Even after the events and appearances have been scheduled, you still have to show up and show out! You are your own best marketer. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself!

A friend of mine, Sue Falcone, has branded herself “Simply Sue.” Whenever you see her or hear about her, you will know that she is “Simply Sue.” In addition to her name brand, she has created a cartoon personality of herself, who happens to love the colors blue and green. On Sue’s business cards, Website, and car magnet, Sue displays her Simply Sue caricature. If you meet Sue in person, you would recognize her because she looks just like her cartooned self. How cool is that? Sue “Simply Sue” Falcone is a speaker and writer, the author of The Lighthouse of Hope. You can find her on most major social media sites.

Be sure to display your brand wherever you go, even if it is just to the grocery store. Consumers tend to cling to branding. Nike, Disney, Dell, or Coach: Most people are familiar with these brands, relate to them, and feel comfortable buying them. The same principle can work for you. If a consumer is familiar with your brand, they become comfortable with it (you), and you are among their top choices.

When it comes to publicity and marketing yourself, some things are a no-brainer. Technology has provided us with some amazing marketing tools: Internet, e-mail, social media, and print media.

Since I am an expert in this field, let’s start with social media. Who doesn’t have a Facebook or Twitter account? If you answer that you don’t, I ask you then why not? It is one of the fastest ways sell yourself, and best of all, these tools are f-r-e-e! Free is always good right? Not always, but in this case free is definitely good.

Utilizing social media tools, such as Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and LinkedIn, can get your brand to more people and at a faster rate than more traditional publicity. These are efficient word-of-mouth tools, and these avenues allow you to do many things, from launching frequent campaigns to online promotions, to put your message in front of hundreds and thousands of people.

I’m reminded of a shampoo commercial, Faberge, I believe. “You’ll tell two friends, and they’ll tell two friends, and so on and so on and so on.” This is exactly how social media works. Not only are you putting yourself in front of two friends, but if they are interested in what you offer, they’ll tell two friends and so on and so on. Unlike “pounding the pavement,” social media allows you to be in front of hundreds and thousands of people or organizations at once. Social media allows you to do amazing things, such as conduct audio and video chats with your audience.

Gone are the days when you have to be present in a classroom or travel to a public facility to conduct, a class, workshop, seminar, or conference. Now you can present Webinars from the comfort of your office or home. No longer must you send resume after resume to show your interest in a desired job position. LinkedIn is the perfect venue to post your resume for many to see. An increasing number of employers are looking to social media to find candidates to fill positions for their companies.

But in the same way social media can boost your publicity and marketing, it can kill your career and your brand. Always aim to present the best that you possibly can. Sometimes in social media it is hard to separate personal from professional, because these venues have a very fine line dividing the two. Remember A.B.I.P.M. (Always Be in Professional Mode). Making sure that the public always sees your professional side will help to keep your brand intact and ensure that your target audience will take you seriously. Using social media also means you are now in the media/public spotlight and are open to scrutiny. When posting, don’t say anything you wouldn’t say in a professional setting. Trust me, it will come back to haunt you.

Because social media is instant, it is important to make sure you are prepared. If you put yourself out there, be prepared to answer any questions a potential client or customer may have. In times past, you would have time to prepare or research your answer. Though you still have that opportunity, you need to do it much faster. In everything you do, make sure you research before you make a claim. Know the answer to questions before they are asked.

And make yourself available. It is expected of you. Nothing can kill a business deal faster than unavailability. This doesn’t mean you have to be at everyone’s beck and call. Keep a schedule, and state the hours and times you are available for anything pertaining to your brand. Also, set boundaries and limits. Most of all, have fun. If you don’t like what you do, others will see that—why should I utilize your brand if even you are not satisfied with it? When in doubt, smile and nod!