Thursday, August 27, 2009

Don't lie online.

Posted by Laurinda Shaver

How genuine are you online? Have you ever changed facts slightly to meet your needs or embellished slightly? Its easy really. I mean, who would ever notice?

If I was placing bets, I would say someone would. Your personal brand online is an extension of you. And if you are attempting to build credibility and create and strengthen relationships, then I say honesty is the name of the game.

Microsoft learned that lesson this week. They "altered a photo on its website to change the race of one of the people shown in the picture." How does that make you feel towards microsoft?

And more importantly, if you lie, how would others feel about you?

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

NY Times has caught the video bug.

Posted by Laurinda Shaver

I'm always on the look out for news about video on in the online space. The real challenge with video is that you need a great amount of bandwidth in order to receive and play video without any buffering and waiting times. But, as the technology improves, so does the ability to distribute and view video online.

The New York times has caught onto the proliferation of video. Yesterday they published "Your Career: Video Resumes Getting More Popular". Why? Because its an extra tool in your job searching kit that will allow you to stand out.

The key thing here, that they point out, is "Production quality is also important. A well-produced video can send the message that the applicant is both professional and on top of new technology, while something that looks like a home video can send the opposite message."

The consistent messaging here is that no matter what tool you use in your personal branding, if you want to stand out and be taken seriously, you and your tools, need to be professional.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

A personal brand. You don't need to be famous to have one.

A personal brand is often thought of as something reserved for people with a name that is recognizable. Not so. Personal brands transcend companies or entities. The tough part is defining what your personal brand is. Your personal brand is a culmination of your personal views on what you are passionate about, what you do well and what you want to communicate + how others describe you.

So, you could be a lawyer by day but have a blog and community of thousands following you on your nightime musings on Interior Design and The Punka Fan: Inspiring Southern Dining Rooms before the ceiling fan. How do you define yourself? By your daytime vocation or your true passion? Is our success and career defined by our education, credentials and skills or our everything else that we love to do outside of 9-5? Or, your fan base?

I have long struggled with the concept of wearing many hats, operating many entities and not knowing how to bring them all together. Executive Producer of an award winning web t.v. show about women and aging, creator of, President of and an all round spokesperson for all things 'women in business', helping women to find their voice and power.

You probably don't know my name. And, my passions are many and varied. Do I have a personal brand?

What I've known for a long time now is that careers and businesses no longer fit into a box with an easy, one sentence description, or even website. Brands and ideas transcend business entities and are moving towards virtual properties.

Brands follow passion. Throw out the business school definition of brand building that we all learned. In today's digital world, brands are organic and ultimately defined by what we stand for. Our brands are defined by the people who we choose to marry and the bright people we surround ourselves with each and every day. So, let's ask them. Don't resist it. Sit with it and figure out what your personal brand looks like for you.

For a great place to start visit one of the world's top personal brand destinations to find a personal brand strategist near you.
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Monday, August 10, 2009

Its all about YOU!

Don't you love those e-mails from companies who are trying to sell you something and have NO IDEA who you are. Chris Brogan recently blogged about his love of Macs (even showed a pic of his latest love). But, an e-mail from Apple greatly disappointed him. It told him about "the joys of owning a Mac, the same joys that I’ve experienced for eight or nine years and counting.." Apple wanted to sell a Mac to Chris who already had one. The e-mail was impersonal, badly targeted and frustrating. Chris' message to Apple: "I want you to really care about me. I want you to remember me. That second one matters a lot. I want you to remember me, such that when I contact you at your touchpoints, you know how much I’ve done with you."

This got me thinking about our personal online networks. How well do you keep track of the people you meet? Prior to social media, we all used our address books. Taking notes about who we met at what conference and what they were about. With the introduction of social media, this is all trackable online. Meet someone? Just connect to their LinkedIn account, get their twitter addy and maybe even friend them on facebook.

But will these tools, its easy to just add them and forget. Its important to think about how you are going to use the tools to actually nurture your relationships. Are you actively communicating with your online community or are you simply collecting connections.

Failing which, you might fall into Apple's trap of having a connection, but not taking full advantage of it.

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Friday, August 07, 2009

Posted by: Laurinda Shaver

With the social media meltdown yesterday, I was lost.

It started with my Tweetie account being completely empty. No text. I asked around the videoBIO office if anyone was having Twitter issues. Check.
Then I went to Facebook. And (being a mac gal) I watched the loading circle button go around and around. "Facebook down too?" Check.

I was ok. I could deal with not being plugged into the world for a little bit. My need for personal expression could be tempered with other work at hand.
By mid day, I think I had the withdrawal shakes. What was happening to me?

I was missing that strong human need: feeling connected. We sometimes focus so much on the social networks themselves, we forget what the point is. Their purpose is to help build and maintain relationships with like-minded people. Belong to a tribe, a community. The big deal is not the social communities themselves, but the service that they provide. Like Josh Mernoff and Charlene Li said in their book "Groundswell", concentrate on the relationships, not the technology.

Are you using the technology to serve your need to build relationships? Do you have specific networking goals and are you working towards them? Or are you just playing with the technology (when its working)?

For example, sign up for LinkedIn and actively use the platform to increase your connections. It says alot when someone searches for you and your connections are 0 - 5. You would be better off not signing up at all if you are not committed to using the tool. You will be not be taken seriously.

Instead of you going to the info, have relevant and timely information come to you. Sign up for the Market Yourself Smarter's e-newsletter for online marketing tips. There is nothing to maintain and you are using a great tool to increase your knowledge.

Anyway, the outage is still ongoing so I picked up the phone. "Did you know twitter is down?... oh.. its back up?? Gotta go! Talk soon. Bye."

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Congrats on your new job! Now what?

Posted by Laurinda Shaver

Hypothetically lets say you’ve got a new job and you want to tell the world and update your online profile status. Where do you start? For the sake of argument, lets take me for example in my new role as Director of New Media and Production at an amazing company called videoBIO. How do you maximize this opportunity to raise your profile in the industry? Naturally I would start with LinkedIn as my professional online status lives there. But what are the other professional tools online that you can lever to build a consistent, professional image online?

1) Take a look at all the communities and networks you are registered with. How do you describe yourself? Are you professional, targeted and focused in one and personal, irreverent, and off-tone in another? What is the take away you want people to have on you? What do you want them to think about when they think of you? Remember, people usually only retain one or two things so you better make sure this first impression is the right one.

2) The most effective way to build that brand image is to be consistent. Use the same picture and an identical bio. That way, anyone reading it would get a clear idea of who you are no matter where they see you online.

3) Don’t hold back! If you don’t promote yourself and tell people what you are up to, who will? Use your communities’ status updates, walls, and other announcement tools to let people know about your change. If you don’t tell your community, how are they going to know? This will spark conversation, as people will respond in kind.

4) Use your twitter account to connect with people in your industry. Twitter can be frustrating at first (yes, I did swear at it more than once) but once you get the hang of it, it’s a real resource for timely information. Graeme Newell has a great post about How to Make Your Twitter Feed Worth a Damn.

5) Very importantly, get a videoBIO. I did. The feedback has been amazing. I am getting queries from people I have not heard from in a long time to professional associates who are very curious on how they can use this remarkable tool. It’s a great way to stand out in the cluttered online space and most importantly, get your unique perspective across in a dynamic, personal way.

What did I miss? How would you use this opportunity to raise your online profile?

As a side note, I’m thrilled to join the VideoBIO team. There is nothing like working on a remarkable product and working with you to create them! I thrive on your input. Contact me at and on twitter @VideoBIO. Let’s talk.

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Saturday, August 01, 2009

Canada's high tech strategy...anyone? Up for grabs.

In today's Globe and Mail, an article on Canada's high tech strategy. Who's advising? Who's contributing? Why is Stephen Harper absent? And, where's the trickle down effect of funding for high tech firms who are in the trenches, investing in Canada's innovation equity today... and contributing to employment.

Try as we might to keep all equity in Canada, high tech firms are forced to go south of the border to access capital for great ideas, innovation and seed capital for start ups. Why? In my mind there are two key contributing factors that keep Canada stagnant in its efforts to jumpstart its international profile back to where Canada used to stand on the Canadian stage as a leader and high tech innovator.

First, the funding model is geared towards rewarding companies who are cash flow positive. Yet it is the ones in the red who are in dire need of the capital to get their companies to the place where they can viably compete and have the chance to succeed. It is at this very first stage that small businesses need the capital but, banks don't have the risk tolerance and there is no small capital structure for venture capital co's who won't get out of bed for less than $10 million and 80% of your company. But what if you only need $1 M? Or less? While there have been recent efforts by some VC's to change this model like Marc Anderseen's recently launched VC fund and introduce funding as little as $50 K to get co's off the ground, they are still more talk then currently actionable funding options and few and far between.

Second, Canada's overall apathy and lack of opportunism and competitive spirit when it comes to embracing new ideas and leadership. Conservative, risk averse protectionism is what stifles Canada's ability to grow and claim these success stories as their own.

For someone who spends a lot of time south of the border and in other countries, it is a clear, disappointing truth that while many great things come from Canada, it is no thanks to our political or financial systems for supporting this success.

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