Resolutions aside (though those are important, too), every personal brander should be aware of the direction personal branding is headed in 2012. Some trends are evergreen and some are just emerging, but take note for your personal branding efforts in the new year.
Trend 1: online is expected
Establishing your personal brand online is nothing new — it’s essential to any personal branding effort. But, in 2012 more than in the past, being online and on social networks won’t make you necessarily “stand out” from the crowd. Being social online is now expected — it’s no longer out of the ordinary for people (especially job candidates) to be on social media. This means you need to take your online personal brand to the next level to ensure you really stand out; engage with your audience and try something different to gain attention.
Trend 2: online is changing
Online is not only expected, it’s changing. New types of social media emerge constantly. In some cases, an old social media may be revived; Specific Media’s acquisition of Myspace in 2011 has led to a reinvention of the site, one that may or may not catch on with users.
Google+ is gaining traction, too; with more businesses and individuals creating brand pages, this site could very well be the future of networking and personal branding. Don’t understimate the power of a “+1” on your content!
Sean Parker, creator of Napster and well-known entrepreneur, is set to launch his new product AirTime, a video chatting service that may be a competitor to Skype and Google+ Hangouts. New forms (and revivals of old forms) of social media will likely change the personal branding landscape in 2012.
Trend 3: interactivity is essential
Going along with trend one, personal branders need to go above and beyond simply having a social network. Go beyond what your audience expects, and really create an interactive brand. Don’t just “follow” on Twitter or “friend” on Facebook or “connect” on LinkedIn, but interact with your network and, most of all, invite interaction. Ask questions to your audience and encourage them to converse with you. Establish a dialogue with your followers.
Besides just tweeting or Facebooking, go beyond words and make your personal brand interactive using videos and pictures. Give your audience a round, multi-dimensional view of you as a person to encourage interaction.
Trend 4: create value for your public
Your personal brand isn’t worth much if your public, whoever it may be, doesn’t find any value in what you offer. Create this value for your audience by creating content — blogs, e-books, videos, etc. Content is king, as they say, and in 2012 it will be more important than ever to establish your brand by creating unique content that not only entertains and informs but provides value for your public.
With the rise of smartphones and tablets, your audience can access your content on-the-go with simply a touch — the key is to make them want to, by producing something valuable.
Trend 5: your brand doesn’t sleep
Busy people need sleep, but busy brands don’t! Building and promoting your personal brand is becoming more continuous than ever — again, thanks to the rise of smartphones, tablets, and the up-and-coming 4G world.
Business doesn’t stop because you do, so keep this in mind while building your brand in 2012. Use tools such as TweetDeck and HootSuite to manage your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress, Foursquare, and other social media profiles. You can schedule tweets, status updates, blog content, and more to be posted even while you’re not online.
Another tool, SocialOomph, allows users to schedule blogs for WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, and more to be posted at a future time. While these tools aren’t new, the need for them is ever-increasing in the rapidly moving business world. Stay on top of news, on top of trends, and on top of you brand to keep yourself current in the ever-changing media landscape of the future.
What are your predictions for where personal branding is heading in 2012? Share them below!
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011), #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.