Well, hell, why not? You’ve made resolutions for everything else so far, why not make resolutions for personal branding next year? Here are five resolutions I wish other marketers, networkers, and social media people would follow. And if you want people to like and respect your personal brand, you’ll at least consider this list of social media do’s and don’ts to keep in 2012. Breaking these makes puppies cry.
1) Do not sign me up for your newsletter unasked.
If I give you my card, I want you to have my contact information. I do not want you to sign me up for your newsletter. By giving you my card, I’m giving you permission to contact me in the future, not send me a constant stream of communication that you failed to tell me about during our brief conversation. Do ask me beforehand whether you can subscribe me. I’ll say yes just because you asked.
2) Do not auto DM me once I follow you on Twitter.
Yes, I know we’re not connected on Facebook. No, I do not want your special report. I’m also interested in reading your tweets in the future, but your own promise of interest sounds hollow, since I’m your 27,378th follower. Do send me a personal DM if you see we have something in common. And do remember, auto DMs are the debbil!
3) Do connect with me if we can really provide value to each other.
I want to connect with people who can provide me some sort of value in some way, or at least want to do so. That means if you’re starting a diaper delivery service for a city that’s 2,000 miles away from me, chances are we don’t need to connect, because I’m not a new parent, and I don’t live on the West Coast. But if we’re in similar industries or live in the same community, or you just think I’d enjoy hearing from you, then absolutely, I’d love it if you’d follow me. Don’t follow-and-drop me just so you can boost your follower count. I’ll spam block the bejeezus out of you.
4) Do share, retweet, and provide valuable information.
While I am all about finding the funny and sharing it, don’t make that all you do. Share the big ideas, the interesting articles, and the important things I need to know, plus stuff you think will make me laugh. Retweet the stuff other people tweet out, share it on Facebook and LinkedIn, and help me learn more in 2012. Don’t be the “I had a bagel for breakfast” person or tell me every little minute detail in your life. People who teach me add value to my life. People who make me laugh add value to my life. People who make me think, “is that the third or fourth time she walked her dog? I lost count” do not add value to my life.
5) Do shut off your computer once in a while.
Those are real people you’re connecting with on social media. Meet them face to face whenever possible. Go to networking events, or if no one is holding any, create your own. Have one-on-one meetings at a local coffee shop, and get to know the people you’re actually connecting with. As you get to know people in real life, they’re more willing to help you when you need it. Don’t spend every waking minute behind your computer and substitute electronic friends for real ones. Shut your laptop, put away your phone, and get off your ass once in a while — once a week is the bare minimum. I want to put a face with a name, and meeting me in person is a great way to do that.
So what are your personal principles of networking and personal branding? Have you set any standards for yourself? Let me know — leave a comment or drop me a tweet (@edeckers).
Erik Deckers is the owner of Professional Blog Service, and the co-author of Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself. His new book, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing, which he wrote with Jason Falls, is in bookstores and on Amazon now.