The last step in the personal branding process is entitled “maintain.” Personal brands must grow as you grow, keeping authenticity and accuracy consistent. Sites such as TechCrunch and Techmeme promote a variety of social networks daily. The sheer number of social networks is now overwhelming and forces all of us to concentrate on reputation management. The more social networks you join, the more you must perform routine maintenance on each profile. When I say profile, I mean your work experience, hobbies and adding new friends to your network. Another issue I see is that if you have friends on multiple social networks, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Myspace and Twitter, you are forced to add the same friends to each one. This increases your email and begins to be a tedious and continuous task you must preform.
The Question: With all the social networks that are created each day, how do we react? As humans, we only have a certain amount of time we can dedicate to social networks, especially because many of us have full-time jobs, blogs and other extracurricular activities.
The answer: Join the most innovative networks with the largest installed base. There are more than 34 million Facebook users, 200 million Myspace users and 10 million Linkedin users. All other social networks have a fraction of this amount and few of those provide strong differentiation. We join networks to solve certain problems and we hear about them through word-of-mouth marketing. In general, if you can’t pinpoint a reason to join one of these networks, then you are wasting your time. It is a better and more productive use of your time to stick to the “usual suspects.”