Do you have a personal brand? It’s a question that Cece Salomon-Lee started pondering about two-and-a-half years ago after reading an article in Fast Company magazine titled, “The Brand Called You.”
“The idea [behind that article] was that in our day-to-day lives we market our companies, but we forget that those same strategies we are using at our jobs need to be applied to ourselves. We need to be branding ourselves in the workplace as well as in the industry,” says Salomon-Lee, director of marketing InXpo, a Chicago-based provider of virtual events.
Salomon-Lee, who was hired at InXpo in March, began usingto develop her own personal brand and establish a credible voice in the marketing field a few years ago. “I have a Twitter account with about 400 followers, a LinkedIn account, and a blog, and I respond to these to position myself as a thought leader in this industry,” she says. “And in turn, that reflects positively on my company.”
When she left a former employer earlier this year and was in the market for a new position, Salomon-Lee says opportunities very quickly started coming her way—despite a very tough job market. “I had established all this [clout] from a personal branding level and I started using it to my [professional] advantage,” she says. She began writing a blog about her search for a new position and sent out tweets referencing her blog entries and letting people in her network know that she was looking for work. She also connected with colleagues on LinkedIn.
It wasn’t long before someone she had connected with via Twitter asked her for her resume. The person was a former work colleague who had recently landed a job at InXpo. Within two weeks, Salomon-Lee had interviewed at InXpo and had a verbal job offer. Four weeks later she started at the company in her current position. “InXpo had seen the work I was doing [through social media] and that acted like a live resume.”
Salomon-Lee now also oversees the social media efforts for her company, which include a Twitter account and a corporate blog. She has also started setting up communities in Facebook and LinkedIn for the company. These efforts should not be self-serving, she says. “It’s not about promoting InXpo. It’s about contributing to the conversation going on within this industry.”