How to Create Your Personal Online Brand

If you have a blog, a Facebook profile, a Twitter account or online presence of any kind, you are a brand, whether you like it or not. No matter what your field of choice, you need to leverage the internet to build your personal brand if you want to get noticed in this fast paced world of up to the minute updates and blogs. If you don’t have the first clue about how to build it so they will come, use these five tips to help guide you on your way.

What do you want your brand to say?


You are unique, just like everyone else. Most people gain understanding of who and what their fellow human beings are all about by categorising them using different labels. For example, if your online persona is fun and upbeat, you are labelled as, “the funny one,” if your updates and blogs are motivational in nature, you become “the positive one.” You have to think about what you want your personal brand to say about you, and then go with it.

Be you, all the time.

Consistency is key to building your brand, no matter who you are. That isn’t to say that just because you are labelled as the “funny one” you cannot post updates that are serious or well thought out in nature, but you need to be aware of your audience and why they keep coming back, especially if you are working social media angles. Above all, be yourself. If you are fake, you will be found out eventually.

Endure.

Building a brand is like building Rome, and Rome was not built in a day. Building a brand takes time. How much time, however, is in your hands. You are in control of your exposure. It could take weeks, months or years; it all depends on you.

Network, meet new people online and don’t be afraid to interact with them and ask questions. Remember, you are new at this and you don’t know everything. The more you put in to your brand, the more you get out of it.

Your first few posts or blogs probably won’t get much attention. It isn’t until your audience feels as if they know you that you become familiar, and eventually graduate into becoming a household name. Don’t give up. Be patient.

Photos can hurt (Obama smoking pot) or help.

Pictures are worth a thousand words and they say a lot about who and what your brand is all about. Be mindful of the photos you share or are tagged in online, because they are all absorbed as part of your brand.

Choose your words carefully.

Less is more. When blogging or even when updating a Twitter status, keep it short, sweet and to the point. The more superfluous and wordy your updates and blogs, the less likely you will be to hold the attention of a busy, bustling audience. Say as much as possible using as few words as conceivable. Summarise, don’t eulogise.

Be smart, be savvy, be consistent and you will find your brand is not only successful, but built as a labor of love as you blog from the heart.

Top 7 iPod, iPhone and iPad Applications for Students

Advances in digital technology have made education more interesting and fun.

What used to fill up high school lockers and bags are now conveniently stored in mobile devices such as the iPad and iPhone. These devices provide access to thousands of learning materials both online and offline.

This medium of learning is also perfectly suited for the lifestyle and aptitude of today’s youth and here are some of the most useful applications available from the Apple App Store:

1. iBooks

iBooks is a great way of making books available on your mobile device. It has an entire library of books to select from and can even be used to access PDF files. You can use the iPad to conveniently view textbooks, eliminating the need for heavy books and large backpacks. This free application also allows the user to highlight passages and add personal notes.

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/ibooks/id364709193

2. iTunes U

This application provides access to courses from leading universities and schools right on your mobile device. You can easily take free lessons created by top instructors and professors. Course materials such as books, documents, videos and presentations are also available through this free application. Improve your knowledge with more than 500,000 learning materials from different institutions around the world.

http://www.apple.com/uk/apps/itunes-u/

3. Convert Any Unit Free

This application can convert dozens of unit types and is a useful tool for Math and Science subjects. Converting units has never been easier. By simply typing in a value at the “From” field, the “To” field is automatically limited to the desired unit category. This app also has a built-in calculator and is free to download.

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/convert-units-for-free-1-unit/id337224035

4. iStudiez Pro

This app helps students to manage and plan their schedule. It has a built-in planner that allows the user to input information such as class details, instructors, and personal information. An entire section is also devoted to homework and assignments, and organises the information by date, priority or subject. The “Today” view also summarises important details, making it easier for the user to manage his time. Push notifications and reminders can also be set up and iStudiez Pro only costs £0.69.

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/istudiez-pro/id310636441

5. Dictionary.com

This mobile dictionary is a great application that includes a thesaurus, word etymology, and an audio tool for proper pronunciation. It is very easy to use and is even available offline. This free application is essential for students who wish to improve their vocabulary and learn new words.

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/dictionary.com-dictionary/id308750436

6. The Chemical Touch

The periodic table can be a complicated and scary chart, but it can be easily accessible in your iPhone through this app. It provides a touch sensitive chart with a wealth of information and links to Wikipedia. You can know more about your favorite element with just a few taps.

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/the-chemical-touch/id288060442

7. Simplenote

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/simplenote/id289429962

You can use the boring, yellow note taking application built-in with your iPhone, or you can download a free application that allows you to effectively synchronise information with your other devices. Simplenote connects with a web interface and allows the user to access your notes from a laptop or another mobile device. This app also allows the use of tags, pins, and sharing.

Most of these applications are free or are available at a very reasonable price form the Apple App Store. They are very easy to use and require no expertise. They are also effective tools in encouraging students to study and learn.

Increase Twitter Exposure: Gain More Twitter Followers

Twitter is one of the best ways of promoting your business or profession. It is widely used by millions of people across the globe, and it is a great way of making people know about the products and services that you offer.

Your success on Twitter depends on the number of followers that you have. Each Tweet or status message can reach hundreds or even thousands of potential customers.

It is therefore essential to work on gaining as many targeted Twitter followers as possible. Here are some tips on how to successfully build a larger number of followers in Twitter:

Content

The most basic rule in using social media tools is to have great content. Even the shortest posts need to be informative and should appeal to your target audience. Give them a reason to want to keep reading. Make it a practice to provide useful information that they can apply to their lives.

Make Your Presence Felt

Tweet on a regular basis to make you visible to your followers, but never overdo it. It is irritating to find multiple tweets from the same person. Some people want their timelines clean, and flooding them with random posts will surely prompt them to “unfollow” you.

Personal Tweets

Unless you are a popular actor or a famous person, avoid posting Tweets about yourself or about insignificant things. Nobody wants to know that you are waiting in line at the local fast food joint. Nobody cares if you are about to sleep or about to bring your dog to the park. Followers want to read posts that will appeal to them. They should be the primary audience of your posts.

Interaction

Build great relationships with your followers by responding to their tweets, re-tweeting their posts, or sending direct messages. This encourages them to reciprocate and to respond in turn. Having a good connection with your existing followers is an effective way of making your presence known to their followers.

Profile

Take the time to write a comprehensive profile that gives an idea as to who you are and what you are interested in. The profile page is one of the first things that people look at before they decide to follow a user. Make yourself sound interesting, and upload a photo that best represents you or your business.

Follow Back

Like you, other people will try to build their audience. Some users promise to follow back people who follow them in Twitter. Use the “Search” functionality of Twitter and locate people in your niche market. Follow them and wait for them to follow back. Do note, however, that Twitter has strict guidelines and limitations on the number of users that you can follow.

Promote

Promote your Twitter profile by adding your link or username to your existing websites, social networking sites, email signatures, and calling cards. The idea is to have as many people know about your account as possible.

Peak Time

If your target market is limited to a particular geographic location or time zone, then it would be wise to be active during peak times. Posting status messages during lunch breaks and after dinner would increase the likelihood of your posts reaching a bigger audience. It will be pointless to post your Tweets at two in the morning when almost everyone is fast asleep.

Offers

Attract attention by providing discounts or special offers that are exclusive for your Twitter followers. This will make your account more interesting to them.
It takes a lot of hard work and effort to build up a big list of followers.

On a final note the key is to be committed to the task, you need to make sure that you update your page on a regular basis and you need to keep your followers interested. But once your mechanism is up and running, it will be much easier to reach out to potential customers.

Improved Search Engine Rankings Using Social Media

One of the best ways to improve website traffic is by gaining a good search engine ranking position from search engines such as Google and Bing. Online users who type in specific search phrases or keywords are provided a long list of related sites; however the vast majority only go as far as reading the first page. Unfortunately this can be the case, no matter how excellent your content may be and it can remain in obscurity, unless the website improves its search engine ranking method, with the aim of propeling it to the first page of the search results.

The “game” of optimisation used to be simpler; today webmasters can resort to a number of unethical means (such spamming) in an effort to gain top rankings. This can result in useful content often being difficult to find, as online viewers are required to click through a long list of irrelevant websites before finding the information they need. However recent updates made by the top search engines, have focused on providing “natural search results.” Google, for instance, recently released the Penguin update which aimed to reduce low-quality back-links, over optimisation, and illicit SEO strategies.

More than ever, it has become essential for writers and bloggers to provide online content that is both compelling and informative. It is also important to focus on building a strong network of natural back-links that serve as portals to the website. The more links there are out there, the higher the chances of a stray reader stumbling upon your page.

Here are some social media techniques that you can use to drive audience to your site:

1. Social Media as a Tool for Encouraging Back-links

Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are great tools for building strong links to your webpage. Google and Bing have both made confirmations that links used on these social media sites are used in their algorithm. Fortunately, both sites have made it easy for webmasters and writers to integrate their blog links into post creation. For instance, once new entry is posted, it is possible to have Facebook and Twitter post updates and inform followers. Google+ is another great way of reaching a wide audience base, the more “+1” votes recieved on a blog post, the more visibility it gets.

Optimal times for posting upon social media platforms exist for certain demographics; however another method is to post multiple times, although not excessively. Scheduling tools are also widely available online, which enable authors to have certain links posted repeatedly over a pre-determined period of time. This way, you can reach potential readers who have varying schedules of activity or may be in different time zones. Scheduling also spares webmasters from the monotony of having to manually create updates featuring the same links.

2. Social Media as a Source of Content Ideas

The concept of search engines is that users are looking for information, based on certain keywords and phrases. If your goal is to get many readers, then you will likely attract more people by writing about content that interests them personally. The more interested people are about your article, the higher the likelihood of them sharing your link with other users. Thus, it is beneficial, to entice readers to share through social media network,s while providing them with the content they crave.

Social media sites are also excellent places for finding ideas on article topics of current interest. They have become tools that provide information based on what the majority of users are interested in, at any given time. Twitter for instance, has an easy to use search bar and “Trending Topics List” that will give you an insight into what people are currently talking about and showing interest in. Use these methods to find topics that fit your blog portfolio and provide interesting information or insight that will attract attention and let potential readers find it by making it available online.

3. Encourage Social Media Following and Re-Posting

Social media is the best tool to encourage direct access to your website via links. While being very easy to use, readily available, widely accessible and in terms of the future, being relatively safe from any algorithmic changes that search engines may make, for instance calculating page rank. In other words, it would be wise for a blogger not to simply rely on search engines for page visits, but to maximise the usage of social media to attract a strong following.

Most social media networks provide sharing buttons that can be clearly displayed on a website. These can easily be attached to your blog, using codes that are obtained by visiting the social media platform support page. Having these buttons displayed visibly on your page will encourage readers to share articles or entries that catch their interest.

As a last resort, another approach is to directly ask for help from your followers. Adding simple phrases like “please re-tweet” or “please re-post” is enough to encourage other users to share your post. This is particularly true for well-written and informative content. However it is important not to seem desperate, as this may impact upon your followers.

In summary, social media tools can be used to drive attention and traffic to your site. However, the content of your site remains the biggest factor in attracting readers. Content, after all, is king. No matter how extensive your social presence is, poor content will not get a good mileage. The best way to maximise your tools is to become an industry expert or authority figure in the topics that you are writing about. Gaining credibility in your craft will result in more social media following and repeat visitors to your site.