In personal branding, the best defense is a good offense. Good personal branding is all about presenting yourself as both personable and professional, then making that presentation the first and only thing people see.
To do that, you need to be actively reactive. If that makes sense.
In other words, you need to actively seek out and interact with people talking about you. Or, failing that, with people talking about your niche.
But, the Internet is infinitely large... How do you keep track of where the important people are talking? How do you stay on top of your brand? How do you make it grow as big as possible with the 24 hours you have each day?
In this article you'll find seven tools and services to help you automate the growth of your personal (or business) brand. You don't have to use every single tool, but do look into the ones that interest you.
1. Brand Monitoring Tool: Social Mention
Social Mention is one of the most powerful brand monitoring services available. In addition to aggregating user-generated content that mentions your brand, it also tracks things like brand strength and brand reach. It's sort of like Google Alerts (discussed below) on steroids.
Using Social Mention is easy. It will directly link you to any Tweet, comment, post, or update that mentions your brand or your content, making it incredibly easy to interact with real people interested in you. When used correctly, this monitoring tool can help you present yourself as natural, responsive, and personable.
2. News and Blog Monitoring Tool: Google Alerts
Google Alerts has been around for 5+ years, but its usefulness remains steady. It's still the premier niche-monitoring tool. While Social Mention really shines with social media, Google Alerts is tailored for blogs and news outlets.
All you do is plug in a topic you want to keep tabs on, and Google Alerts will act like an idea generation machine. You'll get updates delivered to your inbox, automatically keeping you up to date and in the know on anything related to your brand or niche.
With Google Alerts you can ensure you're the first person to comment on or retweet important content; your brand will seem ever-present. You can even put an Alert on your own name or website to see when you're mentioned.
Whether you're a blogger, marketer or a job-seeker, Google Alerts is one of the most powerful free tools that you'd better be using.
3. Social Network Monitoring Tool: FriendFeed
FriendFeed is yet another aggregation service. The difference is that it builds a social network around the content it aggregates. FriendFeed has comments, tags, and likes built in just like Facebook or Twitter. FriendFeed is most useful as a networking tool and a competition monitoring tool because it allows you to comprehensively follow important people.
Plus, there is legitimate worth to building a presence on FriendFeed. The people who follow you on this platform want to see everything you do, and those are the kind of fans you want around.
4. Brand Expansion and Optimization Tool: BrandYourself
Though it's not free, BrandYourself is a great service for anyone new to the realm of SEO and digital marketing. Intended as an easy way to control how you appear in search engines, BrandYourself will help you optimize your website and social network profiles for maximum search rankings.
This tool is very easy to use: Simply ID which links you want to rank and they tell you how to make it happen. It also monitors where your pages appear whenever someone types your name or a related keyword into Google.
You'll also be able to build a BrandYourself hub pointing to all your profiles that's carefully tailored to rank. That hub makes it easy for interested customers, clients or employers to find and interact with you. All around a very helpful, powerful, and intuitive service.
5. Twitter Management Tool: TweetDeck
You probably didn't know this, but one of the biggest reasons Twitter is so successful is its API. Twitter was developed with data-use in mind., making it the easiest social network to monitor by far.
In fact, Twitter actually has its own brand management tool. It's called TweetDeck, and it's described as "an app that brings more flexibility and insight to power users."
Managing your Twitter presence is much, much easier with TweetDeck . Schedule Tweets, monitor what people are saying about you, and keep tabs on the most important conversations in your niche all from one dashboard. Easy.
If nothing else, Twitter's built in search is useful even by itself. If you've never done so, spend some time searching around the Tweetosphere. You'll quickly see just how easy it is to find what people are saying about any given topic.
6. Social Network Management Tool: HootSuite
HootSuite is sort of like TweetDeck except that it manages multiple social networks. Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and, yes, Twitter too. Just like TweetDeck, HootSuite allows you to monitor your brand, start conversations, schedule posts, and analyze data.
Though HootSuite does offer a paid monthly plan, it also has a limited free service that's definitely worth checking out.
7. Personal Brand Homepage Tool: About.me
About.me allows you to create a personal homepage with a very user-friendly URL (about.me/your-name). Even though it won't help you actively monitor or promote your brand, it ought to be part of any personal branding toolkit. It's also an excellent alternative to BrandYourself.
You'll create a small bio, link to your social profiles and blog, add a resume, and upload a nice-looking profile pic. You end up with a concise, SEO-friendly hub of all your brand's profiles, which will make it easy and convenient for anyone to interact with you on their preferred platform.
Again, you certainly don't have to use every single one of these personal branding tools. Each serves a different purpose, and you might not need every single one. However, if you'd like your brand to grow bigger, better, faster, then you owe it to yourself to put a few of these tools to use. Just get out there and try a couple; I promise you'll become a believer.
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