Branding Yourself: How to use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself
Erik Deckers and Kyle Lacy
Que Biz-Tech, 2010
If you read enough ‘developing an author brand’ blog posts you’ll eventually be referred to the library to find some more in-depth information on personal branding. The day I visited the library the only personal branding book I could find was Branding Yourself: How to use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself by American authors Erik Deckers and Kyle Lacy – so I checked it out and got stuck in.
The book is aimed at job seekers, people wanting to establish themselves as experts in a field, business owners, creatives and professionals wanting to supercharge their careers.
The edition I read was published in 2010 (a second edition was released in 2012), and although some of the specific social media tips no longer apply, the principles that underpin the book still hold true.
The book is divided into three sections – ‘Why do I care about self-promotion’, ‘Your network is your castle’ and ‘Promoting your brand in the real world’. In other words, in the first section you learn how to develop your brand, in the second section you learn how to share your brand via social media and in the last section you learn about relationship management.
Each section is broken into useful tips, such as ‘Be bold – it’s okay to talk about yourself’. This particular tip may be of special interest to New Zealanders, as we’re not known for talking ourselves up. Deckers and Lacy contend that the difference between self-promotion and bragging is your motivation. Sharing information about your interests because you’re passionate about them? Self-promotion. Sharing your successes because you’re pretty sure they’ll make other people jealous? No one’s going to appreciate that.
The stories of four theoretical people are woven through the book to you show how personal branding can benefit anyone, whether you’re trying to enter a new field or hoping to nab that Chief Executive role one day. Along the way there are also plenty of dos and don’ts, for example, ‘don’t post pictures that would shock your mother’ and ‘do invest in other people.’
The authors recommend blogging as key to establishing yourself as an expert in your field. They offer some platform options, but you’ll probably want to hop online yourself and see what other choices are out there in 2015 (personally I use Weebly). Their blogging dos and don’ts? Don’t make your blog one big commercial. Do write from the heart.
The book provides hundreds of handy tips that you can immediately put into action. Branding Yourself: How to use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself is an interesting and useful read that’s still relevant today.
The five tips I took away from each section of the book:
Why do I care about self-promotion?
Your network is your castle – build it
Promoting your brand in the real world
Review also posted on Goodreads.
2023 Burns fellow Kathryn van Beek has an MA from Victoria University Wellington - Te Herenga Waka’s International Institute of Modern Letters. She is a winner of the Mindfood Short Story Competition and the Headland Prize. Her collection of short stories, Pet, is available as a podcast, and her work has also appeared in Overland, takahē, Newsroom, and the Sunday Star-Times. She lives in UNESCO City of Literature Ōtepoti Dunedin with her two rescue cats.