Answers to some of the latest questions people are asking on Twitter about personal branding.

Best Twitter personal branding tip

Megan Miles AlbaMegan Miles Alba, @MeganAlba, twittered: wondering how to use Twitter to promote my personal “brand.” what’s your #1 suggestion?
Jacob ShareTry to help people with your expertise as much as possible. Not just your followers either, reach out to other people asking questions across Twitter and make the introduction with the gift of an answer from an expert. For more, read Monica O’Brien’s great article on the Personal Branding Blog, 30-Minute Brand Building for Twitter.

Is Twitter only for selling yourself?

Steven SchiffSteven Schiff, @THE_REAL_SCHIFF, twittered: R u allowed 2 ‘just be yourself’ on Twitter/social media or does it all hav 2 b about personal brand, blog, career identity, selling urself?
Jacob ShareOf course you can do whatever you like, but it ultimately depends on what your goals are and how you decide to achieve them. In The 2 Keys to Personal Branding Success, I mention that “for your personal brand to be genuine, it should come to you naturally and without requiring any extra effort on your part.” The ideal personal brand is one that allows you to be yourself while moving you towards the success you’re aiming for, professional or otherwise. It shouldn’t have be to a suit that you only put on when heading to work.

Repositioning yourself on Twitter

Lee BognerLee Bogner, @leebogner, twittered: looking to move my personal brand to this Twitter ID, looking to migrate from early ID that is not as precise, any thoughts on ID switch ?
Jacob ShareI know exactly where you’re coming from, Lee. I’m on twitter as @jacobshare, but initially I was @jshare. I think that I chose that first Twitter ID was because I wasn’t yet sure in June 2007 how I was going to use Twitter. However, once I decided to use Twitter as a personal branding tool, it became critical for my entire personal brand name to be in the Twitter ID itself.

If you just want to update your Twitter ID itself while keeping your followers and all your other account options the same, use Twitter’s official instructions for an ID change (thanks @DeirdreReid). However, if you’d like to make a clean break with the old account and reposition yourself with a new account while still retaining some of your followers, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Preparation - after you’ve decided what the personal branding goals are for the new Twitter ID, prepare the new Twitter account accordingly. At the very least, the Twitter background, Web(site), Bio and first tweets should all harmonize with your personal brand.
  2. Launch - now that the new Twitter ID is ready for traffic, update all web profiles, email signatures, etc., to point at the new Twitter ID instead of the old. Then, encourage existing followers to make the switch by twittering about the change on the old Twitter account. If you don’t have too many followers, considering inviting each one with a direct message or use a (paid) tool like TweetLater Pro to DM all your followers at once.
  3. Freeze - once you’re confident that maximum traffic has been rerouted to the new account, post one final tweet to the old account with a clear call to action giving people incentive to follow you via the new Twitter ID. As the last tweet, that message will stay in large size at the top of the old Twitter profile, clearly pointing any future traffic from the old Twitter ID to the new one.

Must personal branding begin with Twitter?

Alex PotlogAlex Potlog, @Potlog, twittered: does building a personal brand really start with Twitter?
Jacob ShareNo, personal branding existed well before Twitter did and there are many other ways to brand yourself online.It also depends on what your personal branding goals are. To be most effective, you need to use the best tools for your personal branding context and Twitter is just one. For example, if you want to brand yourself as a video editor, you’d probably focus initially on building your YouTube channel.

However, one of the great things about using Twitter as a personal branding tool is that you can probably achieve success with less effort than you would need to invest in a personal blog, for instance.

Also, due to the relative newness of Twitter even in 2009, most newbies already have potential followers among their address book contacts, forum co-members, social media friends, etc., that they can call upon for an initial boost to their Twitter following. As people who already know your personal brand, this initial group can honestly evangelize your presence on Twitter and help you attract more followers in building momentum for your personal brand.

Finally, as I mention in the Beginner’s Guide To Finding A Job With Twitter and above, prepare your Twitter profile before driving people to it.

If you enjoyed this article, you’ll also find useful my 11 Rules for Personal Branding Success with Avatars. You might also enjoy my ebook The Ultimate Twitter Job Search Guide, available as a free download for subscribers of my free job tips newsletter.

I originally published this article on the terrific Personal Branding Blog.

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--Jacob Share