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I think by now, we all know that an important part of personal branding takes place in social media.  But, do you have a plan for that?

Before you choose and decide which social networks and strategies you want to use for your personal branding, you should have a strategy in mind. Understand the image you want to portray, and, more importantly, realize that it’s not You who determines what people think, but your brand will be determined how people see you and how true you are to yourself.

A road map which leads to a successful strategy that helps me focus when I want to start new directions in my business and expand my personal brand comes from IDEO, the leading design and innovation firm here in Palo Alto, and its five principles for brainstorming:

  • stay focused on the topic,
  • encourage wild ideas,
  • defer judgment,
  • and build on the ideas of others.

So look at your brand, and begin brainstorming [with friends and colleagues] your strategy by asking:

  • What do you want to accomplish,
  • How will you show your uniqueness,
  • Whom do you want to reach,
  • What does your audience want to know about you,
  • How often will you have time to update your social networking accounts,
  • Do you really have the discipline to contribute regularly with fresh news or information?
  • And how will your actions make you feel about yourself and your personal brand development day to day?

When you’ve answered these questions and are sure you know what successful strategies you have to develop, it’s time to design your strategy and how you’re going to implement your answers.

But before going there, I think you should consider one other aspect that looks at what the outcome will be. Is what you’re doing making you happy?

A couple of months ago, I listened to Stanford Graduate School of Business Professor, Jennifer Aaker, talk about her new book, The Dragonfly Effect, in which she writes: “Ensure that your goal is personally meaningful such that the thought of achieving the goal would bring happiness to you and your audience – in some way.”

This is one of the areas we rarely consider before launching our personal branding campaign. I, myself, think that the only way you will have a personal brand that lasts, that resonates and says something meaningful about you is one that you approach with passion and conviction and, it makes you happy. This passion and happiness have to be felt in your online life as well.

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