Category Archives: Personal Brand

How to become an Influencer

Influencer marketing is becoming increasingly popular, but not all influencers can be considered equal. In most cases celebrity influencers don’t have as much influence over your consumer decisions as you think. A new wave of influencers are equally important. Micro-influencers – like you and me, are just as likely to influence our peers as celebrities.

So how easy is it to become an influencer?  Here are my top tips for becoming recognised as a credible voice in your industry.

Be a consistent  influencer across platforms:.

Whether Facebook or YouTube, Twitter or Instagram, have a consistent voice. Influencers talk about the same topics, use the same hashtag, post similar pictures. You will start to become recognised for your knowledge in that topic. Whether it is icing cakes, fixing phones, or top-notch welding, the same message reinforces that you are the go-to person for that topic.

Use the same hashtags:

You will be able to use analytics tools to measure the success of a particular hashtag, or campaign across all platforms that you use if you use the same hashtag across Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for example.  You will then be able to get a fuller picture of your breadth reach as an influencer you see your hashtag propagate.

Focus on a few credible platforms.

Try to stick to two or three main channels to broadcast. People will tend to follow influencers across two or three platforms. If Instagram and YouTube are the channels of choice, then make sure you add quality content to them on a regular basis. Frantic bursts of activity followed by long periods of silence don’t tend to work well with media followers.

Influencers use followers and fans to deliver their message for them:

92 percent of people trust word of mouth recommendations  so make sure that your existing followers get fabulous content that they would be happy to propagate further to their network.

Be  an authentic influencer:

Authenticity is a really important part of the news we want to receive from our influencer connections. Facebook has recognised this for a long time, and has honed its algorithm to make sure that you get the news that is most relevant to  what you want to see in your life.

Avoid the single point of failure:

Try not to rely on one channel to get the word out. Google stopped focusing on Hangouts, Facebook has throttled organic reach for brands, and there is no longer any guarantee what your fans will see. Try to spread your message across different channels, so that if your message fails to deliver on one site, then it might get through on another

Get your followers to a place that you own.

Point people to your own blog, your own newsletter, encourage signups on your own site. Then if your chosen site disappears, restricts visibility of your posts or goes behind a paywall, then you have a list of loyal followers that you can move to another platform.

Keep at it. over time, your fans will come. If they like what they see, they will stay…


Being happier on social media and make everyone around you feel good

Users take to social media to vent their spleen as soon as a brand stumbles online. There are thousands of examples of complaining users. Last month a blind passenger and his guide dog were removed from a US Airways flight – and the passengers complained across all media channels.

Users took to complain about the behaviour of the restaurant owners at Amys Baking Company’s social media meltdown after appearing on Remsays Kitchen Nightmares TV show.

We seem to complain about anything on social channels – hoping that the brand will listen to us. Angry tweets get retweeted more often. Sina Weibo analysed over 70million posts from 200,000 users and found that anger elicits faster responses from the largest number of people.

But wouldn’t it be be great if we had an opportunity to be nice from time to time? Good news spreads. Happy, funny items are more likely to get shared – especially if they are about ourselves, a study has found.

Social networking site Happier aims to change our attitude to the negative side of life. The site is filled with things to make you smile and make you feel a little bit better about your day.


Happier is a Boston based company with “a mission to inspire millions of people to be happier in their everyday lives”. Based on research Happier focuses on making people happy. Circuits in our brains light up when we are happy and when we are happy, folks around us become happy too.

Nataly Kogan spent the first 13 years of her life in soviet Russia. The family escaped to Vienna before taking the train to Italy to spend months in a refugee centre. On getting to the US, she tried to “chase the big happy” but found that after 20 years of doing this she wasn’t happy at all. 

Her nirvana moment was realising she was “chasing the non-existent impossible state of happy” and was missing the “small happy moments” that made up her day. Collecting your own positive moments will make you happy.

Stop saying “I’ll be happy when” and start saying “I’m happy now because”.

Focusing on small positive moments have been scientifically proven to make you feel happier. It seems like a really small principle to capture these moments – but you can capture this “emotional bookshelf in your pocket” with an iPhone app that reminds you to collect your small moments every day.

Sometimes a moment can be as simple as enjoying a giggle with a friend – or as simple as “getting to go to the bathroom after needing to go all day” Smile

Smiling releases endorphins and you have the ability to impact others’ happiness. Making someone’s day will make them feel great – and make you feel happier too.

  • People who write down three positive things about their day report feeling happier, less, anxious and more optimistic. People who continued to do that for a period of three weeks reported feeling more optimistic and positive for up to six months afterwards.
  • People who think more positively are 50 percent less likely to have a heart attack, catch a cold or the flu.
  • Functional MRI shows that focusing on a few positive things every day can permanently alter the chemistry of the brain to become more positive.
  • Being happier is contagious: If you have a friend who is positive, you’re 25 percent more likely to be positive.
  • People who express thanks to others feel better about their lives, exercise more, and go to the doctor less.

So what does Happier recommend that we do to become – and stay happier?

If you feel that your Facebook feed is full of people complaining and moaning – then trying to be a little bit happier might be just the tonic you need. Write down some happy moments and share them with yourself – or  your friends. Paying it forward – and sharing your happiness will make everyone around us all feel better today…

Eileen Brown is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Connect with Eileen on Twitter and or contact her to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Google + may charge you for your custom URL

Google has started rolling out custom URL’s for its Google plus profiles and pages. Now you can own URL’s  that look intuitive and are easy to remember such as: instead of the hard to remember profile URL:


Some people have received emails about this feature, others night have noticed a black bar at the top of their Google + page inviting them to confirm their custom URL. le

You need to be eligible to get a custom URL.  For personal Google+ accounts you need to have:

  • 10 or more followers
  • Your account is 30 days old or more
  • A profile photo

If you would like to claim your own Google+ URL, here’s how to find it.

  1. Go to "About" tab on your Profile
  2. Click on the "Claim" link located under your Google+ URL.
  3. You’ll see the URL for which you’re approved. You may see more than one option. In this case, select the one that you like best.
  4. Tick the box to agree to the Terms of Service.
  5. Click on Change URL.
  6. You may be asked to verify your account by mobile phone number. A box will pop up asking you to do so.
  7. Check your phone for the code that was sent to you, Enter the code in the box. Click on Verify.
  8. Once approved, this URL will be linked to your Google+ page or Profile, so make sure that everything is exactly the way you want it.
  9. Once your URL has been approved, you cannot request to change it. When you’re sure, click on Confirm.

Google says that its custom URL’s are “free for now”, but it states that it “may start charging a fee for them”. Google will let you know before it starts charging for its custom URL’s to give you the choice to stop participating and go back to your old URL.

If you want a customised URL and do not want Google to be in control of your chosen name try  This service acts as a redirection service for Google so that takes me straight to my Google + profile

Google has also stated that it “reserve(s) the right to reclaim custom URLs or remove them for any reason, and without notice”. Your amazing customised URL might be yours for less time than you think…

Eileen Brown is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Connect with Eileen on Twitter and or contact her to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Keeping LinkedIn fresh for discoverability and SEO

Its important to update your LinkedIn profile often, but how often?


A recent poll on Smart blogs indicated that less than half of LinkedIn users update their profiles more than once a year:

    • I do it more than once a year: 47.12%
    • I do it once a year or less: 36.09%
    • I don’t have a LinkedIn profile: 8.02%
    • I don’t revise my profile: 7.52%
    • Not sure: 1.25%

You do not even need to directly update your profile to get noticed by SEO spiders. Something as simple as updating your status will do. This announces to the search engines that your LinkedIn profile page is active and should be re-indexed by the search engines.

Any type of status update will do. Traditional update, sharing a link, commenting on another person’s status update. All of these activities places an incremental flag on the database entry that contains your profile and announces to the web crawlers to index your entry.

So keep LinkedIn fresh. Use it for profile management, connection management and to reach out to new people. LinkedIn is a fantastic CRM tool – but many of the little known features of LinkedIn are the ones that will help you work your connections the most..

Look out for a future post on using LinkedIn as a CRM tool and really enhance how you use it.

Eileen is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Image credit: Knutux

6 tips on Setting your goals and sticking to them

File:Basketball Goal.jpg


Setting your goals is easy, sticking to them and achieving them is much harder.  So why do some people fail and others succeed?

We have different motivations for setting goals.  to get fit, lose weight, get the project finished, run faster, further, for longer, become more organised, less cluttered, more healthy, less anxious.

So what differentiates success from failure?  I think it falls into 6 main points for success.  Follow these 6 points and see how you get on:

  • Self awareness: Monitoring how well you are doing on a regular basis such as tracking your run or your weight loss with an app that tracks your progress.
  • Understanding: Finding out as much as you can about the project, chance of success and failure.  Knowledge brings understanding and clarity in goal setting.
  • Belief:  How determined are you to succeed in your goal?  Do you really believe that you can succeed or is there a nagging doubt lurking in the back of your mind stopping you from believing yourself?
  • Uniqueness: Are you the only one to have achieved this goal? The first one to climb the mountain, or the highest, deepest, farthest. Setting a goal that is unique in some way may spur you on. Of course, if you have never ran before, or lost weight, then this could be your own unique goal
  • Gaming: is your goal part of a team goal? Are you an integral part of the team and your success leads to the whole teams success.  Often working together to achieve your goals can spur you on.
  • Visualisation: What does success loo like to you? Can you see it?  Imagine yourself completing your goal and remember the feeling.  It will spur you onwards.

When you get to your goal, celebrate your success.  Try not to set another goal more difficult than before. Take some time to bask in your success and revel in your achievement before setting your next milestone. Enjoy your success…

Credit: Prettybea

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Are we the same person online and offline?

Heck no.


I craft my online words to create an impression of me that I want you to see.  I want you to believe that I truly am the person in my tweets, my blog posts, my Facebook and LinkedIn profile.  But is is the real me?

I’m sure I’m a much nicer person online than I am offline.  I’m always cheerful online, helpful, friendly and kind.  I try to write warm witty and wise blog posts – with the emphasis on the warm.  I don’t want you to know when I’m having a bad day.

I don’t want you to know when I’m feeling vulnerable, scared, sad, lonely, insecure or down.  I want you to see ability,  stability, confidence, employability, hireability.

But is it healthy?

Forbes splits this ‘split personality’ behaviour straight down the middle.  Some women are truly authentic online,  such as Penelope Trunk who pours out her life on her blog.   Others are less authentic online. I probably fall into this camp.  I try to use Paretos 80:20 rule for my online activities.  I’m 80% authentic – keeping the 20% for face to face conversations with offline friends.

Some keep their professional lives totally separate from their personal musings on Facebook.  One of my good friends uses Facebook entirely for the business connections it brings her.  She knows she needs to have a Facebook profile, but she doesn’t update it at all, and yet she has thousands of Facebook Friends.

Some use Facebook to keep in touch with colleagues, some with close friends and family.  I’m still connected to lots of my ex Microsoft colleagues on Facebook.  some are friends, some mere acquaintances.  I mix my Facebook conversation from professional to personal musings.  My Facebook Page however, gets only the business relatedor book related updates. My Facebook profile gets the more honest updates.

But event these updates aren’t truly ‘authentic’

The updates are a nicer, better version of me  — the me, I’d like you to see.  The me, perhaps I’d truly like to be.

But are we sharing too much?

Perhaps we don’t want to know what our friends are reading using the frictionless sharing feature on Facebook.  Are we oversharing or peeking into private lives?  Some people think that they are chatting to just one friend when they post updates on Facebook and are not careful what they post.

Perhaps I’ll stick to outpourings of angst, anger and ire when I’m offline.  Where no one can hear my miserable ranting, emotional outbursts and weeping.

Would it make me a better person online if I shared more? Or would reading these ramblings only serve to reduce your opinion of me – or anyone else that overshares their life?

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Image credit: misteraitch


9 ways to avoid bloggers block


It’s difficult coming up with good blog entries but if you blog for a company, blogging might be written into your objectives.  If the company is moving forward in its efforts to become more transparent in business and demonstrate its commitment to its customers, its staff or the environment, then it will be looking towards the corporate bloggers inside the company to spread its message to a broader audience.

But what if you’ve hit that wall of bloggers block?

What if even writing 140 characters in Twitter is a bit of a struggle?  How do you get past that wall

Creating good content for your blog is hard – but it’s even harder if you don’t have any inspiration about what to blog about.  Fortunately there are many ways around bloggers block when it hits.


Here are ideas that I use from time to time when inspiration deserts me.

    1. Search the forums.  If you blog about technology then look at the technical forums for the topics that come up time and time again.  These are usually submitted by people who don’t know how to use the forum search feature.  Create a ‘how to’ blog and link to it from the forum.  My post from 2008 on Importing Outlook to windows Live Calendar still gets several hits each day.
    2. Save interesting Tweets as Favourites.  If you see a Tweet talking about something that might be useful as a blog post, save it as a favourite.  You can always come back to the list of favourites later and use the content as a basis for your blog post.
    3. Use Live Writer or Word to save drafts.  I use Live Writer to save snippets of blog posts that need more research, more information, or more content.  I then add to them and publish them when they’re ready.
    4. Use OneNote to save web snips.  I use OneNote extensively to store information that i haven’t got time to read.  My OneNote notebook holds interesting snippets and I use the right mouse button to “Send to OneNote” when I don’t have time to read the whole pdf online.  The great thing about OneNote is its searchable so I can quickly find what I need
    5. Watch the news feeds.  There’s always something to blog about in the news feeds via Twitter and LinkedIn.  Find an interesting topic and talk about
    6. Span social sites for information.  Browse Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google + to see themes that are appearing across the social platforms.  They’ll be sure to give you enough information to start you off with a topic
    7. Write something.  Even if you save it as a draft and don’t go back to it in a while, you’ve started a blog post.  Next time you visit it, you’ll edit it and refine it into something amazing
    8. Don’t focus on Twitter and Google+  They might be the  easy to use, simple, shiny and new, but you can’t demonstrate your professional credibility, ability and knowledge in quite the same way
    9. Don’t give up.  Who knows, one day, blogging could bring your the reach and profile you’ve been searching for.

And tip number 10?  I don’t have ALL the answers Smile What’s your best tip to avoid bloggers block?


Eileen is a social business strategist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Image credit: Flickr