You're A Professional, Act Like One!

This is a rant. I will admit it right off. I have been hitting a lot of new folks in various writing and social media communities recently and they are driving me nuts. I go to an author’s site or maybe their twitter profile or a fellow Gravatar Profileblogger, what they are saying interests me, and then I try to find out more about them. Dead end. These folks, as well meaning as they may be, are trying to present themselves as professionals without taking the basic time to create a professional online presence. I am not talking about stuff that costs a lot of money, but stuff that has a big impact on how easy it is to find you and how you are perceived when people do find you.  In marketing speak part of this is branding. In business speak a lot of this should be common sense.

Branding and consistency are what help your customers, readers, users, fans or even friends find you on the web, find what you are doing and what pertains to you, and also know that the you they find really is you! Think of it as not trying to convince people what an honest reputable person you are while selling watches out of the back of a borrowed car in a vacant parking lot. Also think of it as not handing out business cards that are missing your phone number, address or email.

So, with very little money, how can you clean up your act? Well, here are ten cheap and easy steps.

1) Make sure you have your own website. Yours. Not part of Facebook or LinkedIn or Google+ site (though you do want those). WordPress.com is ok for now, but only because they let you export everything in the future. This site will be your home base. You want somewhere that you control and that the Lords Of Facebook can’t change the look and feel, and advertising, of without your input. (Cost: $0 to $10 a month – or somewhere in between. Your choice!) [Recommendation – WordPress.com if you want to go free, DreamHost if you want a bit more control and are willing to pay a small amount for it.] Continue reading “You're A Professional, Act Like One!”

Do You Know What People Call You?

What do you see when you see the name “therapists”? Well, depending on the context, you may see the profession “Therapists” or you may see the more dangerous and derogatory “TheRapists”. This is one of the things you need to think about when choosing a web identity such as a Twitter name.

Too often we get caught up in the excitement of a new name discovery or something we think is cute without considering the long term ramifications. We will hold a personal example until last, but lets next consider a friend of mine who came up with a great social media identity – Social Sass. But wait, when we put those words together as a domain name or Twitter ID, that great title can quickly become “SocialsAss”. Most likely not what the selector had in mind.

In addition to the odd double meanings of names, you also need to beware of names that are either hard to spell or confusing. This applies to plurals, multiple words that repeat letters, and the odd spelling form. Think about this – if your Twitter name is read on a radio program or podcast, would people be able to find it without doing a search or having it spelled out for them? The word “skool” may seem cooler to you that “school”, but how many prospects are you going to lose because they can’t find you.

And if your name is Tess, and your run a school, how many people would be able to find “TesssSkool” or even “TesssSchool”? How many “S”s are in that? And remember you can’t put in the apostrophe, so what are you going to do? Even if you don’t make it possesive, you get “tessschool”. Again, how many people would put in the correct number of “S”s?

On a mechanical note, beware of easily lost characters. The underscore for exacmpe, “_”, can easily be lost on forms with underlines. And not just lost in print, but lost on devices. What that means is beware of any character that is hard to enter on a cellphone’s keyboard. The more mobile platforms become a part of everyday life, the more we need to be aware of how hard it can be to enter special characters on those devices.

Finally, lets just look at my own example. Palmettobug. That was my business name. I was enamored of it. Little did I know that lots of people, especially women find the reference to bugs “icky”. So, after having that brought to my attention, and then having to come to grips with it, I am rebranding myself – as myself.

So, choose your name carefully. And for more on this subject, check out my colleague Cheryl Smithem’s post on the rest of this subject. Her post, Social Media Names, speaks to the heart of branding and is the partner post to this post.

A Slight Change of Identity

No slight of hand or shifty footwork involved, I am just going to be doing business more under my own name instead of the “Palmettobug Digital” monicker. Why? Well first of all most people know my business and work by my own name anyway, so the company name was just confusing things a bit.

Michael CarnellSecond, some people don’t know what a palmettobug is or have bad feelings about them, so that identity wasn’t working. In truth, a lot of folks visit the site looking for exterminators! This showed me that I needed to take a dose of my own medicine and clarify my identity. I preach this all the time to other people and organizations, I just had to follow my own advice.

Finally, I really just need my work to be more identifiable as mine. When I teach a class or do a social media consultation for someone, it is me, Michael Carnell, doing that. That is the name people know and trust, so that is the face I needed to put on my work. I will also be bringing this site together with The Social Media Monster site in the very near future to further reduce the multiple personalities.

It doesn’t hurt either that if you do a search for Michael Carnell on Google, Bing or Yahoo the entire first page is me. If you search on any of those other terms I am there, but not as strong. I want to be where the people are!

I hope this doesn’t confuse anyone, and I would love to get your feedback. Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think of me dropping the separate identities of “Palmettobug” and “The Social Media Monster” and going by “Michael Carnell”.