By Nicole Comparato
ORLANDO, Fla. — Look at your last 10 Facebook posts or tweets, and then ask yourself two questions.
First, what do they say about you?
Second — and more importantly — would you show them to your grandma?
That’s what Kraig Kann, the LPGA’s chief communications officer, says is a smart way to determine if you are presenting yourself in the right light.
Kann spoke to members of the Association for Women in Sports Media in a conference session titled, “Developing your Personal Brand.” Kann joined session leader Regina O’Brien, the senior vice president of marketing at the Golf Channel, in addressing the membership.
O’Brien told the membership at the session that they probably already have a personal brand.
“Brands are what people say about you when you’re not in the room,” O’Brien said.
Some of that branding occurs through social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
O’Brien and Kann spoke about what you should leave off of social media sites, but also what you should leave on.
Kann said it is important to make sure you seem like you have a personality on social media, and that overcensoring yourself may do more harm than good.
One survey, O’Brien said, shows that 19 percent of companies who use social media to research job candidates actually find something on the candidate’s page that makes them want to hire someone.
If you’re already worried about your brand, O’Brien said not to fret, because your brand can evolve.
When O’Brien began her job, she mainly worked on her relationships with her immediate peers yet not so much with outside vendors, a move that she came to realize affected her personal brand.
“One of those vendors called up my boss and my personal brand I guess was coming off as a cannonball, so he still, to this day 20 years later, calls me a cannonball,” O’Brien said. “But it was really a good lesson for me. What I learned was all relationships are important. Not just those with your immediate peers, and especially if you’re going to be in the sports business, because we’re all going to be together for a really long time.”
Your brand, O’Brien said, is what distinguishes you from your competitors. It is built on many things including how you communicate, how you present yourself and even how you dress.
College students would likely agree the most important part of branding yourself is to put yourself in position to succeed and get a job. Kann compared the job market to an escalator.
On that escalator, there are people on the middle who have been around for a while, people who just got on who are looking to move up, and people at the top who are ready to get off. But as fewer people are ready to get off on the top, it makes it harder to make room on the bottom of the escalator.
Kann said the first thing to do is to find a way to get on the escalator, which is very difficult, but it all revolves around branding.
“Shake yourself to the core, ask yourself how are you different, maybe better, but different than everyone who’s around you,” he said.
“And do that ASAP.”