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Are you ready for Me 2.0?

Over a decade ago, Tom Peter’s wrote a visionary article in Fast Company entitled The Brand Called You, where he laid out the then startling proposition that ordinary people could establish their own personal brands much like Fortune 500 companies and celebrities. Tom was probably a great example of exactly what he was talking about–with his books, his public appearances, and his consulting business. People hired Tom Peter’s because of who he was and what he stood for, and they still do today. Fast forward to 2009. If anything, there are more ways for individuals to create their own personal brand than ever before, and Dan Schawbel will take you on a grand tour in his new book, Me 2.0.

Many of us understand how to use social media tools on the job and in our social lives, but fewer of us use them to promote ourselves. And I think I know why. We fail to think about our own professional use of social media the way we advise others to use it.
I mean, I always am trying to explain to marketers that they can’t just walk into a social media conversation and start selling their products. They need to get to know the community first. They need to be helpful to their customers. If they do those things, then eventually their reputation will be such that people will seek out their marketing message.
So it’s remarkable to me that people don’t apply these tips to their own career building. I can’t tell you how many people wait until they’ve been laid off to connect with me on a social network and ask me a favor. They don’t know me. They’ve never done a thing for me. But I should help them now.
Now, if I can help them, I do. Why? I just figure that if I help other people, then enough people will be around to help me when I need it. And, I know this sounds hopelessly hokey, but it makes me feel good.
And, to me, that’s the difference between good social networking and bad social networking. Anyone can use social media to annoy people, just like they can use the mail, the telephone, or an uncomfortable few minutes in the elevator.
And honestly, can you imagine what it’s like for people who are well-known? I mean, if I get a half-dozen people a day asking me stuff, what’s it like for the real stars in Internet marketing or in many other fields? I’m sure most of them are gracious–they’ve certainly been nice to me when I have asked for help. But I hope that I’ve given them something back, too.
It’s an attitude, I think. Figure out what you are good at. Help people with what you’re good at. Become known for it, and never stop doing it. That’s as simple as it can be if you are willing to give yourself away. Just like a lot of good Internet businesses, you need to give yourself away to attract a following to the point where people pay you.
That’s Dan Schawbel’s point in Me 2.0. Now that would be a really short book, so he embellished it with deeper advice and some great examples of people doing it right for a couple of hundred pages. And Dan’s book is, I think, especially good for people in that below 35 age group, although I wish I had this book when I started building my own brand about five years ago.
But I went through the steps that Dan lays out, albeit in far clumsier trial and error fashion and with older Internet tools. (E-mail? How ’90s!) But the attitude you bring to the endeavor is what’s important. Try to help others and you’ll have plenty of friends when you need help.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website,, most recently as the Manager of Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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