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Using Apps To Improve Your Brand


5/24/2012
By Mandy Aguilar

Your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn posts are your new calling cards; the marquee to the real you the business world is looking to recruit.
 
Mandy Aguilar
Yo! Mandy, forget about it! The resumé sleeps with the fishes and business cards are getting visits from the Grim Reaper; your well-curated resume and that shiny business card will soon be a thing of the past. It’s the end of an era for these two business staples, drummed out of existence by the same techno-steamroll that has killed fax machines, travel agencies and the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Nowadays, whether you are looking for a job or researching a new client or vendor, you are going to search and get searched on Google. Oh yeah — searched and dissected under an online microscope that exposes your online social persona like peeking through the Hubble telescope; a search so thorough that it would make a TSA X-ray strip search feel less threatening than the Walmart guy checking your receipt at the exit door. Your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn posts are your new calling cards; the marquee to the real you the business world is looking to recruit.

Have you ever Googled your name? Do you show up in the top results? If the answer to these two very timely questions is no, then we have a lot of work to do my friend. Back in 1968, artist Andy Warhol exclaimed that, “In the future we will all be famous for 15 minutes.” This has become true; the trick for us is to make sure we are “famous” right when someone is looking at us. The idea that we all have to brand ourselves online is a reality in 2012.

About.me
The future of the business card as a presentation tool is going to look at lot like what the folks at www.about.me are doing right now. How many times have you gone into a meeting and when you hand your business card, you get turned down and the person simply asks you to text them your contact info to their smartphone? This has become the norm. At times, I don’t even carry business cards anymore. This is a great progress, but the downside is that within that person’s smartphone all contacts look the same. How am I going to differentiate myself? How am I going to create my “brand?” You create your own web page, for free, that in turn becomes an electronic business card. The About.me people are so sharp they even give you access to an offer for free paper business cards that will include a printed QR code that links back to your electronic profile, so you can easily navigate the old and the new as the business world morphs into electronic business cards.

Your about.me page will have links to all your social media sites, blogs, company web pages, even music and movie fan pages if you like. Yes, you control it, you decide. It’s a great way to tell the world who you are. They just released a fantastic mobile app that makes sharing your high-tech calling card a breeze. Visit my about.me page to get an idea on how this can work for you at www.about.me/mandyaguilar. Let me know what you think of my brand, would you please?

LinkedIn
More than 100 million business users and counting have joined the business social website LinkedIn. It has become the go-to site to research anyone in the business world looking to connect with others. As I write this column, I’m working with a potential new customer who found me on LinkedIn and asked me to sell him parts. Yes, let me say that again: the customer found me! Every day millions, of connections are being made, again at no charge, between vendors, customers, job applicants, companies and organizations all around the world, live on the site. They also have a robust mobile app that allows you access to their info on the go.

As part of your free membership you get a public profile that has become the go-to resumé replacement vehicle for the many recruiters; and mind you this is an intelligent resumé with links back to the stuff you have done (talk about instant validation). Colleagues also can write recommendations about your prior work and these nuggets are pure gold for recruiters who want to know the real you.

Our industry is very well-represented on LinkedIn. A quick search of the keyword “aftermarket” yielded more than 200 groups already active on the site that focus on our industry. These are folks like us looking to sell more parts every day. The scope of the site is vast, with aftermarket-focused groups from all over the world, including Latin America, Brazil, China and the U.S.

Take a look today at www.linkedin.com and find some of those long-lost colleagues who have not bought a part from you since carbureted cars went away.

Brandyourself.com
These guys do not mince words, their website is all about making sure you, or better said, your brand, hits first every time someone searches for your name on Google. They offer a free service that will dramatically improve your Google search rankings. Their basic service is free and very complete. They were super easy to use; a very well-designed service by guys who know search.

They basically ask you to Google your name and in return and give you the first 10 hits Google has on you. To refine the search, they walk hand-in-hand with you to rate those results as Positive, Negative or Not yourself. This simple exercise will get you started on your first steps in optimizing Google’s search engine to focus on your brand. Even if you get 10 negative hits, this exercise will ensure you start cleaning up your online brand. By Negative they mean negative; there have been many horror stories of people who share a name with a criminal and you do not want to lose that job interview just because your cosmic bad luck to have been named Jeff Dahmer, Theodore Bundy or Charlie Mason.

Give this service a try first; their fun and easy workflow will enlighten your search knowledge in one quick session at www.brandyourself.com.












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