Hat’s off to personal branding

More people recognize me as a cartoon character in a cowboy hat than by my actual appearance.  That’s about to change. I’ve swapped my cartoon avatars on Twitter and Facebook with an actual photo.

The more I get to know people online, the more I want to know their personal appearance.  This is why I tell everyone who begins on Twitter or Facebook to use a recent photo for their profile instead of a cartoon.  I’ve been breaking that rule myself until recently.  For the past two years, I’ve been using illustrations, rather than photos, for my avatar on Twitter and Facebook. These cartoon illustrations of me in my vacation cowboy hat have become part of the branding for my social meteor persona.

When I attend a Tweetup or social media event, individuals are slow to connect the real-life ‘troy janisch’  with my online ‘social meteor’ persona. In the past two months, I’ve met several online friends face-to-face. Each time, after introducing myself to them, I had to remind them that I’m the guy behind the cartoon.

Dino Dogan of Triberr asked me to (literally) consider ‘updating my image’ before joining the popular Anubis tribe on Tribber.com.  “You should really consider using a picture of yourself,” Dino said. “It will allow tribe members to feel closer to you.”

I replaced my Twitter and Facebook avatars with a recent NASA Tweetup photo.  Then I asked my favorite tweeps for their opinions.  While some of them liked the original cartoons. All of them seemed to prefer my real-life photo. Sam Fiorella said it best: “The Illustration was fun, but I prefer ‘talking’ to a person more than a cartoon character. Welcome to the Twitterverse.”

I’ll keep using cartoon images on the Social Meteor website, where its become part of my personal brand — but for social networking sites I’m happy to make the change. I’m using social media to build real-life business and social relationships. it makes sense.

And, after all, you asked for it.

Speaking of Personal ‘Branding’…

This woman got a tattoo sleeve of 152 Facebook friends.  It’s just become A LOT more work for her to ‘unfriend’ them.

Credits: The photo is of this blogpost drawn on canvas using a Sharpie. It’s the example canvas I created to help bloggers who are participating in my ‘Blog on Canvas’ initiative.

6 thoughts on “Hat’s off to personal branding

  • @socialmeteor:disqus Thanks for the mention. In response to your post though, a personal avatar is a great advantage at meet-ups and networking, even in the pub.

    I was able to approach a guy confidently in a pub recently, who had Tweeted favourably about our brand earlier in the day, and thank him personally. I had never met him before but because of his avatar I knew it was him. Turns out he was quite an influential figure in our industry and you can imagine the positive response.

  • @anetsuke:twitter  said via LinkedIn: “My view if anyone cares, is that what you have to say is far more important than pictures or avatars.  It is like a resume.  You need a quality product which is reinforced by the words you use in the resume (think post.)”

  • @binbnews:twitter  said via LinkedIn: “I used a cartoon for a while after my pal Denis Blandford sketched a bunch of us during our Online Marketing Magic phase… google jon davey and check the pics and you can see what he scribbled.

    Got a mixed reaction… I liked it but it did unnerve a few folk… photos are best for most I would surmise.”

  • From Daryl Warren via LinkedIn: “It’s hard to take anyone seriously when they don’t post an actual photo of themselves. More often than not, the people who either post a cartoon or worse, no photo at all tend to cause more trouble than they’re worth. I’m not claiming this is always the case, but on LinkedIn, for example, the people who post more derrogatory comments tend to fall within these lines.

    If you want to be taken seriously, then you need to present honestly, and it starts with an earnest photo.”

  •  @andrewkorf:twitter asked via LinkedIn: “Who do you think is help individuals do the best job with personal branding and professional presentation on the web? about.me? virb.com? who else? Linkedin (heh)? ”

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