November 2021, Chris Neto and Tim Albright visited Innovation House, the UK's largest multi-brand experience center, to host their ‘Can You Hear Me Now?’ personal branding seminar. The seminar covered topics around how to promote yourself online and generate your very own competitive edge. A beginner’s guide to becoming an AV influencer, if you will. Chris and Tim are passionate about helping others to better evangelize their AV message by blending social media, industry expertise and technology while adding a humorous personal touch.
Just look around any AV industry event and count how many people are greeting each other with warm embraces, smiles and general happiness to see each other. These professional friendships could have been formed at industry events, which are an important part of networking in the AV industry, or they could be from joining the online AV Tweeps community.
Building your personal branding can also help people recognize you at an event and help you appear more approachable, as your online connections already feel as if they know you. Regardless of where these bonds were formed, many professional relationships are maintained and built further online.
One easy way to build your online network is to ask people where you can find them online, after meeting them. Don’t be afraid to ask which channel they use and how you can find them, they will offer up their chosen social channel and what their user tag/display name/social handle is. People may go by a maiden name online or they may have a different handle entirely. This also saves you a lot of embarrassment, stopping you from accidentally finding their secret Peter Andre fan account, instead of their professional personal account.
Your personal brand is essentially what you’re known for. By leveraging social media, you can use your personal brand to be recognised in your industry and become an AV influencer.
“You decide to what level, or how deep you want to go.” – Tim Albright.
Some people share their whole life on social media and that’s okay. Some people act more reserved and that is okay too. You need to feel comfortable with posting online, otherwise, it will become something you don’t want to do, and your personal branding will look patchy and inconsistent.
The easiest way to make your personal brand your own is to be authentic and approach social media and your brand in whichever way best suits you.
Know your limits and set your own set of personal branding rules from the start and stick to them. If you feel uncomfortable addressing a particular topic, don’t engage in this conversation. Remember that you are leaving behind an online footprint with all your tweets, posts and videos – only post and comment on what you would be comfortable people potentially reading for the rest of time.
Photos and videos work best on social media, try your best to capture moments that will create FOMO, fear of missing out. These ‘captured moments’ don’t need to be of the latest and greatest in the world of AV. When working from home, why not take a pic of your desktop set-up and ask others to comment with images of theirs to see how they compare.
Never underestimate the power of a selfie. The best way to build your personal branding is to stand in front of the camera and show your face! It’s difficult (near impossible) to create a personal brand without the person.
One thing to mention is that, if you are presenting yourself as an AV influencer, that your AV needs to be up to scratch.
“I took an image with my TV in the background and an HDMI cable hanging down. I still don’t hear the end of it…” – Chris Neto.
Utilise every part of your image to help you stand out on your feed. Wear something memorable, whether it is pink shoelaces (like Chris Neto at the event) or a quirky branded t-shirt.
That isn’t to say that each of your images needs to be constructed with your outfit well thought out. The spontaneous selfie in front of an LED wall, or a selfie with another AV influencer at an event can be off the cuff.
If you are stuck for ideas on what to post, why not join in a random hashtag. Share your everyday carry with the hashtag #EDC and let people know what you take with you when you leave for work.
There is an ever-growing amount of social media accounts. Even social media managers struggle to know which ones you should be on, and which are a waste of time.
“Don’t take yourself too seriously, have fun with it!” – Tim Albright.