Guest Blog: Harnessing Social Media

Brianne Sanchez, guest blogger, journalist

Hi IIDA students! I work as a journalist in Des Moines, Iowa, but I volunteered to do a couple guest posts for you and am delighted to bring you some insights on personal branding through new media and a Q&A with an interior designer who’s getting it right: Julie Richard, the blogger behind SHELTER.

Brianne Sanchez

P.S. Don’t forget to comment! You could win the Benjamin Moore 2010 Color Pulse.

Personal Branding, 101

Ever hear that saying – “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know?” It’s no secret and it’s certainly nothing new: Networking gets you places.

Enter “social networking” — via sites like facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Myspace. Let’s say you didn’t have the resources to get into your top school. Or take the New York trip with other students in your program. Consider social networking the leveling ground.

You don’t need me to lecture you about what not to post on facebook. If you’re starting the job search, you’ve already deleted those questionable keg stand photos.

Let me tell you what you should be doing in addition to writing on your best friend’s wall. Now that you’re an adult, social networking is about leveraging your identity across all of the online platforms you use to create a personal brand to serve as an interactive business card and resume.

If you want to delve deeply into this topic, I wrote a big story about “branding yourself”

For those of you who have a test in 20 minutes and don’t have time to follow the link, here’s the Readers Digest version:

The key to branding yourself isn’t just signing up for sites, it’s adding value to them. In order to do that, you need to know who you are, what skills you have, and what you want to learn. Start a blog or Web site to act as a hub and link to it on all of your social sites. If you need to create a username, pick something close to your own name or something professional.

LinkedIn is very helpful if you’re looking to establish yourself as an expert. Dip into the “answers” section after you create your profile and chime in. Follow the activity in your professional field by joining a group, like the IIDA LinkedIn group:

Still not sure how to use LinkedIn? Visit

Twitter is another site that’s been getting a lot of buzz, but confuses people who aren’t yet on it. The more people who are following you and who you are following, the better, because you’ll have a bigger pool of people to run your ideas by and can get a better “pulse” for what’s going on. Start following a user like @InteriorDesign_ and then look to see what interesting other users are engaging. (Like, @DesignTrade, who has a brand on facebook, too.)

Connecting on these sites is a virtual foot in the door with the people who run them and the community surrounding them. Design Trade has 364 fans on their facebook page. That’s 364 people who share an interest and might have people within their extended networks that can help you reach your goals.

You’ve gotta ask, but you’ve gotta give, too. When questions are asked, chime in with a well thought-out answer. These networks only work if people are engaging each other. Don’t be shy!

Extra Resources

Part II

Coming later today!


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