Personal Brand – How to Build Yours In Twitter

Isn’t branding for companies or products? Why would anyone want a personal brand anyway?

Nowadays people prefer to connect with other people rather than with a corporate brand. Whether you are a company or individual, branding is a way to make yourself memorable.

Yes, personal branding is about making yourself memorable.

Examples of Personal Brand

Donald Trump is known as a dealmaker. That is his brand. As someone who knows Mr. Trump only from television — in The Apprentice TV series — I also tend to think of “Trump” as quality and luxury.

That’s what I see from my perspective. I believe that is also the message that he put out consistently. Although both his personal brand and product brand are two separate entities, at the first glance they are one.

Although I read that his corporations have filed for bankruptcy recently, it didn’t change my perception about his brand too much. After all, everyone is going through hard times right now. If he is able to make it, perhaps his brand will grow even stronger.

Well, Donald Trump is Donald Trump. How could personal brand be important to an individual offering bookkeeping service?

Personal branding is still important for everyone because it is about perception, i.e. what people are going to associate you with. There are certainly more facets to it, but that explains it quite well, I think.

Chris Brogan is known as a helpful bloggers. His participation in Twitter, for instance, helps shape our thoughts about social media and how to use it for our business. With that association, I automatically spend more time reading his tweets than other people’s, if I only have a short break at lunch.

His brand gives him a competitive advantage over others who offer similar services. It also helps people to talk about him. Overall, his brand makes him worth talking about.

Hey, it works. At least I’m writing about him.

I bet you’ll agree that with those benefits, everyone can find at least a reason to build his/her personal brand.

Personal Branding Tips for Twitter

Now that I got your full attention, let’s get down to the business. Personal brand is certainly a broad topic. It spans multiple media from blog to microblogging, social networks, virtually all across the board.

But let’s just focus on Twitter in this post. If you’ve ever wondered how to get your message noticed and build your name online and especially on Twitter, you may find these tips helpful.

1. Content Shapes Your Brand

Whatever you tweet can help shape your brand on Twitter. If you mostly help others with business ideas, you will soon be known as the business idea guy or lady.

Tweeple who balance between their family in their tweets convey their brand as family people. Humorous individuals will be known as fun and some people will appreciate the sense of humor. Those without a better agenda and tweet promotional messages all of the time are spammers.

Twitter may bring an impact to your brand on the short term, but also remember that once you tweet, the content will be out there for others to search forever.

2. Expand Visibility

As a Twitterer, you are going to be visible if you consciously make yourself visible to the right group of people and influencers.

As much as I like Twitter, it is only one facet of the social media. If you want to build your brand, it will be far more effective if you expand your visibility across multiple platforms.

Creating a web presence is a good start. Build a blog and update it frequently. Use social networking sites to get in touch with others.

3. Listen

Newsgroup, mailing list and forum users should be familiar with the term lurkers. They are people who wander around reading and paying attention to what’s going on without actually participating in conversations.

In search and social media, ego search is common. It is nothing but searching your own name, company name and brand for your product. Recently, social media users start to add Twitter as part of the site to monitor for brand names.

Both ego search and lurking don’t sound bad at all, if your intention is to tune in and listen to what people have to say about you, your company or your product. In fact, people now expect that you hear their rant and whine if they put it out online.

Just to be fair, they also want you to know if they say positive things about your business.

4. Participate

The listening tools like Twitter Search allow you to distinguish between the signal and the noise. Once you got the signals, they are your opportunities to engage in the conversations.

You can also participate proactively by getting involved with Twitter. Send out interesting content discoveries for the day. Ask questions and answer them. Respond to tweets directed to you. There are limitless ways to get involved.

You will see companies use Twitter to hold contests. That is just another way to participate and encourage participation in this new communication medium.

5. Build Community

Whatever your niche is, chances are your market is already out there on Twitter. They are not part of your community though. Through different ways of participation, you can build your personal brand faster. One way to do this is by going out and become a leader.

Creating community that people want to be part of is a quick way to deliver your message. If your have successfully engaged influencers as part of your community, very likely your message will go viral, assuming that they are worth talking about.

6. Foster Relationships

Twitter as a broadcast tool is awesome for reaching thousands of people in one swoop. But still, the real value of Twitter for business, is to reach people and network with them.

You may know a few individuals who are otherwise shielded from the outside world but suddenly you know they are on the plane to someplace because of their tweets. You also know what projects they are currently on.

Twitter also makes people more reachable.

Sure, people who choose to remain inaccessible will stay so, but if you’ve been on Twitter for some time, you should agree that they are more likely to read what you have to say because there are more opportunities to @reply and respond to their tweets.

The fact that people decide to become more responsive in Twitter will help them build relationships with their prospects and customers too.

7. Go Beyond Twitter

Twitter is now too significant to overlook, but that doesn’t mean you should underestimate the power of face-to-face communication.

It is easier to establish trust if you directly meet with an individual rather than online. If your brand visibility is important to you, you may want to go offline and visit industry events. Talk to real people.

This kind of interaction will often lead to many great things in the future.


Your existing influence in Twitter certainly matters. However, if you have to start from scratch, the tips above will give you a head start.

A business owner with a good number of followers may be more successful to get people retweet their message, but if you go out and network with people, join in the conversation and post interesting content, I’m not surprised your tweets will spread further.

I witness it everyday. It’s that powerful.

Personal branding is an interesting topic. Chances are different people have different opinions about it. What do you think about personal branding using Twitter? What have you learned so far? Please share your experience so others can learn from it too.

Hendry Lee helps bloggers overcome strategic and technological challenges in starting and growing their blogs.

He also writes about social media on his blog Blog Tips for a Better Blog – Blog Building University. While you are there, download your free eBook and subscribe to the blogging e-course where he reveals his blogging and writing secrets!

Follow Hendry at Twitter: @hendrylee.


  • April 21, 2009

    I must say Hendry these tips are awesome.

    I’m haven’t use much of twitter until of late, I hope I’m not too late and these tips will help me make better use of twitter.

    Great stuff.

  • April 21, 2009

    Great tips Hendry :)

    You really “get” this Twitter thing!

    (I particularly liked seeing #7 – being more social in your social networking ;)

  • April 21, 2009

    I should think about my own brand. I try to collect and share social media information along with helping people interested in this area if possible.

    This is a really cool article. Thank you :)

  • April 21, 2009

    Nice article.

    I believe good personal branding utilize all five senses; see, hear, touch, smell and taste.

    Some of these senses you have to be a little creative with on Twitter. And if you want to promote your biz, website or blog you want to make sure you make sure that provide the right connection in your tweets.

    Cheers… ;)

  • April 21, 2009

    These tips should work well in all types of social media, even forums. Especially when we’re new, to grab attention within the crowds literally means being an initiator, either to help or get into conversations. This is what I observed in forums, and now in Twitter too. It certainly would be rewarding if we could shape up our personalities, be somebody who’s worth the follow, and contribute to our network while earning the trust, and friendship from others, and vice versa. ^^

    Social Media/Blogging

  • April 21, 2009

    Twitteverest ( is a good tool for searching famous twitterers, and … :)

  • April 21, 2009

    I was first introduced to personal branding through Life Hacks, which eventually lead me to the Persnal Branding Blog, which really is quite a useful website for learning about Personal Branding. It’s becoming more and more important as technology becomes an even greater part of our lives. An online persona/identity is important and can be very beneficial in the long term if not in the short term, although there are obviously many benefits short term as well. Being interactive online is not only useful but also fun.

    On Twitter, being useful, worth reading is what makes you stand out. I whole heartedly agree, that ti’s all about the content that you put out.

    For a while, I didn’t really understand the benefits and potential of Twitter. Cruising around Twitter and reading about it on websites like this one [it's a great website, a family member wanted to learn more about twitter on his own time after yesterday's news on CBC and CNN on the Twitter War between CNN and Ashton Kutcher, and I directed him to this website *grins*].

    Great article. =)

  • April 21, 2009

    yepp! Every one has a personal brand…whether they create it on purpose or not! I teach social networking and marketing and rule #1 is “think about what you want to be known for!”
    Are you the complainer?
    Are you helpful, conversational, etc?
    Are you building relationships or shouting “gimme gimme!” In other words: “visit my website! buy my widget! etc”

    You are creating a brand. The question is whether it’s what you want it to be :)

  • April 21, 2009

    Wow, what a meaty and well put together post. Yes, every second we spend online we are furthering our personal brand. What we do, how we communicate, and how we extend ourselves to others are all an aggregate part of our eventual success, or lack thereof.

  • April 21, 2009

    Great tips! Though I have been on Twitter for a while, I am still searching for my voice and my brand as it relates to my website and blog. I try to be conversational and helpful but I know I can do more.

    The Twitter search function is definately a great resource for me.

  • April 21, 2009

    Thanks all for your feedback. Everyday I’m still amazed at how people use Twitter for business and other things.

    It’s really interesting to see where it goes, considering that it is still in its infancy.

  • April 21, 2009

    Solid Info
    I love this Blog!

  • April 21, 2009

    Great article! We all are sales people. We may not be aware of it. We all also have a brand and we do branding everyday. The question that we need to ask is ‘Does my brand represent the person I want to be?’

  • April 21, 2009

    Great thoughts, I really enjoyed the tips! This blog is excellent – and I always enjoy the information I gain here.

  • April 21, 2009

    All good advice…as you say – personal branding is so broad. In general – your brand will benefit most from doing good s$%t and telling people about it! Twitter is great for telling people about the good s$%&, but you still need to do good s$%t! So get out there and make a difference to others people lives!!

  • April 21, 2009

    Very helpful and informative! Great article Hendrylee.. Thank You!

  • April 22, 2009

    Awesome Tips, thanks for sharing!! (a Twitter Newbie)

  • April 22, 2009

    very cool
    very relevant in this day and age

  • April 22, 2009

    Great post. I have been looking at signing up for an account. After reading your blog i am going to get mine now. Great stuff.

  • April 23, 2009

    Than you for the post, its great,

  • May 15, 2009

    Great tips Hendry and so true… the world is your kaleidoscope, the pictures of your ever moving thoughts… thoughts create things… like branding… so what are you thinking?

  • May 25, 2009

    I haven’t gotten around Twitter as I am always pressed for time but Twitter is becoming more and more charming for me since there have been too many applications for Twitter that has been coming up today. I will definitely set up my own Twitter profile for my personal branding efforts one of these days. thanks. =)

  • July 23, 2009

    Good points. In twitter, your tweets defines who you are. Just be who you truly are. Use your won style.

  • December 2, 2009

    Great article! I am including a link below that expands on the material in the article above and includes additional easy and free ways to build your personal brand.

    Hope you find it helpful! Good luck!

  • September 14, 2010

    Hi there, really interesting Twitter article..I like the idea of using questions during the day…I try to share interesting content as opposed to solely tweeting my own! It’s nice not to be all about me for a change!! :)

    All the best!

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