November 17, 2020 by Kirsten Nelson

TIDE Generator Episode 13: Innovating Your Online Persona | AVIXA

While networking remains relegated to mostly remote and virtual means these days, our on-screen personas matter even more. And as professional colleagues get a glimpse of each other’s personal lives in video meetings, it might be the perfect time to think about working on your branding. As many seek new work opportunities, how can the thoughtful design of your online and social media representation help to create new connections and build your business? What are the ways that your personal style can become a brand that makes you memorable? Can the principles of experience design apply to ourselves?

Now that we consume everything through a screen, it’s time we looked at experience design from a new angle — our online persona. TIDE Generator Host Kirsten Nelson talks with guests Rainy Fu, Art Director and Founder of Design Never Sleeps, Chris Neto, Market Development Manager with Starin, a Midwich Company and Hanane Abdalla, Audience Engagement Manager with AVIXA about branding design and the many ways to make ourselves memorable online — in a good way.

Throughout the pandemic, Rainy Fu has been teaching a workshop for people and small businesses who in some cases have zero social media presence — at a time when people urgently need to build up their business in a remote world. How can building a personal brand online help to build a company’s business?

Rainy Fu: I truly believe that for anybody's social media account right now, it’s all about capturing the process rather than the final product. Because if you are waiting until everything is perfect, you would not post anything. And that counters the whole idea of showing how you’re finding your own voice through the process.

As the creator of the #AVintheAM hashtag and much more for the #AVtweeps community, Chris Neto has seen firsthand how AV professionals can build audiences on social media. What’s his advice for persuading tech-centric people to think beyond the gear and get into creating engaging content?

Chris Neto: I learned how to market on the street. As a DJ, I had to create flyers. If the nightclub was packed, Chris got another gig. So I quickly learned that I have to learn how to market…. The difference between that and what we do on Twitter today is that that mixtape is now – here's my Spotify list. It's a digital transformation of the physical of what you did then. And staying consistent with your brand is how I've done it.

In addition to her role with AVIXA, Hanane Adballa has taught classes for some reluctant social media users, and she’s also led workshops for minority women about creating economic opportunity through social media. For those who think they can’t show up on social media as their true selves, she has some advice for how to use this challenging time to build your online persona:

Hanane Abdalla: This time has really revealed to me how important connection is to all of us…. The ultimate goal is to feel like you're seen and heard. And I came into this pandemic like, this is an opportunity for all of us to shine and not everybody feels that way because when you go online, it feels like it's a popularity contest…. But it takes time. It’s not gonna happen overnight.

An additional driver for increasing your social media presence is that potential clients are looking at your social media when they’re making buying decisions:

Hanane Abdalla: Values matter. People are looking at every single individual, and determining from a sales standpoint, whether or not they're going to take their investment of money or time into that brand…. There’s a Nielsen study where most consumers in the U.S. consult a social media channel. And there’s another statistic where information found on your social media channel can influence about 75% of B2B transactions.

But it’s not all business. It’s important to bring your true personality and interests to connect with audiences online:

Rainy Fu: All of us are trying to find out more than just what is transactional. We each have an individual story to tell. That's not just a cultural fit, in terms of we're not just fitting into a culture, but what is your cultural advantage? Each one of us has our own culture advantage.

Listen for more on advice on how to leverage personal brand right now, in the moment, and use it as a differentiator in the search for new work in the AV industry. But here’s one thing you can do today:

Chris Neto: Having empathy, knowing that current conditions with the pandemic, it is affecting everybody in different ways…. And give 10 times before you ask once for anything. You are a resource for people. Look at yourself as a resource.

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About Kirsten Nelson

Kirsten Nelson has written about audio, video and experience design in all its permutations for more than 20 years. As a writer and content developer for AVIXA, Kirsten connects stories, people and technology through a variety of media. She also directs program content for the TIDE Conference and Technology Innovation Stage at InfoComm. For three years, she also created conversations around emerging media and experiential design at InfoComm's Center Stage. Prior to that, Kirsten was the editor of SCN magazine for 17 years.