5 Free Ways to Build Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn


Do you want to build your visibility on LinkedIn? Wondering which LinkedIn features can help? LinkedIn can help you build a professional presence that showcases your work to the people you most want to connect with. In this article, you’ll discover five free ways to help you build a personal brand on LinkedIn. #1: Optimize […]

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– Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

Vine’s new ‘Watch’ feature makes it less loopy (but more personal)

Vine just got a lot more awesome, and a bit less loopy. With today’s update, a new ‘Watch’ feature on profiles will help you dig all the way through someone’s Vine history. Watch lets you see everything a person has Vined (or revined). Each video loops once, but holding on a playing video keeps it looping until you let go. It’s a good way to find out — in short order — if you really want to follow an account. If you see a lot of ‘get a free iPhone’ revines, maybe you won’t be into their feed. You’ll also…

This story continues at The Next Web
Social Media – The Next Web

Marketing Technology: This Time It’s Personal

Before I get to the point of my post, bonus points if you knew that the line “this time, it’s personal” was the tagline from the 1980s cinematic tour-de-force Jaws: The Revenge. I for one am ashamed I knew that. 
But be that as it may, I want you to take a minute and indeed go back in time to actually right around the same time this movie came out – about 30 years ago. In the mid-late Eighties we began to see the initial inklings of technology with its bells and yes, whistles. All sorts of technology was coming on the scene at that time. Walkman anyone? How about a VCR? These were high-tech cutting edge technologies for sure. 
As for marketing technologies, well the promise there was personalization. I can recall reading a survey or study as to the effect that personalizing a letter to someone could have on the response rate in a direct mail campaign for example. Lord, am I dating myself. But that was indeed the promise. It was, to use a common word we use today: the deliverable. 
With each passing year the promise of personalization – and I mean true personalization, going way beyond simply saying “Dear Steve,” on a letter or email was being touted by tech vendors far and wide.
We, as marketers were going to get to experience the concept of customer centricity, gaining a 360-degree view, managing the end-to-end customer experience, 1:1 relationships, and using data to truly understand customer needs and desires.
However something happened on the way to personalized marketing nirvana.
But as the saying goes… that was then and this is now.
Good Things Come In Threes
On Tuesday, April 26, 2016 at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas during the Modern Marketing Experience you will have the chance to hear directly from three marketing leaders of three iconic brands how they are using Modern Marketing to make the customer experience more personal while achieving dramatic results, and delivering true value to their bottom lines.
Ryan Deutsch, DVP Digital Marketing of Sears Holdings Corporation, Nick Cerise, CMO of Western Union Business Solutions and Eric Reynolds, SVP & CMO of The Clorox Company will be joined by Kevin Akeroyd, GM & SVP Oracle Marketing Cloud in a must-see keynote aptly titled The Global Corner Store: Customer Experience Comes Full Circle.
If that wasn’t enough of a reason to attend, marketers who come to Modern Marketing Experience will gain the knowledge and experience they need to make a difference in their companies and careers through insights from experts in marketing automation, social marketing, content marketing, and big data.
The event includes three days of immersive sessions covering the strategies and tactics needed to make modern marketing succeed, including how businesses can best manage and activate data at the right time with customers and prospects.
Oh yeah, there’s also Tyra Banks and The Goo Goo Dolls, who will also be there.

And how could I forget the 10th Annual Markie Awards celebrating excellence in modern marketing which will feature a private performance by the award-winning band, Bastille. 

So don't just sit there thinking about what it would be like to attend, actually go register right now — yes there's still time — for Modern Marketing Experience, the event that offers attendees an unprecedented opportunity to learn from industry experts and gain insight from colleagues.

Oracle Blogs | Oracle Marketing Cloud

10 Free Photography Resource Websites For Personal & Client Projects

This week I’ve prepared a list of  websites that provide free photos registered under the Creative Commons license. There are a lot of big websites which serve as go-to resources for online publishers and designers, but there are also other sites which are not so well known yet are treasure troves of great-looking photos.

Royalty-Free Stock Photos For Commercial Use

It’s true. You can use the photos from these websites for commercial purposes and repurpose them in any way without crediting the author. Hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we do.

Realistic Shots

Finding good photos with a free license for personal and commercial use is hard. But let’s face it, the chances of finding great free images that actually look realistic are close to none. Or are they?

Realistic Shots

Henry Reyes, head of Commit 2 Desing and the guy behind Realistic Shots, has put up a collection of some of the most authentically looking pics on the Web. Now, you don’t have to agree on dull, brushed out images with layered with unnatural filters. Just head to Reyes’ website and browse through the abundance of free imagery with crisp, genuine look.

Grab some free photos here.

Photo Pin

Have you ever dreamed of being able to search through all the Creative Commons images without having to browse multiple websites to find what you want?


We have some good news for you! Photo Pin makes all of this possible and more. It allows users to easily select photos and share them in their blogs. Photo Pin is a website for all creatives and designers who wish to find images with an open license and quickly use them anywhere. The site allows users to choose from multiple image sizes and provides author credits, neatly distributed in HTML.

Grab some free photos here.

Foodies Feed

Finding mouth-watering images of meals, desserts, salads and grilled food is now a lot easier with the help of Foodies Feed.

Foodies Feed

If you have a hard time discovering food imagery with a free license, Foodies Feed is the right place. Subscribe to the site’s newsletter to get your weekly dose of food photos and browse through over 900 pics of veggies, baking goods, meat, fish and lots more.

Grab some free photos here.

IM Free

Check out one of the web’s top curated collections of free imagery.

IM Free

The photos published in IM Free are aimed at web developers who are searching for quality images for commercial use. This website is a one-stop shop for users who wish to find images licensed under the Creative Commons which can be used for all kinds of web projects.

Grab some free photos here.

The Stocks

Another gem in the free stock photography sphere.

The Stocks

What The Stocks does is collecting some of the web’s best free images and putting them in all in one place. The photo gallery is divided into over twenty sections, each representing the specific website from which the photos have been taken.

Grab some free photos here.

Pond 5 ( Public Domain )

While most of the photos in Pond 5 have a paid license, there is a Public Domain section on the site that features some great images which can be used absolutely anywhere on print and web projects for free.


This premier library of royalty free imagery features a gorgeous collection of vintage photography taken straight from your grandparents’ attic. On the serious side, the images have high definition.

Grab some free photos here.


Searching for realistic travel photography that has a crisp and natural style?


CreativeVix is a really small library that features photos from various locations. The free photo gallery is quite modest in size but features some great images that are worth the visit.

Grab some free photos here.

Libre Shot

Libre Shot is appealing thanks to its set of natural-looking photos that features everyday objects and landscapes.

Libre Shot

Martin Vorel, the guy that created Libre Shot, encourages everybody to use his photography in their projects without worrying about copyright restrictions. He aims to make Libre Shot an even better place for free photography, so don’t hesitate to drop him a line if you have any ideas or suggestions.

Grab some free photos here.


This website features the wonderful photography of Ryan McGuire and is one of the many amazing projects of Belle Designs.


Gratisography features a set free, high-resolution pictures that can be used for personal and commercial use. The owner adds new photos each week, so stay tuned for new additions.

Grab some free photos here.


This lovely free photo site is created by Markus Spiske, a professional photographer from Germany.


Also known as the authentic photo provider, RaumRot will amaze you with a beautiful collection of imagery that aims at realism and uncoined appearance. The site offers 24 image categories and counting and features all kinds of photos

Grab some free photos here.

Kaboom Pics

If you’re a designer or creative who’s in need od some high definition, free photography, you need to check out this huge library.


Kaboom Pics updates its gallery daily and adds a new set of images to satisfy even the pickiest designer. Browse through over 170 pages of royalty-free stock photography registered under the Creative Commons license and use them for you personal or commercial projects.

Grab some free photos here.

Also check out 28 Personal Portfolio Websites using Portraits and Background Photos

The post 10 Free Photography Resource Websites For Personal & Client Projects appeared first on SpyreStudios.


10 Common Personal Branding Mistakes to Avoid

No Mistake photo from ShutterstockFor many people, especially creative types and those involved in business, building a personal brand is one of the most important steps towards success. This is also something that is never “finished.”

Building a personal brand is on ongoing project that can easily eat into your work time—if you let it.

However, it is possible to build your brand without letting the process consume you. It just takes organization and self-control.

No matter how much effort you put into building your brand, certain mistakes can make the process less successful. No matter what stage you are in the brand building process, keep in mind these mistakes—and avoid them at all costs.

1. Not Being Real

Being fake, whether you are trying to be a fake version of yourself or trying on a completely new persona, will make building your persona much more difficult. Additionally, it is exhausting to try to keep up with all the details you create. Like your mom told you when you were a kid, be yourself.

2. Not Taking a Stand

If you refuse to take a stand on anything, people are not going to know who you are or why they should trust your opinions. Do not be wishy-washy. Share your opinions and let others determine how they feel about them.

3. Jumping Into Things

You know the old adage “measure twice, cut once?” This is very true when building your brand. Think about each action you take and how these actions affect your overall brand strategy. A poorly written blog post, negative encounter on social media or other seemingly insignificant action can have a big impact on your overall brand.

4. Choosing Quantity over Quality

Whether you are talking about connections on Linkedin, blog posts or business cards passed out at a live event, focusing on quantity instead of quality is a rookie mistake. Make every action you take count and then it won’t matter nearly as much how many actions you take. One quality lead is worth 100 leads that do not have much hope.

5. Focusing on Fame

Personal branding is not about becoming famous (or even “internet” famous.) It is about sharing the genuine you with those who encounter you. Do not think about branding as a way to put your name out there, think about it as the way you control what information IS out there associated with your name.

6. Forgetting that Branding is an Everyday Activity

Working on your personal brand is not something you do once a year, month or even week. Branding is part of everything you do. Make building your brand part of your daily plan—it will take less effort this way also.

7. Keeping Your Brand Online

While online branding is very important, there are still many organizations that prefer to do business the old-fashioned way. Take time to make those business cards, schedule meetings and around for face time with those who are important to you. This will show that you are someone who is committed to doing business right.

8. Doing it All Yourself

Depending on your particular branding needs, you may not want to try to “do it all” yourself. Build a community of likeminded people, reach out within your industry and make those important connections. By doing this, some of your branding will be done for you.

9. Being Selfish

While branding will ultimately benefit you, think about ways you can build your brand while helping others. You’ll brand yourself as a generous, caring individual and you put yourself in the position of helping others get ahead. It’s a win-win situation.

10. Not Checking Results

It is possible to become so focused on the brand building process that you forget to check in and see what is happening. Utilize analytics tools to find out how you appear to others. This can save you time and money when you quit using techniques that aren’t successful.

Every person is different. As such, every personal brand will be different.

While avoiding the mistakes above is key, the most important thing you can do is to have a strategy in mind.

When you know what you plan to do with your brand and work on implementing it, you are less likely to stray from your long-term goals for yourself—and your brand.

Personal Branding Blog – Stand Out In Your Career

11 Qualities Your Personal Brand Should Convey to Employers

How important is the personal brand of your key hires? What do you look out for (bad or good)?

The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Authenticity

Scott PetingaI am transparent with people from day one and what we do matters to our clients. I can’t afford to work with people who are contrived, pretentious or interested in company politics. In an entrepreneurial environment, you have to lay it all on the line. If your team doesn’t always tell you the truth, your business won’t last.

Scott PetingaThe Scott Petinga Group

2. Adaptability and Enthusiasm

Simon CasutoWhen hiring people, I always recognize those who have diverse and interesting resumes/past experience. Young companies that are still in the process of growing need employees who are quick to adapt to new situations and enthusiastic about change.

Simon CasutoeLearning Mind

3. The Real Deal

Brian HonigmanA strong personal brand in a potential hire is a sign of someone who not only claims to be an expert at their craft, but practices what they preach. It often provides more insights into the working habits of a key hire, and shows that they are likely the type of person who will add value beyond the job description. This qualification is especially important at a growing company.

Brian HonigmanMarketing Consultant

4. Consistency Between Personal and Company Brand

Basha RubinA great startup is born out of a great team, and you need to see that the way your team represents themselves publicly is consistent with your company culture and brand. With that in mind, not everyone in your company needs to have a personal brand if their role is more internal. They just need to fit in with the team.

Basha RubinPriori Legal

5. Respected Members of the Tech/Startup Community

Noah GlassIt’s important that hires are respected members of the tech/startup community. Olo looks for engineers who are strong contributors to open source platforms like GitHub and non-engineers who have built a complimentary network. We go far beyond LinkedIn to do extensive reference checks that utilize our own deep network. That helps us to get it right with new hires more often than not.

Noah GlassOlo

6. It Depends on the Position

Travis SteffenIf the hire is public-facing — meaning they’re dealing with clients, customers, partners or key suppliers, the personal brand of a key hire is much more important than if they’re, say, a developer. In this case, the most important things are their communication, skill set, experience and ability to collaborate. Though obviously if you do something obscene or stupid, it always matters.

Travis SteffenMentorMojo

7. Value Alignment

David EhrenbergiReputation and alignment on values matters a great deal. Specifically, we look for candidates with three key qualities: solid skills and knowledge, an ability to manage themselves and prioritize their work, and passion. If they’re not excited about our business, they won’t be a good fit.

David EhrenbergEarly Growth Financial Services

8. Well-Crafted Social Profiles

Joshua MarchAnyone looking to work with your company in a significant way will be all over the social profiles of your senior execs. It’s essential that they understand the nuances of how to position themselves in the correct way, and aren’t making mistakes that mark them out as newbies.

Joshua MarchConversocial

9. A Solid Personal Brand

Chris CancialosiDigital presence is your calling card and resume all wrapped into one. Your personal brand extends well beyond professionalism. What’s onyour social media accounts? All of these create an impression on employees and potential customers. We do an audit of all potential candidate’s online presence to better understand who they are and what they bring to the table (the good and bad).

Chris CancialosiGothamCulture

10. Tech Savviness

Nanxi LiuWe found that the best business development and sales candidates are are also excellent at marketing themselves and have solid personal brands. It’s a major plus if a potential business hire has their own personal website because it shows that they are tech savvy. For engineering candidates, we look at the quality of their Github repositories and StackOverflow profiles.

Nanxi LiuEnplug

11. Awards or Other Accolades

Andy KaruzaTypically awards or accolades show that their peers think they are good at their job. Instead of guessing what somebody is capable of, let their accomplishments speak for themselves. It’s like buying a 5-star product on Amazon — you kind of know what you’re getting in advance based on others’ reviews.

Andy KaruzaBrandbuddee

Featured Photo

Personal Branding Blog – Stand Out In Your Career

9 Questions to Help You Define Your Personal Brand

The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

Lindsey Pollak

1. Who Do I Admire?

While you want to develop a personal brand that is authentic to you, take note of the people you most admire (from any industry, time period or generation) and note the characteristics or experiences that draw you to those people. These are the building blocks of yourbrand – or the brand you aspire to have.   – Lindsey PollakMillennial Workplace Expert

Amanda Barbara

2. What Are My Goals?

Start with your goals. Ask “What are my personal goals and what steps do I need to take to achieve them?”   – Amanda L. BarbaraPubslush

3. What Drives Me?

Josh WeissFigure out what drives you and define your personal brand around it. This authenticity will make you stand out.   – Josh WeissBluegala


4. What Makes Me Different?

Sean KellyTo start defining your personal brand, first ask yourself, “What makes me different from everyone else” and “What gets me excited in the morning?” I’m a firm believer in Simon Sinek’s “Golden Circle.” I believe that it’s more important knowing why you do something (that is, what drives you) than what you do. Figure out what makes you different and why you’re doing what you do. Those are the best places to start.   – Sean KellyHUMAN

5. What Do Others Think About Me?

Mike Ambassador BrunyIt’s about getting clear about your essence. One of many questions you can ask yourself is, “What do others usually come to me for that I think isn’t a big deal?” Often those closest to us see things about ourselves that we can’t or simply don’t acknowledge.   – Mike Ambassador BrunyAmbassador Bruny Dot Com

6. What Do I Want to Be?

Andy KaruzaThe first part of defining your personal brand is determining who exactly it is you want to be. From there, you can figure out the steps you need to take in order to become that person. For instance, perhaps you want to be a fashion guru. Once that’s defined, you can work backwards to determine what it takes to be that guru. This might be having good fashion sense, hosting fashion events and consulting others about this subject matter.   – Andy KaruzaBrandbuddee

7. What Is My Oxygen?

jenny_blakeWhat in your life can you simply not live without? What brought you immense joy as a little kid? These are the threads of your personalbrand that you can follow to find the unique value and perspective that you bring to the world. My oxygen: reading, sharing, systematizing, business-building, great meals with friends, in-depth conversations and long walks through New York City with my headphones on (pretending I’m in a movie). What is yours?   – Jenny BlakeJenny Blake

8. What Are My Personal Values?

Nanxi LiuThe first question I would ask is “What are my personal values?” Am I the hardcore women-in-tech-advocate who prioritizes helping others or am I the Jill-of-all-trades who gets involved with music, business and sports? Maybe I’m both.   – Nanxi LiuEnplug


9. What Adjectives Do I Use to Define Myself?

doreen-blochAsking what adjectives you use to describe yourself is a great starting point for getting to the specifics of your personal brand. Start by listing out adjectives you feel represent you, or ask friends and family to chime in. Once you pick a few adjectives, you can begin to construct your personal brand – transforming abstract concepts into concrete representations of who you are.   – Doreen BlochPoshly Inc.

Feature Photo

Personal Branding Blog – Stand Out In Your Career

4 Steps to Build Influence for Your Personal Brand

Influence photo from ShutterstockThese days it’s not about who you know online, but rather who gets to know your personal brand. In order to create opportunities for your business or new job it is important to recognize that making the right connections is a process of building a rapport.

How can your personal brand connect with influencers in a meaningful way? The main answer is through building sustainable relationships that will last. A simple follow or handshake is not enough any more, and with a little effort and focused approach you can attract the right people to your networks.

In today’s online world it’s all about meeting the needs of others, and taking the spotlight off of ourselves. There are several ways to attract followers to your personal brand and create a lasting good impression.

Steps to Building Great Relationships

Projecting a good image for your personal brand starts with a positive focus. Start these steps today to make great connections:

Step 1 – Attitude matters – How do you respond to others? Check your feedback and replies and see how people are reacting. A negative attitude is just as contagious as a positive one.

Step 2 – Compliment others – Social media makes it easy to reach out and send a positive reply to an influencer. What can you remark on? A great article? Or perhaps a new product or achievement? Find out what they are up to and respond in kind.

Step 3 – Know what questions to ask – Generic conversations can be a dead-end for cultivating relationships. Avoid ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or close-ended questions, and try starting a dialogue with ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘when,’ ‘where,’ or ‘why’ instead.

Step 4 – Remember your new connections – Pay attention to who your new audience is and bring up something about them that makes a human connection. This always begins with their name, and then focusing on their interests and activities next.

As online communication evolves it is important for your personal brand to build positive relationships. By projecting a good attitude and paying attention to your audience, you can attract more opportunities that will grow and last.

Personal Branding Blog – Stand Out In Your Career

How to Research Your Personal Brand

Know Brand photo from ShutterstockYou’ve recently heard that, if you want to impress employers, you need a strong personal brand. Although you have an idea of what personal branding is, you have no idea how to identify your brand or how to build one.

When it comes to building a strong personal brand, your first step is to figure out who you are as an individual, as well as a professional. Although this might take a little soul searching and reflection, it’s one of the most important steps of building a strong personal brand.

As you begin thinking about your personal brand, it’s a good idea to do some research. This research consists of finding things that inspire who you are as an individual and finding out what others think of you when they hear your name.

To identify what you want to display in your personal brand, here are four ways to research your personal brand:

1. Find words that describe your brand.

A great start to finding inspiration for your personal brand is to make a list of words that describe who you are as a person. Think of words that describe your personality, values, and worth ethic. As your list begins to grow, start narrowing it down into the words you want to be recognized by.

For example, you determine that you are a creative, ambitious, and trustworthy individual. These are words you can use in your brand when building your portfolio, writing your LinkedIn summary, and participating in conversations on social media.

2. Ask your friends, family, and mentors to describe your brand.

Another great way to research your personal brand is by asking what others think of you when they hear your name.

For example, ask one of your close friends to describe you in three words. Next, ask a relative to describe you in three words. As you continue to ask more people about how they think of you, use these adjectives as a source of inspiration for your brand.

3. Create a list of what you like and don’t like about your brand.

If you discover that there are some things you want to change about how people perceive your brand, make a list of what you like and don’t like about your reputation.

Once you create your list, learn how you can emphasize your positive qualities and improve your negative qualities. For example, if you discover that you are too much of a perfectionist and it’s keeping you from being successful, find ways in your life where you can become more flexible and easygoing.

4. Do research on what people say about your brand online.

If you’re actively participating on social media or have a blog, pay close attention to what people say about your brand online.

Do you receive endorsements on LinkedIn? Are people commenting on your blog posts? These are all bits of feedback you can use to shape your personal brand.

Researching your personal brand is an important step in building a strong reputation for yourself. As you continue to learn more about your qualities and how people perceive your personality and talents, use these strengths to create a unique personal brand.

Have you done research on your personal brand? What did you discover yourself during the process?

Personal Branding Blog – Stand Out In Your Career