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Social media is here, it's as much a part of our culture as television and movies.  We drink it in everyday.

While you're drinking in all those tweets and YouTube videos, why not take a cue from the social media world and create a social brand?

One of the best moves you can make for your brand is to let it shine brightly in the virtual world.

The first step in creating a great online personal brand is to take an inventory. What comes up when you do a Google search with your name in parenthesis?

Analyze the search results. Would you be pleased if your employer saw everything in that search? What about prospective employers? If you can "fix" some bad brand messages, do so asap. Think of the pictures you have on Facebook, for example. Change any that send bad brand messages. If there's not much showing up in your search, then you've got an opportunity to enhance your brand.

First step, start a Twitter page or a blog.  But, be very very selective about what you say. Think of the brand trait(s) you want associated with your name.  Only post on your blog or tweet about a single topic that will help your audience associate you with one thing. You want your online brand to be professional and focused.

If you're a marketer, don't blog about classic VW cars; blog about marketing. If you're a software engineer, don't tweet about politics, tweet about APIs and SaaS.

Zero in on one topic and one brand trait. And most importantly, imagine the president of your company is reading every word you write! He or she might be! 

Next post, we'll look at further steps you can take to help your online personal brand really stand out.

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Loraine Antrim is co-founder of Core Ideas Communication, a communications consulting agency focused on presentation development and media training for C-suite executives. Core Ideas enables executives to package and communicate relevant and compelling messages in their presentations and interviews. Loraine's expertise is killing butterflies. You know, butterflies: the feeling in your stomach before you have to present or speak in public. Loraine works with executives to create a powerful story, memorable messages and an authentic delivery style. Confidence kicks in, and butterflies scatter. Nice work killing butterflies! You can contact Loraine at: manager at coreideas.com