My footprint...

When was the last time you Googled yourself?  Some may call this the ultimate act of self-indulgence.  The supreme showing of narcissism.  I call it market research.  MY market research.  Jeffrey Gitomer, Salesman Extraordinaire made the statement in his Little Red Book of Selling that YOU ARE A BRAND.  Think about that for a minute.  Say it out-loud.  It is an interesting concept.  If I am a brand then what is my product line?  My marketing strategy?  How will I market this brand?  These are all questions I asked myself around 5 years ago.  The beginning of my marketing efforts came by way of a Website, then a blog, Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, etc...  My fascination with my brand grew into a love affair with Social Media and thus my product line and branding was complete.  Fast forward 5 years to now. How does one determine the value of their brand?  Well naturally, Google being the barometer of all things search related takes care of that for you.

I actually did this last week and the results were quite telling .  On the first page of results I held 8 of 10 initial results.  And the properties that held those results may or may not conform with preconceptions of what would take first honors. Believe it or not, in my case- my personal website takes top honors (thank you Jeffrey Gittomer). If you are a brand, then where better to base your brand than your own website. This surprised me a bit since I am on virtually all of the other social media sites out there. I would have figured with Facebook's popularity it would have been at the top of the results, but instead took top honors. Second down my list of notable sites was my blog. I am admittedly a less-then-stellar blogger and this too came as a surprise. Shortly after I started musicalfoster a good friend helped me start my blog aptly named "Is This Binding" (I work in legal negotiations every day- not an S&M blog). So of all of the great sites I am smattering my information onto, the two most important search results were the ones I actually created?!?!? Number three was LinkedIn. If you are not on LinkedIn you should be. This is probably single-handedly the most important website I use for business development.

So what does all this mean? I know that the staunch techies in the crowd will have all sorts of technical explanations as to why Google would prioritize results this way for "Randall Foster." Here is my layman's interpretation of the results. Despite the popularity of Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc. nothing replaces the kind of personal branding you can get from a site created by you, about you, and with content provided by you. Nothing trumps original material. Granted, traffic, metatags, and a whole slew of other explanations come to play with why things wind up where they do in search results but as far as representing yourself to the World at large, nothing brands you better than YOU. So go forth and be the best brand ambassador you can be!