Branding Yourself as a Data-Driven Professional – Why It Matters…

Picture of Lillian Pierson, P.E.

Lillian Pierson, P.E.

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If you’re like most people, when you think about the idea of branding yourself as a data-driven professional, your next thought goes something like, “me, a brand? I don’t even know what to do with that concept.” If so, I can totally relate. As recently as 2011, I didn’t have a Facebook account. I didn’t even have any social media accounts, let alone have a brand or an online following. I preferred to live offline, thinking “why would I want to share my life with people who are not already here and in it?”. In short, I valued my privacy.

Branding Yourself as a Data-Driven Professional and why it matters

It’s really hard to get a job when no one knows who you are.

This all changed though when I had to go on a job hunt and I discovered that it’s really hard to get a job when no one knows who you are. I read a few books and decided to put up a few social accounts, as they suggested. The easy part (opening the accounts) was done, but I didn’t even begin figuring out how to leverage them until another 6 months down the road.

…And for a “no one” like I was, now you can see why I advocate the power of brand-building for modern professionals.

Long story short, these days I am most active on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. I have met soooo many incredible professionals through the work I do on my brand. I’ve now got about 350,000 data enthusiasts following my work through social media. By late 2013, my brand provided enough business opportunities that I could quit my day job and open my own business. On average days lately, at least 3 business opportunities show up in my inbox, per day. And for a “no one” like I was, now you can see why I advocate the power of branding yourself as a data-driven professional.

Why it’s important to have your own branded space

Why Branding Yourself as a Data-Driven Professional MattersYou will benefit from a personal-professional brand in 5 main ways. Those are:

  1. Strong brands create a sense of individuality and “separateness” in the marketplace, so that your clients can easily differentiate you from your competitors.

  2. The goal of personal branding is to be known for who you are as a professional and what you stand for. Your brand reflects who you are, your opinions, values, and beliefs. These are visibly expressed by what you say and do, and how you do it. Your brand informs the world about who you are as a professional and as a person.

  3. The branding process allows you to take control of your identity and influence how others perceive you and the services you offer.

  4. A strong personal professional brand effortlessly attracts clients and opportunities. By branding yourself as a data-driven professional, you position yourself in the mind of the marketplace as the service provider of choice to dominate the market!
  5. Branding yourself as a data-driven professional allows you to gain name recognition in your area of expertise where it counts the most – in your customer’s mind. Branding helps you make lasting impressions and be super-rewarded for your individuality.

The first step to branding yourself as a data-driven professional

The first step in developing a brand is deciding where it will live. You need a central home on the web. At first that could be something simple, like your LinkedIn profile.

Inevitably I recommend people set up their own self-hosted WordPress site, so that they can own and control their own personal space.

You can also go with 3rd party platforms like Wix or Weebly, but again – you will be limited on what you can do, because you don’t technically own your property (it’s more like you’re leasing it).

In my coaching program, I spend 4 to 6 months working with clients to help them establish a rock-solid presence while they get themselves trained with the skills they need to slay their competition. In this mentoring program, when introducing concepts related to branding yourself as a data-driven professional, I advise mentees to include at least the following elements in their websites:

  • A (great) avatar and bio box
  • An about page
  • A blog
  • A (stellar) tagline
  • A logo showcase
  • Plenty of calls-to-action
  • Social media widgets

Why social media is important as a technical professional

When it comes to social media for professionals, all networks are not the same.

Social media is important because it’s the medium across which you meet new like-minded professionals with whom you can align. It is the gateway to brand exposure and it’s a place where you can give back to your community. When it comes to social media for professionals, all networks are not the same. Each network has its own set of micro-communities. Each network needs its own type of content and approach. It takes time and effort to figure these out, but online courses and books can be helpful in this process. Like I said, the 3 networks I like to use are:

  • LinkedIn

    LinkedIn is the place to be for all things data professional. With Microsoft’s recent acquisition of the platform, it has what it needs to accomplish its mission. And in case you hadn’t heard, LinkedIn aims to be the one-stop shop for all things professional. To achieve that goal, they’ve acquired or are building/maintaining modules for: social networking, freelance marketplace transactions, online training, and more.

    I do everything in my power to give back to my thriving community over on LinkedIn, because I know most of these people are like me – hard-working and dedicated to their profession. I like people like that!

  • Instagram

    I used to LOVE Instagram and there is a really solid technical community established on the platform. This said, Instagram is a tough nut to crack when it comes to growth. One tip I can give you here is that automation is definitely NOT the way to go. Authenticity and story-telling are the name of the game over at IG. I have managed to grow my account to almost 27k followers, but it is embarrassing to say how long that has taken me. I am still learning how to use the platform, even after 5 years.

  • Twitter

    To be frank, Twitter is really a tool from last decade. Over-automation had a part in killing Twitter, along with other factors. I don’t expect Twitter to survive another 5 years, but it accounts for almost 10% of my site traffic, so I stick with it. If you’re on Twitter though, I’d start making a plan for what you’re going to do when the company files for bankruptcy.

As far as data professionals and social networks, based on my experience, LinkedIn and Twitter have the largest established communities.

I am helping to foster a community over on Instagram, but the network is yet young. The steep-learning curve discourages many, I think – but I am hoping this will change in the not too distant future.

One thing I can add is that, on Instagram you’re going to find all your coders and programmers – the people who are actually doing and building. On Twitter and (to an extent) LinkedIn, you’re likely to find more people who are managing and using data insights, instead.

For more guidance on how to jump start your career as a data professional, sign up for my newsletter here. Also, if you’d like to connect through LinkedIn, follow me and leave a note that you followed. I promise to follow back!

Also, in the comments section below, tell me what changes you’re considering making based on what you learned in this post. I’d love to offer you guidance and feedback on your ideas.

HI, I’M LILLIAN PIERSON.
I’m a fractional CMO that specializes in go-to-market and product-led growth for B2B tech companies.
If you’re looking for marketing strategy and leadership support with a proven track record of driving breakthrough growth for B2B tech startups and consultancies, you’re in the right place. Over the last decade, I’ve supported the growth of 30% of Fortune 10 companies, and more tech startups than you can shake a stick at. I stay very busy, but I’m currently able to accommodate a handful of select new clients. Visit this page to learn more about how I can help you and to book a time for us to speak directly.

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Hi, I'm Lillian Pierson, Data-Mania's founder. We welcome you to our little corner of the internet. Data-Mania offers fractional CMO and marketing consulting services to deep tech B2B businesses.

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Fractional CMO for deep tech B2B businesses. Specializing in go-to-market strategy, SaaS product growth, and consulting revenue growth. American expat serving clients worldwide since 2012.

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