— Laura Gutierrez

Whether you believe in personal branding or not, there is some truth to the fact that how you portray yourself off- and on-line is extremely important. Call it “personal branding” or online reputation…whatever you want, as long as you monitor it and shape it in the way you’d like.

A major component of “online branding” is social networking – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace…whatever platform you’re on.

We all know how fast technology changes. And staying on top of the latest updates not only allows you to use these tools more effectively but saves you some potential embarrassment. Here’s an update from Gini Dietrich over at The Fight Against Destructive Spin blog—make sure you change your privacy settings on Facebook. The site is again updating their settings that will share your phone number and address with external sites. Also changing on Facebook is the “Like” buttons. You can find out more about that over on Samantha Collier’s blog, Social Media for Law Firms.

If you’re on any of these sites and have even a little information on it, please please please keep yourself updated on what’s new. Even if you’re not on any social platform, you have to admit, the rest of the world is, and knowing how organizations or businesses use these tools is a value-add.

Here are some interesting stats from Marketing Profs on the increase in spending on digital and social platforms/campaigns:

Driven by changes in consumer behavior and competitive forces, 80% of marketers say they plan to increase the volume of digital projects in 2011, with much of those investments focused on corporate websites and social technologies, according to a survey from AnswerLab.

Among the 80% of surveyed marketers planning increases in digital, 26% say they plan a significant increase and 54% plan a slight increase. Only 5% plan a decrease in their digital work in 2011.

Nothing shocking there. No one says you have to be using these platforms…but where are your clients and their consumers? How do they reach their client base? At least familiarize yourself with these platforms. It can only help.

Elsewhere around the world, in celebrity news, Charlie Sheen…if you’re not in the middle of nowhere, you’ve had to have heard about it. Just another reason to make sure you’re putting out the “right” kind of message – whatever that may be for you. We’ll see how this affects his “personal brand” and contract for Three and a Half Men and other acting gigs. What do you think this will do to his career? I asked an attorney at our law firm this question. He responded: “Who’s going to hire him?” Right. Unless he proves that he can handle working again, I concur. My PR (public relations) friends – do you think a publicist could have helped? It’s hard to tell someone who is self-destructing. He’s too far “out there” to put a positive spin on it. Is there anything he can do at this point to change his persona?

Until next time…