NASN's Nursing Education and Practice Specialist, Lead Nurse Conference Planner, Jade Blaffey had a chance to ask Baldwin Cunningham some questions. Mr. Cunningham is presenting a general session titled Personal Branding in the Digital Era on June 23, 2021 during Virtual NASN2021. Here are the questions and responses from Mr. Cunningham.
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Question: Is building one’s brand the same as sharing one’s story?
Building a brand can come in many different forms and fortunately, there are no right answers. Across the board, you see some successful digital brands built using the sharing story method. In other cases, some digital brands laser focus on a specific topic area, share information and become thought leaders. Your success is based on your effort to cultivate a community of people that care about what you have to say.
Question: What is the importance of building a brand for oneself in the digital era?
Before the digital era, let’s go way back to the 1800’s, when you went into a village, there were a number of people that built a brand based on their area of focus. Everyone from the blacksmith, the baker, the tailor, etc. The digital era took the foundation of a village and brought it online with the same principles. The importance of branding in all cases is to create the perception you want others to view you as and be the information source for a specific topic.
Question: How can a school nurse identify what would be the best platform to use for building their brand to best meet of students and families without blurring the boundary lines?
Great question and this requires two different answers. I will answer the second part first regarding how you should manage your personal and professional digital presences. If your presence is solely focused on nursing related activity then a single account will work. If the account is nursing mixed with personal, unrelated information, I suggest having two accounts. One where you can share personal news and the other dedicated to all nursing related posts.
In regards to what platform you should use, it’s all based on a) what you are comfortable using and b) the type of content you are sharing. If you prefer short text linking out to another webpage, Twitter may be best to use. If you want to develop a private group where people can interact with each other, a Facebook group would be best. My only suggestion is to keep it to a singular platform so your audience knows exactly how to engage.
Question: Once a digital brand and marketing strategy is identified, how engaged on the platform should the school nurse be with posting or creating of content?
This is completely up to you. The only thing that matters when building a community and sharing content is consistency. Whether it’s 1-3 times a day, once a week or bi-weekly, be consistent so your audience can start to understand your cadence and know when they can expect to hear from you.
Question: What advice would you give to a school nurse that feels they are technology challenged or that digital branding does not apply to them in the 21st Century?
I hinted towards this a little in my first answer and the advice remains the same, don’t think about this as technology or building a digital brand. Think about this as a way to broaden your network of like minded people and to deepen relationships with people that care about what you have to say. Offline we do this all the time and when you think of digital being a scaled version of yourself, building a brand will come natural.