Do you have a personal brand? If you’re on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, you are building one whether you realize it or not. But what is it that you’re really saying? How do you stand out? Glenn Gabe would like to help you flesh out the details.

As a part of Princeton Leeep Development, a program by the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce, Gabe will address building a personal brand online on Wednesday, July 13, at 6 p.m. at the Bart Luedeke Center at Rider University. Cost: $40. Visit www.princetonchamber.org.

Gabe grew up in Rockland County, New York, and says he was fortunate to have the support of his now-retired parents throughout his career. His father was a teacher; his mother a legal assistant. They bought him his first computer when he was a boy, and it fueled his technology cravings.

Gabe received his bachelor’s in hotel/restaurant management from the University of Delaware in 1994 and has since received professional certifications in multimedia technologies and E-business development from New York University and web development and web administration from Rutgers.

After college Gabe attended a presentation at an IBM conference center where a marketing expert was presenting to the top 50 retailers in the country. He was presenting the web, but at a relatively early stage. Halfway through the presentation, more than half the room had emptied out, but Gabe was glued. Like the presenter, he knew that the web was going to be extremely powerful for marketing and advertising.

Gabe caught the Internet bug and spent the next seven years developing websites, web applications, and interactive presentations for the Perrier Group of America (now Nestle Waters).

In 2001 Gabe launched G-Squared Interactive in Lawrenceville to help companies utilize next-generation technologies to market their products and services. He soon created a video-based E-marketing platform, which enabled clients to use a flash video environment to increase sales. The reporting was in real-time.

Gabe is also a columnist for Search Engine Journal and a contributor for the Microsoft AdCenter blog, two industry-leading blogs focused on search engine marketing, video search engine optimization, and social media marketing.

#b#Boom!#/b# You’re probably aware that social networking, blogging, and micro-blogging have boomed over the past five years. The advantages are low cost to entry and ease of setup, which has spawned an environment in which everyone can have a voice, Gabe says. From mommy bloggers to industry experts to the ordinary person reviewing their latest purchase, the web has created a powerful real-time ecosystem.

But that real-time ecosystem is trackable, and creates a history of posts, comments, and updates. This can be beneficial or harmful, so lesson one is to watch what you say and know what you have said.

#b#Why personal branding is important#/b#. Personal branding is all about digital marketing. While it’s important to have a presence on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and the like, it is more important to show people what you know.

Gabe says he is still amazed to see people finding him via web search. “It’s truly an amazing thing for exposure,” he says. “There are people out there who become more famous than the company they work for. Sometimes bosses don’t like that.”

To create a strong personal brand through a blog, you have to know your stuff. If you don’t know your stuff and you don’t have a focus, you aren’t going to get ranked in search engines, like Google. Gabe says it’s critical to ask yourself the question, “What am I going to write?”

Gabe got his start in blogging by writing heavily on how-to digital marketing, i.e. how to use Facebook ads. He became a columnist for Search Engine Journal because the publication found him on Twitter and liked what he was saying. Since the Search Engine Journal has a large following, it helped Gabe become even more credible.

“I love what I do," Gabe says. "People were having problems [with tech] and I blogged about it.”

He adds that if all he had done were write about himself, he wouldn’t be where he is today. “No one wants to hear ‘me, me, me, me.’ No one cares. I wanted to solve problems,” he says.

#b#New outlets#/b#. Gabe has his eye on the next big tool: Google+., which was launched at the end of June. Gabe says this tool will close the loop around search and social media. Google had no social component before now. “Facebook isn’t going anywhere,” he says. “But Google is going to put a dent in it.” Only a select few have been granted access to Google+, Gabe included. He’s asked others if they have been back to Twitter and Facebook since joining Google+ and most have said, “Not really.”

However, Gabe suspects privacy concerns will arise as Google is already privy to so much information. Basically Google is making all of its products socially compatible. Functions like Picasa, Gmail, and Google Maps, plus information and functions from all of these will be integrated into the Google+ experience so that you don’t have to sign into different services to share your photos and let your friends know what you’re up to.

“This is just the beginning of Google taking a serious jump into social and it’s exciting for digital marketers,” Gabe says.

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