A personal brand is the unique way one promotes themself through their skills, experience, and personality. It is the story you want to tell the world. The ultimate goal is to create a clear, consistent, and recognizable brand for yourself that supports your goals and authentically represents who you are.
Your personal brand is deeply tied to your reputation. Everything that you do reflects your brand and everything your brand is associated with reflects you. Therefore, it’s extremely important to establish a clear strategy for how you will brand yourself and who your audience will be. While it’s tempting to try and please the masses, it will be more effective in the long run to create a genuine brand identity that focuses on the specific industries and demographics that you align with. Remember, the goal is not to gain followers; but rather, to create real connections and gain a solid reputation along the way.
Your personal brand can be a huge asset to making you a recognizable name in your industry, but maybe don’t make “there’s no such thing as bad publicity,” your mantra. Make yourself known for the right reasons by keeping these guidelines in mind.
First, Take Note of the Basics:
Be tedious. When crafting your online self-image, you want to make sure you pay attention to the small details. Having posts full of spelling and grammatical errors can make you appear careless. Always be sure to use spell check tools or have someone review your post before publishing.
Be cautious on your social media. If you post pictures strictly partying and drinking, your reputation will be built around that. Being perceived as unprofessional could lead to a lack of respect in the workplace, affecting your career and potential client connections. You’re allowed to have fun, but when it comes to being online, only post photos you’re comfortable with future employers seeing.
Communication is key. In any business-related communication, avoid vulgar language, publicly arguing, whining, or being overly critical. These will quickly earn you a reputation of poor people skills and deter others from wanting you as a connection. Be conscious of the conversations you have and know how to “read the room”.
Then, Cater Your Content:
Have a strategy. Make sure you aren’t picking a random topic or industry every week to post about just because it seems interesting. When you lose consistency, you lose your audience. You want to post frequently, but always prioritize quality over quantity. Follow a strategy that bolsters your credibility and keeps content relevant to your target market.
Balance. A less recognizable way you could damage your brand is through shameless self-promotion. Sharing your accomplishments is a great way to show your audience what you’re working on and achieving but try to discuss your success without bragging. Balance your content by keeping it a blend of both industry-related posts as well as personal success stories.
Be yourself. One of the worst things you can do is create a false image of yourself. Your audience wants to be intrigued, but they also want sincerity. Pretending to be something you’re not just because it’s “trending” can damage your brand. Making sure your content is authentic and showcases your point-of-view will make your perspective on a topic unique and help you stand out.
If you’re guilty of these mistakes, be proactive about recognizing and correcting them. A personal brand can allow individuals to create a respectable image for themselves, but not without a strong foundation first. Conduct yourself in a professional manner, find a balance, and be transparent. Once established as competent and trustworthy, your followers will become a vibrant network that will continue to help you and your career down the road.