My Four Rules of Personal Branding


Last week I had the honor of speaking at a young professionals event on personal branding. Talks like these always steer themselves mostly on how to act right in the social media realm, but I don’t consider personal branding on social media much different from representing yourself in person.  The other panelists and I are all very active on social media and have grown our respective personal brands with one good foot in the digital space and the other firmly rooted in real-life networking. You never know who you might meet, and how you might be able to help that person in the future (or vice versa.) It’s almost a given that brands are vetting out bloggers they want to (or already) work with by taking a look at their social media presence, and they’re looking for the ones that are just as magnetic and honest online as they are in real life. To that, I say let all the colors of your personality fly – but always know that you’re representing yourself and your blog at all times!

I’d like to offer up the four personal branding rules I follow online and in real life. They’re quick and easy to abide by, but also great reminders when I’m having a bad day and have the itch to go on an epic rant on social media.

Don’t (over)complain

If you’ve scrolled through your Facebook news feed lately, you probably know what I’m getting at. Tons of whining and complaining dominate Facebook status updates, tweets and maybe even dramatic Instagrams, Tumblr posts or pins. We all have the occasional bad experience with a brand, and know that the fastest way to get their attention nowadays is to air out our grievances on social media. Occasional is our operative word here! Make a habit of whining and complaining on social media, and soon that’s all anyone – including brands – will associate you with.

Don’t be negative

Some people might have a problem with others who are too positive in their social media updates, but I’d rather be that than too negative. I have bad days, opinions and sarcastic comebacks just like everyone else, but things easily get lost in translation on social media. More often than not, I’m better off taking a breather away from the computer than getting into a war of words. Nobody has time for arguing with trolls anyway, right?

Keep your personal life personal

Baby, pet and #OOTD photos are awesome. Knowing way, way too many personal details about your last fight with your boyfriend, your boss or your sister – not so much. As bloggers, we are by nature putting parts of our personal lives out there. For some, it’s totally cool and often beneficial for them to be very open about sharing personal details. I choose not to talk too much about my boyfriend or my family on social media, because neither he nor many of my family members are as active in the digital space as I am. Gotta keep some things sacred, right?

Be helpful

I’ve got three ‘dont’s’ and one ‘do’ rules for personal branding, but this ‘do’ is the most important one of all. We all approach social media (and other types of communication) from different perspectives with different expectations. I try to always come from the perspective of being helpful, with no expectations. Answer questions, share resources or connections, and give information as much as possible. Far too often, we think too much about “What’s in it for me?” when listening (or “How can I help them?”) is exponentially more powerful of an impression.

These ‘rules' might not look like yours, but the point is to be thoughtful about what you’re putting out there. Taking the time to think about your own rules is what separates you, the strategic blogger working diligently on his/her personal brand, from the average Joe/Jane using social media to distract themselves from life.

What are some of your personal branding rules?

[Image credit:]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

14 Responses

  1. Lisa

    I always treat my social media platforms as an extension of my blog and therefore always try to remain professional. I come across these mean tweets sometimes in regards to a company, celebrity or in general. It does not appeal to me at all. So I never do that. I try to remain a positive factor on social networks. Anything else will drive/scare people and brands away. Which is what I don’t want! This post is super helpful, esp. for those who may do this. I also try to keep any thoughts to myself or any random tweets. If it doesn’t benefit anyone including myself, I don’t type or share it.

  2. Reem

    I totally agree with these rules! In fact, I think that keeping it professional is the best way to go in the long run- with some exceptions of course!

  3. Patsy Marie

    This is such an amazing post its ironic that I was looking for something like this and you just posted this now !! After reading this everything became crystal clear.

  4. Natalie Heather

    Great article, Jess! I agree with every single point. I find it a little awkward sometimes when a blogger I follow will share really personal items (usually related to a fight etc) and I just don’t know what to do. Part of me is happy for them that they can be so open, but the other part of me didn’t really want to know in the first place.
    I find being positive and helpful are two GREAT qualities for bloggers, yet it’s pretty rare! I love when I ask a question and people I’ve never spoken to get in touch with suggestions. That sense of community is invaluable.

  5. Deborah A

    Another great article! Some bloggers display too much information about their personal lives on social media and it can be awkward. I will keep this handy for days when I am feeling blue and want to vent to the rest of the world :). Thank you!

  6. Filipa

    Great article again! I like bloggers who share some bits of their personal life, but too much is too much. I really don’t have to know what they did with their boyfriend and similar stuff.
    I also like bloggers who are positive and helpful. I try to do the same on my blog. 🙂


  7. Tarah Saint-Elien

    So many good articles, so little time! You’re right. Your social media life should represent how you live day to day. My branding rules are to be encouraging, respectable and …fashionable at all times hah! No, I’m not shallow – that’s just me 😉

  8. Iman

    I absolutely agree. Most of the times, readers are readers because you blog about a common interest, or because there’s something they want to learn from you. Personal/Intimate issues are rarely any of those !

    Iman from

  9. Amy Hermans

    My secret is using 2 Twitter accounts. I have one for personal use where I connect with friends & colleagues + I have that one on private. My other Twitter I only use for blogging so I’ll share my blog updates, network with other bloggers etc.

  10. Stephanie Loudmouth

    I agree, to an extent. I think a lot of it depends on what niche your blog is in. As this is on IFB I assume you’re talking about fashion bloggers specifically. But, even though I do touch on personal style, my blog has evolved to also incorporate elements like self-help, self-love and life advice. Because I cover these topics, I really have no choice but to get personal, and my readers are aware of that. In fact, that’s why they continue to visit. Also, I think that there are some bloggers out there that might write a ranty or complaining tweet, but they make it really sarcastic and funny and it doesn’t turn me off at all. So, I guess it just depends on the persona that you want to exemplify online, and everything you do should be in line with that. Also, if someone is blogging as a hobby and doesn’t care about sponsors, they probably don’t need to censor themselves as much. Just my two cents. 🙂

  11. A Vintage Covered (Riris)

    I agree with you about the rules. Well, I hate reading my facebook timeline because it’s full of compaliment status. I think that as media social user we should share positive things, and isnpiring each other. Not complain and share our negative thinking about something.

  12. Rachel Peterson

    Keep it professional and always be nice to everyone you meet on social media. No matter if you want to or not. Because you never know what potential clients will see about you.