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.
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?
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?
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