How To Create Your Personal Branding
What is personal branding?
Personal branding…this is a term in great vogue these days, used frequently in blog posts and TED talks, but there are very wide meanings given to this term. To understand what personal branding really is, we need to have a clear definition of the term “brand”. A brand is a name, a symbol, a logo, a combination of colours that trigger the image of a product in our minds. It must be associated with positive feelings, it must be universally recognizable, and it must be consistent whether it is printed on the product package or displayed on a website. Have you defined brand in any other way? How do you see your personal brand? What image does it convey?
Creating a personal brand is somewhat similar to the above. When people (clients, collaborators, employers) find your name on a social media website, in Google search or elsewhere, they must be able to recall positive things about you: a great blog, a well organized work portfolio, and a professional looking profile presentation. Consistency is the key to building a powerful personal brand.
Therefore….let us go through the Decalogue for building a solid personal brand.
1.You shall not use a nickname for professional social media accounts.
We all have nicknames we like and everyone in our close circle call us by it. But we are talking about your professional profile here. People who seek for you to hire you for a project do not know that friends call you Big Lebowski and will certainly not be impressed by this.
2.You shall not bad mouth former clients on the social media.
The internet is forever. The post you wrote in anger today shall remain visible (and searchable) for years to come and will be a big stain on your professional image. Contain your anger, seek all possible legal remedies and remember that your future career is not worth a few moments of mean satisfaction.
3.You shall cite sources properly.
Whatever you post – a photo, an article, a video – give credit where credit is due. Nothing discourages clients more than the idea of working with a person who will cause them copyright problems.
4.You shall not lie about your credentials.
Anywhere. So you’ve joined this brand new group and want to look important. You are tempted to add a few more things to your professional resumes, like one extra year in this job, or one extra certification you don’t hold. Don’t. An astute client, doing a thorough background check on you will spot the inconsistency and drop you.
5.You shall not engage in online feuds.
We can’t love everyone, but bad mouthing competitors and former colleagues will get you nowhere. It will brand you instead as a troublemaker, a bad team player and it will impact negatively on your career.
6.You shall not engage in names dropping either.
You may have done a little job for a public personality. It does look good on your resume, but don’t blow it out of proportions and don’t remind everyone, in every post, that you are the one who created the logo for X campaign run by famous Mr. Z.
7.Don’t be Mr. Post-a-lot.
Yes, frequent posting is good for SEO, but only if you have something interesting to share and not just for promoting keywords. People tend to catch on to aggressive SEO tactics and become wary of you. Potential clients may even think that you will use the project you work on to boost your own social media impact. Don’t overdo any kind of social media engagement.
8.You shall not beg for Likes.
Never. Don’t share anything with a caption such as: “Don’t you just love this?” or “100 likes for this and I’ll share something really special”. It is disguised begging and nobody likes it.
9.Don’t randomly contact public figures you don’t know.
Sure, it would look good to have some well known public figures in your contact list, but only if you were personally introduced in real life or you did some work involving them. Stalking personalities in the online world just to gain more friends and recognition will certainly backfire.
10.Don’t misrepresent yourself.
Don’t fabricate false names or lie about who you are, where you live and what you do for a living. If you want to live out a fantasy life, get a Hi5 profile and be whoever you want to be (if it’s really any satisfaction to you). But in your professional profiles, be 100% about yourself.
Have you got any other useful advice regarding the do’s and don’ts of personal branding? It would be great to hear from true professionals. Share your knowledge with us and show us what made you the great self marketer you are right now.