I’m dedicating this week to attending the Nonprofit Technology Conference, so there is no #MindfulSocial podcast. So here’s something to consider. When was the last time you looked in a mirror? Probably not so long ago right? Maybe you were checking your hair, your attire for the evening, whether your diet and exercise regime is working? How we present ourselves to the world visually is part of our personal brand.
These days our personal brand extends much further, often to people we’ve never meet face to face. What we say, what we do and the image we portray on social media sites are what people use to form opinions about us as a human being. It may help them decide whether we are worth knowing or working with. Human resources may be perusing your brand right now to decide if they should hire you or give you a raise. Even creditors are using social media to gauge the reliability of an applicant.
Owning your brand
There are so many social media sites to participate on and more new ones pop up daily. Each has its own unique style. If your personality and the persona you want the world to see is a good fit? Go for it as long as it works for you. But stretching your personal image to fit a social network may end up not ringing true, and cause a negative brand image that will be hard to fix.
Brands can get off track
It is all too easy for us to get off track with our brand when we ‘re on multiple social networks, websites, media, at work and in person. You say things you might not really mean, or you think will help your brand image, and now out there, in public record. Perhaps your private life and your public are somewhat different. You may not want the world to know everything about you. We all deserve privacy don’t we?
It can be hard to separate our personal and public lives. One of the most frequently asked questions when I’m training on social media is how to separate work and life personas. The fact is; it is almost impossible to separate your personal brand from your business brand today. It’s just too easy for us to find out more with some Googling. Try to hide your true nature and it’s bound to come out.
The more virtual our lives get, the more we crave authentic connections, so be the authentic you. That doesn’t mean you have to hang your dirty laundry or deeply personal information out in public. Some things are simply none of our business. What it does mean is that you be true to your self. Be the real you in every situation and you’ll see life is easier and people recognize and respect your authenticity.
Looking in the mirror virtually
So, how’s your personal brand looking these days? When was the last time you conducted a personal brand audit? Taking a detached look at your brand across social platforms can give you a clear idea of how people perceive you and where your brand may not meet up with your own expectations. Do some searches. View what you’ve posted to social media networks and see if it is telling the story you thought it should. Or are you all over the map and confusing your followers on who you really are?
How to get your brand back on track
When you do a search for your brand are there others with a similar name? What are your key differentiators? Whether it’s a middle name or an identity linked to your business you need to define who you are and what is important to you.
Think about what key words you want to be known for. Look up hashtags that relate and use them regularly. Look for Twitter chats on the topics you are interested in and participate, adding value to the conversation.
Set up searches for topics you want to talk about in public and curate content that is relevant to the topic to share on your social networks so you can get your opinions heard by people also interested in that topic.
Create lists of people who are interested in similar topics and share their posts. TALK to them and start conversations that are mutually helpful. Don’t pander. Be real and have genuine conversations here.
Believe me, being yourself and true to your passions will build you a brand you can stand behind and be proud of.