Social Media has presented a grand stage for anyone to advertise their personal brand.  The development of social media and the collection of platforms that exist now make personal branding more popular and important than ever before.  The world is now your audience and it seems there are no boundaries or limits; anyone can post anything, at any time. Many people find this intriguing – even intoxicating, but they may fail to realize that each post also helps to form their personal brand…whether they like it or not. Trying to construct the best personal brand is a slippery slope because each post could either jeopardize or boost your self-brand. Any angry, drunken, ill-advised post/photo or even a post that is simply taken out of context could have a negative impact on your brand.

The audience is loyal and loves a brand not only for the appearance or performance of a product, but also for the company’s reputation and values. This holds true to building a personal brand.

A personal brand that’s true and real can be an amazing tool and can be the major factor in dictating how others perceive you. In school we have many discussions and meetings about protecting and building your personal brand the right way without making risky decisions, but there’s not much said about the potential positive impact. Let’s look at how self-branding on social media can have conflicting perspectives. 

The most popular social media platforms are used in completely different ways by individual users versus employers, which causes disconnect and confusion with personal branding. A user of these social media platforms, taking a lot of selfies with their friends making “duck faces” or posting albums full of only party pictures will likely see such things differently than a potential future employer.  Another possibility (and one that I have fallen victim to) is that most comments and mentions of you on these platforms are noticed by potential employers. Therefore even content that you didn’t personally post could negatively affect your image. The user might think it’s funny and harmless while the employer considers it offensive whether you said it or not.

I’ve compiled a list of tips that will help protect and build a great personal brand:

  1. Think before you post (my basic rule). Read and edit every post. It’s simple enough that it should become routine for every platform just to make sure there’s not a line being crossed.
  2. Be consistent. Unfortunately I have seen a common theme: people wanting to portray themselves in a certain light, but at later dates or on other platforms take the opposite view. This can destroy your credibility, which is an invaluable part of your personal brand.
  3. Have a personal brand strategy. The audience can identify the con artists, so it’s necessary to have a plan to emphasize your personal brand. Set goals for yourself to achieve that will show others who you are, your passions, abilities, and values.
  4. Limit self-promotion, credit others. An important way to shape your personal brand is to praise others more than yourself. Doing this forms relationships and connections that are valuable. In my first weeks at Stone Ward I have witnessed countless times where great praise was given to a co-worker.  This action inspired me as well as set an amazing example for not only us interns or the agency, but for the audience as a whole.

Writing this blog made me really think about building my personal brand and creating a brand statement, as I finish my first blog post I have also created my personal brand statement:

I enjoy generating excitement in others using humor and a good attitude. My true ambition is constant intentional growth as a person and professional.