I see it across LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter every day: despite trying to grow a strong digital presence and personal brand, many people inadvertently paint unflattering pictures of themselves.
They post a status complaining about their commute to work, or brag about their new car, or listing their detailed schedule for the day in an effort to look important. If you're like me, you roll your eyes because, who cares, really?
When you're building your personal brand across all your social media channels, it's important to best represent yourself in a positive light, and not accidentally detract from your public image due to "unforced errors." Some of these mistakes are obvious, and yet even trained professionals make them from time to time. The good news? Most of them are easily avoidable.
Here are the four I try hardest to sidestep:
- Being inauthentic.
There was a point in which the millions of people who follow George Takei on Facebook thought he was a one-man joke machine. Eventually, Takei's ghostwriter came clean, and the former Star Trek legend's reputation took a major hit.
Chances are you're not a beloved actor, and being perceived as inauthentic could set you back big time. Being fake is one of the biggest turn offs when you meet someone in person, and the same applies to our digital interactions. People can tell when you're being genuine, and the number one form of branding self-sabotage is trying to be someone you're not.
- Lacking originality when sharing links and updates.
Whether you're tweeting, sharing posts on Facebook, or connecting with someone on LinkedIn, it's important to customize your message and not always resort to using share button's default text .
People notice when you take the time to write a personal note or message, and doing so will immediately set you apart. It says a few things: you're polite, you pay attention to detail, and you go the extra mile--all of which adds to the success of your personal brand.
- Forgetting to take your digital brand offline.
This mistake is one of the most common. If you don't leverage the brand you're building via digital channels into growing your offline reputation, you're missing a big opportunity.
Think about it: most people fall in love with a celebrity after seeing them in an interview because it showcases their personality off-screen. Whether you're engaged in a Twitter chat, a lively LinkedIn Groups discussion, or a debate in your favorite blog's comments section, if you have the opportunity to meet your connections in person, I say jump on it!
What's the worst that will happen? If you don't love one another, you've wasted an hour of your time over coffee. If you do hit it off, you just might develop a professional connection that lasts for years. Face-to-face interactions will only serve to strengthen the relationships you've began online.
- Thinking it's all about you.
Contrary to popular belief, your personal brand is not all about you. While the name itself may suggest this, personal branding is a distillation of all your defining traits and characteristics. In that sense, personal branding is--in part--about how you can help others.
The last thing you want to be known as is a self-promotion whore. Being generous to people in your network is one of the best ways to build relationships and your reputation.
Can you relate to any of the mistakes on this list? Are there you'd like to add?