Now more than ever, your personal brand is important. Sales reps that use social media outsell 78% of their peers. Employees at companies with personal branding initiatives are 20% more likely to stay with a company. And most importantly, 92% of people trust individuals over brands.
If you or your employees don’t have personal brands, you aren’t reaching your target audience as effectively as you could be.
However, it is a fine line, and the wrong personal brand can hurt as much as help. 53% of decision makers have eliminated a vendor based on what they could or could not find online, and 70% of recruiters have rejected candidates based on what they found online.
When you’re building your personal brand, you always run the risk of making things too personal. The key is to offer a window into your life, making you accessible and relatable, while still remaining professional. Just like you wouldn’t act in your office the same way that you act with your friends; social accounts made with your brand in mind should not be run the same as your casual, personal accounts.
The Golden Question
There are plenty of things to consider when developing a personal brand. But when it comes down to the actual posting process, there is one question that you need to ask yourself: “What does this say about me as a professional?”
This question should be considered for any post you make, whether it’s directly about your work or not. Even personal posts should be able to say something about you as a professional.
If you post a picture of your family, for example, it shows that you have a good work/life balance. If you show travel pictures, it shows that you value experience. Posts about work events or accomplishments can show how dedicated you are to what you do.
Likewise, if you make a post complaining about how hard your job is, you come across as someone who doesn’t want to work hard. If you post a picture of yourself partying or drinking, you’re going to be perceived as unprofessional.
No matter who you are — whether you’re a CEO or an entry-level employee — you should carefully consider every post you make through this lens.
There are many things that go into deciding what to post and what not to post. A general rule of thumb is this: if you have any doubts about posting something, you’re probably right. Erring on the side of caution will always be better for you in the long run.
Here are some extra tips to help you figure out when and what to post:
• Never post under the influence. Avoid posting to social media when you’re under the influence. This will make sure that you’ll be able to think through everything you post carefully.
• Avoid most divisive topics. Things like politics and religious should be avoided — unless they’re a key part of your brand. Otherwise, taking a stance on things will inevitably alienate half of your followers.
• Balance work and life posts. Too much of one or the other is a bad thing. If you post about work or nothing but, you seem like a robot. But if you post nothing but personal things, you come across as unprofessional.
• Have a mission statement. What are you passionate about? What makes you different from every other professional? What is the thing that sets you apart? Maybe you’re a family-oriented person who treats every client like a personal connection. Maybe you’re an ambitious spirit who is always looking to improve. Maybe you’re a witty, intelligent individual who likes sharing your knowledge with the world. No matter who you are, that should be the foundation of every post you make.
• Don’t overshare. No matter how transparent you want to be with your followers, no one wants to know every detail about your life. Avoid sharing unnecessary details, like the sandwich you ate for lunch. Also avoid sharing incredibly personal details, like a divorce or health problems, unless they directly affect how you do business.
Creating a personal brand isn’t easy. But if you’re careful and thoughtful about what you post, you can harness the benefits while avoiding the dangers.