Creating and maintaining an effective personal brand online is no easy feat. With so many websites clamouring for your attention, each offering differing advice on the best social networks to be a part of, it’s difficult to know definitively where you should spend time developing your personal brand. Prospective employers are researching an ever-increasing array of resources relating to potential employees, to get a more in-depth feel of their background and personality, meaning it’s more crucial than ever to be on top of your game and avoid the all-too-easy mistakes that many will make with their online persona.
People create and maintain a personal brand online for a number of different reasons. They may craft their brand to attract clients, they may simply like to have a complete and professional profile in the digital world, or they may need to create a personal brand that stands them out from the crowd when looking for an employer. For whatever reason you create a personal brand, it should be comprehensive, appropriate and relevant to your goals.
As with many things, what stands out most are the mistakes that are made within profiles and brands, whether this is missing information or inappropriate social media updates that are not ‘dealt with’ efficiently. Being aware of these common mistakes when creating your personal brand will help you avoid the same pitfalls and create a spotless, professional online profile.
Not choosing your own adventure
Don’t try and create a profile on EVERY social network on the web. Maintaining multiple profiles with a good level of engagement will become too time consuming, if not impossible, if you spread yourself too thin. Choose those networks that will work for your brand and utilise them effectively by spending your time interacting with others and providing quality information.
Displaying a split personality
Choosing a select few networks is better than spreading yourself too thinly across them all. Ensure that your profiles are consistent across all platforms or make certain that your privacy settings protect those profiles that are not intended for public viewing. Everyone should have ‘social’ profiles and express themselves without worrying that prospective employers may one day go through their updates with a fine tooth comb. If you don’t want a particular network to form part of your brand, make it private.
Not keeping up the good work
Putting 100% effort into your brand for a couple of weeks, when you’re looking for employment, and then reducing your effort to almost nothing, may be perceived as a sign that you lack commitment. Your personal brand is how everyone on the internet (and that’s a lot of people) will view and make assumptions about you. Ensure that you put time and effort into updating your profiles frequently, and be consistent with the quality of your updates and engagement.
People can actually handle the truth
Lying on your profiles is as much of a mistake as lying on your CV. If you’re employed on the strength of that information, then your dishonesty will come back to bite you on the ‘you know what’. Creating a personal brand based on truth and your genuine abilities is the best policy, and you’ll be able to remember and be confident in what you stated about yourself. Being caught out during an interview, with questions relating to information fabricated on your profile, is a surefire way to end the recruitment process there and then.
Go social or go home
Ignoring people that try to interact with you is a shortcut to a failed personal brand. Engagement is one of the most important factors of a successful online brand, without it, there is no one to share your updates, help you to build influence and a create a strong brand message. There is a reason that social networks are called ‘SOCIAL networks’, be social.
Not giving credit where credit’s due
Not giving credit to an author of information that you’re sharing won’t win you any fans. Ripping off content from others and claiming it as your own will land you in trouble and destroy your reputation and brand. If you use information written by others within an article you publish, or share another person’s update, give credit to the original site or author. There is an ever-increasing trend for individuals, companies and websites to use the excuse that they are ‘curating content’, when really they are just stealing that content and using it as their own.