With a background and a career in marketing, I like to think I know a thing or two about branding. I’ve studied the importance of consistency, reputation, and tone of voice for brands and the difference between a strategic well thought out image, and a thrown together “what I think we look like” look. The difference between good branding and bad branding can mean everything to the success of a business.
& our personal brand is no different.
Who we are as a person is the same as what the image and personality of a company are. How we present ourselves, what we do and what we say matters, especially in the new digital age with the internet and social media. You can’t hide, and either can your rude comment or bad outfit choice.
I’ve decided there are two key factors in creating and protecting your personal brand. The past & the future. Because both affect your PB today.
The Past: Clean up
People broke down when it was announced Bebo, (the site every Irish teen loved, then abandoned) was shutting down. But thank god it did because the photos and other weirdness (e.g polls & whiteboards anyone?) on there would be enough to ensure anyone born between 1990 and 1994 would have no chance at a career today. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to check what is out there about you. Google yourself for example. You might be surprised what you find and may need to send a few polite emails threatening to sue if certain photos are not removed yesterday! (I’m not speaking from experience here, but it could easily happen!).
No one knew how big and important the internet would become back in 2006 when we created albums “drinking in a field”, “gaff party”, and “Spain 2006- feed the fuc**king pigeons” (R.I.P Bebo, Thank God!).
Thankfully Facebook and most other social media platforms have better privacy features. It’s a good idea to check what settings you have and see who can see what! Use the “View as” feature on Facebook to check what non-friends can see on your profile. Trust me, employers check.
The future: Create personal guidelines to follow
This should be common sense but then when I see what some people post on LinkedIn I can’t help but wonder if some people are just immune to sense.
The following are some basic rules to live your online life by:
- Be smart about your profile photo on any social media platform. Crop the drink out, put away the strange hand gestures, and just try to pick a photo where you look GREAT but normal… Your profile picture is like a cover of a book and we all know how we judge books.
- I always ask myself, would I be ok about, my Mum seeing this? If it’s a no, then delete, untag, do what you have to do. Remove it.
- Luckily people don’t write to their friends publicly anymore, it’s all about the DM’s and PM’s. But what people do now is tag each other in the comments of random posts. Other people can see what you’re being tagged in. So if you get a notification that your friend has tagged you in a post like “10 ways to cheat in an exam” or “how to make your ex fall in love with you again” just know that EVERYONE can see this… I’ve discovered a few very interesting facts about my online friends this way. Not good!
- We all do it, were having a great night out and feel the need to let everyone know on Snapchat, Instagram stories etc. But the truth is no one wants to hear fuzzy nightclub noise unless they are there themselves. Stick to the selfies. (follow me on Snapchat @sophiemitchl, I never post annoying things, ever… I promise… ).
My number one rule when it comes to saving your online image is to use your brain, sober brain.
Advanced ways to enhance you PB.
Start a blog.
If you love creating, writing or even just taking cool photos then why not? For every reason you have to hold back, there is a reason why you should do it. I’ll save those reasons for another time.
But my point is, having a blog is the easiest way to show who you are and what you can do. My blog really helped me land my last two jobs, in the interviews I remember speaking more about the details of my blog than what I did in past role or my degree. (I don’t think I would have gotten anywhere without the degree or experience too so don’t get any ideas about dropping out of school kids…).
Use your voice
So maybe you don’t want to commit to a blog, that doesn’t mean you can’t still use your voice and create content in other ways. Engagement and interacting with people online is a great way to build your personal brand. Get involved in online conversations through social media. My favourite ways to do this is through hashtags on twitter, and in the comments of posts on LinkedIn. There are a lot of things wrong with social media, but if used right it can add serious value to your personal brand.
Join a gang.
A nice, supportive, like-minded “gang”. (Not the biker type). Go to events, workshops, and conferences that match your interests and career goals. Network and meet other great people and become known in your field as interesting and ambitious who says yes to things. Don’t be that person who is always too busy or already has plans, when it comes to good opportunities and experiences.
Miss Guided Blazer // Buy HERE
Primark Top// Buy HERE
Lucky Brand White Jeans// Buy HERE
Public Desire Boots// Buy HERE
Bangles by Sophie Harper, from Rocksbox// Use code sheprevailsxoxo HERE
This post really only covers the most basic pieces of advice regarding personal branding and online presence. When it’s so easy to share online, we can quickly forget how public we are. I love to talk about branding so maybe I’ll get into this area on a deeper level another time.
Thanks for reading!