Personal branding has the power to greatly augment your success. It can set you apart from your competition, it can establish your credibility in your field, and it can be what cements relationships between you and your clients. It’s everything that you say, do, post. It’s how you carry yourself, how you interact with others, and the impression that you make. With all of that said, there are definitely some “no-no’s” that can derail your efforts and which you should sidestep when creating and living your personal brand. I’ve made each of these mistakes, as none of us are immune, but the important thing is to learn as you go and to stay authentic to yourself and your brand. Here are my top 5 personal branding mistakes to avoid.
#1 – You have no definitive purpose.
Who are you? What is your “Why”? What is it that you are offering to your clients, your community, the world? This is your brand and if it’s not made clear in the ways which you present yourself and your business, then your personal branding is missing its key component. Make certain that you and every bit of content that you share is clear in representing your brand, your mission, and your values.
#2 – You aren’t consistent.
Consistency is crucial. It’s imperative that you are presenting the same version of yourself across your multiple channels. This develops trust between you and your clients and it establishes you as a credible professional in your field. Consistency also refers to the frequency that you put yourself out there. According to Entrepreneur, “Consistency is key. It takes five to seven impressions for someone to remember a brand.” Don’t go to the trouble of creating your personal brand and then miss out on establishing it by a lack of consistency in your efforts.
#3 – You overlook conventional approaches.
These days, we practically live on the internet. From meetings, to correspondence, to shopping and banking, it seems that nearly all of our interactions take place over the web. Don’t lose sight of the significance of face-to-face interactions. This can take the form of networking events, meetings over coffee, or even the simple act of approaching someone to introduce yourself and make a friend or connection. Find the right balance between the prevalent modes of conducting business and interaction via the internet as well as the tried-and-true ways that all of those before us found success: good old face-to-face contact.
#4 – You have poor social media habits.
There are a number of bad habits that can accrue when it comes to your social media practices. Refrain from engaging in controversial or heated interactions (no talking politics with that crazy uncle over Facebook). Stay relevant and consistent regarding the content that you share on your social media pages. Clients learn to expect something from you and trust that you will deliver (exhibited in social media, expanded to other facets of your business and brand). Also, don’t forget to stay in open communication with your followers. One of the beautiful things about social media is the accessibility that it grants between people, so be sure to respond to messages, engage in dialogue when appropriate, and give your fellow social media friends, connections, and followers the same love that you hope to receive from them.
#5 – You are regularly guilty of flagrant self-promotion.
While it is expected that there will be some boasting and self-promotion in your personal branding efforts, it’s important that you don’t spend all of your time talking about how great you are, your accomplishments, and your news. Rather, make use of external content to build upon the brand which you are establishing. According to this Medium article, “30% of your content should be owned by your brand, 60% should be curated by your brand, and the remaining 10% should be self-promotion which features a call-to-action of some sort.” They suggest that using the first two principles will create a trust and buy-in from your followers and clients, providing you the freedom to engage in the final area with more tact and poise.
All in all, these mistakes can be avoided with a little bit of intention and strategy. Exhibit your authenticity through your various platforms without going to political or controversial issues. Be you, as this is what people are attracted to. Stay consistent in your efforts (having a weekly blog helps). I’ve struggled with the shameless self-promotion. I’ve struggled with having a social media calendar and following it, using Gary Vee’s Jab, Jab, Right Hook approach. I am still learning and integrating these rules as I move forward in my own work and I hope others will find these points helpful in theirs.
Have you made (and hopefully learned from!) any personal branding mistakes? If so, I would love to hear about your experience! Share in the comments below.
*This blog was inspired by Entrepreneur’s article on 8 Ways You’re Destroying Your Personal Brand Without Even Knowing It.