September 28, 2014

Social Media, Personal Branding and What to Share Online

personal brandingLast week, I listened to a podcast on social media, authenticity, and the human brand presented by Mark Schaefer and Tom Webster. This topic piqued my interest for several reasons.

First, my personal and business life has changed drastically over the past six months. I often wonder how to maintain authenticity (which, to me, means honesty) without airing my dirty laundry. In the podcast, Mark shared his dislike for the word stating that it implies, “that your words and actions are congruent with the way things are.  That’s not always the way things are!”

This is the truth. We share what we want people to see about our lives. Granted, there are times when I see rants in my newsfeed. Some people have no filter, but overall, we share what we want others to know about us – that’s why we share it!

As a social media professional, there are times that I feel as though I’m held to a certain standard. But really, I’m a human being just like anyone else.  I share things about my life because that makes me human. But I don’t feel the need to share everything to everybody.

My clients often struggle with creating a personal brand on the web. I advise them to share their personality a little and allow people to get to know them.  There’s a balance. People need to know you to like you and trust you (and eventually buy from you), but you don’t have to share every detail about your life.

It’s common to see people asking for prayers or thoughts when faced with tough times. Mark relayed the story of Justin Levy who shared the details of his journey with brain surgery.  I think the same of a former client who blogged about the sudden aneurysm and eventual death of their son.  There are times when sharing these stories allows us to rely on our community of supporters and friends.  Many of these instances provide a source of inspiration to other people.

When it comes to creating a personal brand online, my best advice is to do what fits your comfort level. It’s important to form a bond with other people, but remain cautious of over sharing in ways that can negatively impact your brand.  As Mark said, what we do on social is ‘the resume of your life.’

What are your thoughts on maintaining a strong personal brand online?

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