Jon Michail is Founder & Group CEO of Image Group International & best-selling author of Life Branding. Follow him on LinkedIn & Twitter.
Everyone today from Bill Gates and Elon Musk to Oprah Winfrey and Bill from Timbuktu has a personal brand, though many people may not realize it. I’ve noticed that only the people who know what their personal brand is and what it is doing for their professional and personal reputation gain the many benefits from their personal brand positioning.
It’s critical that you have an authentic and strong online presence. Your presence on various social media channels is as important as your offline presence — maybe even more so. Building an influential, impactful and strong personal brand on the appropriate social media channels can go a long way in helping you secure that dream job and promotion or becoming an entrepreneur and leader who people trust and look up to.
However, an inauthentic personal brand on social media can destroy your online and offline reputation, which could have dire consequences. Here are some of the critical mistakes I see people make on their social media profiles that negatively affect their personal brand.
1. Being Inconsistent And Inauthentic
It is important to use your social media channels to portray an authentic personal brand. According to research by Edelman, “trust in social media is in crisis” — only 43% of those surveyed say they trust social media as a source for general news and information. Many people make the mistake of knowingly or unknowingly create some fancy, inauthentic personal brand on social media that creates confusion among their followers and ultimately makes them seem untrustworthy. Be true to your values and beliefs, and make sure that your online profile is congruent with your offline behavior. Social media should be an extension of your offline personal brand.
2. Trying To Be An Expert At Everything
There are countless people on social media who seem to have advice or tips about everything that comes across their feeds. Many people think that having an opinion on everything might enhance their reputation, authority and credibility. It doesn’t. Having an opinion on everything can massively harm your personal brand. It can make you appear inauthentic and decrease the value of your opinions.
Instead, aim to brand yourself as an expert on just one to three things to begin with. Focus your attention on a niche topic. Choose from the topics, ideas or things you’re passionate about and have knowledge of. Over time, this will encourage people to trust you and help you build a following on social media.
3. Not Updating Your Social Media Accounts
It’s absolutely critical for you to regularly update your social media accounts. Many have suffered dearly because their past social media content has come back to haunt them. You may not be the same person today that you were some years ago; your personal brand evolves with you. You might have posted something five years ago that does not do justice to who you are today.
Update your social media regularly so that it portrays your current personal brand and becomes an extension of who you are offline. Make sure the content you post is congruent with your values and beliefs, and remove any past content that you believe harms your personal brand.
4. Being Too Negative
For many people, times are tough, and it can be hard to be upbeat and constantly positive. Although you can express your opinions and concerns depending on the appropriateness and the medium, portraying yourself as a victim and being negative all the time can affect how people perceive your personal brand. Most people want to see positive but mostly authoritative content. If your social media content is highly negative all the time, it will only be a matter of time before you start losing credibility and authority. Consistent negative content is a recipe for disaster, which can also create obstacles for your professional and personal life.
5. Using The Same Content Style Across Social Media Channels
Many people use the same exact content, in the same style, on various social media platforms. This might harm your personal brand and make people lose trust in you, even though your content might be authentic and relevant. It is important to understand that what works well on Facebook or Instagram may not work well on LinkedIn. Tailor your content according to the design of the platform and the audience you are targeting.
Social media has become an extremely important platform for people to build an influential and authentic personal brand today. But it is very easy to devalue your personal brand on social media if you don’t truly understand how to properly use the medium. A weak and untrustworthy personal brand on social media can also affect your offline personal brand. Don’t make the same mistakes that others have. Start your personal branding journey on social media with a clear, sustainable and systematic approach.
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