Three big personal branding mistakes you might be making right now

According to Social Media Statistics Australia, social media users in Australia are some of the most prolific in the world, with a total of approximately 60  per cent of the country’s population on Facebook, and 50 per cent of the country logging in at least once a day. The question is: are we using our time on the platforms to our benefit or detriment?

Here are three of the biggest personal branding mistakes you might be making right now:

1. Complacency: There are plenty of people who think because they are not famous, their personal brand, especially online, doesn’t matter. This lack of attention often results in unflattering profile photos and outdated information left up for everyone to see. The truth is, however, your personal brand is not always what you say about yourself, it is what Google says about you. For those looking for a new job, research suggests 70 per cent of employers google candidates before requesting an interview. Small-business owners who often believe they are hidden behind their brand name are also not immune. We live in a world that demands transparency and expects access to the people behind the brand. In the book ‘The Reputation Game’, Reid Hoffman, co-founder of both Linkedin and Paypal, is quoted saying “We are just at the cusp of what it means to operate in the networked age”. Don’t wait five years and then wonder where your life and career could have been, had you taken your personal brand seriously back then.

2. Impulsive posting: Younger generations have a lot to learn here. What goes online stays online and it is important to consider your future with everything you post today. They say ‘think before you speak’ well the mantra of today’s age should be “think before you post”. There is a fine line between being authentic and over-sharing. It is important to respect the line and do your best to steer as clear of it as possible. You would not walk into a party and declare all your inner demons, so why would you do it online unless for a purpose?

3. Copycat Syndrome: When it comes to personal branding there is no competition. In the wise words of anonymous, “Be yourself because an original is worth so much more than a copy”. If you think there is a winning formula for creating a personal brand, you have already started out on the wrong foot. Think of any powerful personal brand you admire and I am willing to bet the person behind it is unapologetically original. Does that mean you need to dress like Lady Gaga or speak like Gordon Ramsey? No. According to the Oxford dictionary, the definition of “Original” is “created personally by a particular artist, writer, musician, etc”. Whatever it is you want to stand for and however you choose to tell your story, just make sure you create the narrative personally. Do not be swayed by “experts” or “coaches”. A good advisor will simply ask you questions so you can design a personal brand based on your own answers.

Personal branding allows you to take an active role in the direction of your life. By putting yourself out there, you allow yourself to be open to new opportunities and connections that may have otherwise not been accessible. As Walt Disney famously said, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them”.

Carlii Lyon, Director, Carlii Lyon Public Relations

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