Personal Branding: Seven Social Media Branding Mistakes

The development of social media has been fantastic for the purpose of personal branding. Social media has made it possible for anyone with internet access to build an incredible personal brand. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have drawbacks. The reality is that, as rapidly as social media can build your personal brand, it can tear it apart. Today I’m going to cover several common social media branding mistakes to watch out for:

1. Inappropriate pictures and/or statements. This one is obvious, but it has to be covered. Social media sites make it easy to share an opinion or a picture—to the point where if you’re not careful, you’ll post something you shouldn’t have without even thinking about it. A compromising picture or an inappropriate remark can destroy your brand… and possibly your career. Be careful!

2. Inconsistency. Remember, you can’t be everything to everyone. Your brand needs to be centered on a few specific traits. Don’t over extend your brand. Focus on the core of your brand and reinforce it constantly.

3. Misunderstanding your audience. Who are you targeting? Facebook has a different audience than Twitter, which has a different audience than LinkedIn. Know who you are reaching in each space and tailor your message appropriately. For instance, your audience on LinkedIn is going to consist primarily of professionals while your Twitter followers will be a mix of friends, colleagues, family and others. Your contacts on LinkedIn probably don’t want to know what you had for dinner last night—your Twitter followers might. Know who you’re reaching!

4. Negativity. Excessive negativity will poison your personal brand. Nobody enjoys constant complaining—so be careful about saying anything negative. Not only is it a turnoff to most people, but complaining about your boss or your clients is a sure way to chase other employers or clients away.

5. Inward focus. Don’t make your social media presence all about you. What are you doing to help others? If you have a great experience with a certain retailer, share it with the world! If a friend makes a great post on Twitter, retweet it! Compliment others whenever the opportunity arises. In addition to being the right thing to do, demonstrating your selflessness makes you much more appealing to others.

6. Advertising. Nobody joins Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn because they need more sales pitches in their life. Be social. Get to know others. Display your personality. The relationships you build will be far more beneficial to your business or your career than any sales pitch will be—especially since most people will ignore a sales pitch without even thinking about it.

7. Not committing. You can’t build a strong personal brand through social media without putting in the time. Tweeting three times a week is simply not enough. You need to be active nearly every day—several times a day, if possible. There are lots of people out there—if you aren’t active, you’ll be lost in the crowd.