Personal branding is not shameless, endless self-promotion. It’s not direct messaging me with your faux request to “take this IQ test and see if you’re smarter than me.” It’s not directing me to your website with every post. It’s not seeing yourself as the epicenter of everything to do with your industry, category, talent, idea, or area of expertise. It’s not starting every conversation with “I…”
Maybe you shouldn’t be personal branding quite yet. Here’s a quick self-assessment to tell you if you need to keep your personal brand really personal right now.
- You don’t shower everyday.
- You’re been house-bound since Oprah’s announcement.
- You’ve been blocked for stalking or spamming.
The list could get pretty long, but you get the idea. You can’t be fundamentally anti-social, greedy, jealous, boring, self-centered, creepy or anything else that ensures you’ll be someone’s ex-husband (or ex-wife) someday (or again) and do yourself proud in personal branding. You have to lift the other end of the couch, not sit on it, while your roommate is moving out – unless he’s trying to take your couch.
Consider what’s real for you. Maybe you don’t have even a smidgeon of the mensch gene, that is, you’re a person with little or no empathy for others. You don’t connect with people in person. You don’t consider public service anything but a way organizations sucker people into doing free work for freeloaders. You’d like to compete in the Special Olympics because you’re not in any way challenged, so the odds are really good you’ll win.
Social media merely amplifies your personal brand
In that case, you just might quietly get into group therapy before letting us all know the real you. Seriously, you aren’t doing anyone any good – especially yourself and the company you represent – by using social media to broadcast just what a lout you are. Of course, if this cautionary post doesn’t apply to you, then print it out (wear gloves so it can’t be traced) and put it on the desk of someone who it applies to.
What brought all this on? A recent YouTube video on personal branding by Carlos Mandelbaum poked holes in my personal branding bubble.
Plus, perhaps like you, I have found too many of my friends do too little to report, yet they report way too often on Facebook. For example, a whole lot of people tell me when they’re turning in for the night or that they’re coloring a girlfriend’s hair before baking brownies in their hometown in Kansas (I live in LA, so no brownies for me; hence, I don’t want to know). A lot of the chatter reminds me of flying to Hong Kong from Los Angeles, lying next to a stranger (business class seats go all the way down). For 20 hours I knew everything about this woman, in real time and in the mini-series she relayed of her past.
Preparation is key
Before you make another social media move or affix your name badge at the next mixer, be ready with no less than 3 entries for these categories:
- Unusual facts or advanced tips that can help a person move forward in your area of interest.
- Experts in your field that you can learn from and connect with, along with a question you want to ask them.
- Reasons why you want to serve and lead your tribe.