The Brand of YOU

What do you want to be famous for? That’s the question you need to keep in the back of your mind as you read this article. The most important brand in the world is the brand of Y-O-U. We are all CEO’s of our own personal brand. A brand, by definition, is made up of attributes that we associate with a company, product or person.  Those attributes can be a symbol, a slogan, a name, what you wear, your values, and your beliefs, etc. When it comes to your personal brand, these attributes have transcended from the physical realm to the online realm with social media.

Personal branding is the process by which we market ourselves to others, and we do it more often than we think. Whether it’s being the best at our job, meeting people at a networking event, generating a lead for our business, making new friends, or for personal development – we are always marketing ourselves and we are all in charge of how others perceive us.

When you think about how personal branding extends past the physicality and into the online experience, suddenly the people you associate with, brands you “like”, comments you share, photos you are tagged in and your online social bio start to say a lot about the brand of you.

One thing to remember is that the internet is written in ink and it’s become a lot harder to erase what’s out there. Consider these points:

  • Google Search: From your LinkedIn profile to your Facebook page to your blog, everything can be indexed . Ask youself by doing a Google Search on your name every couple of months. Do you like what you see? Is this what you want to be famous for? If not, then dive into your online social media privacy settings and protect your brand. And don’t forget, LinkedIn comes up on page 1 of Google search so make sure  you have a good bio!
  • Photos: Ever reconnect with someone from your past only for them to post unflattering photos of you? Or what about when you got drunk and stupid at that work event and someone captured it on their iPhone – yikes! Did you know that once you “Untag” yourself in a photo on Facebook that you can never be tagged in that photo again? You can also edit your privacy settings so that when others tag you, you can control who sees those photos in their news feeds.
  • Facebook Places: Facebook’s version of FourSquare has fa rightening setting that allows others to check-you-in at a location just because your associated with them (unless you’ve unchecked that box in your privacy settings.)
  • Bio: You should always have a professional photo that displays what your brand is. But also consider that aside from your photo, your social bio asks you for all kinds of things like religious preference, favorite music, favorite quotes, favorite movies, your birthday, the town your grew up in, etc, because the fundamental purpose of social media sites is to share everything with everybody. But you need to ask yourself, do you want people to know that information? What does that information say about your brand?
  • Tweets: All tweets are in the Library of Congress and are indexed by search engines. Think twice about posting your opinions on sensitive topics like politics and religion and don’t ever attack anyone via Twitter – always a huge mistake.
  • Share: Share pertinent posts with the right audience. Utilize the lists feature in Facebook to only post things to the people that care about those things. No need to post that you got drunk in Napa at the wine festival this weekend to every Tom, Dick or Harry that you are “friends” with, like your boss, colleagues or future clients.
And lastly, ask yourself when communicating and posting online, “What do you want to be famous for?” That’s what you should be promoting, protect everything else.

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About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.