Authenticity, Personal Branding and Success

Developing your personal brand is essential for the advancement of your career and development as a leader.  Unfortunately, personal branding has become a commodity as people have irresponsibly used social media as a platform to build their personal brand and increase their relevancy. Many believe social media can immediately increase their market value for their personal brand rather than recognizing that the process of developing their personal brand is a much larger responsibility; a never-ending journey that extends well beyond the internet. Sure, If you have an online presence on Google plus, Twitter, Facebook, or Linkedin you’re on the right page but it’s not enough.

First thing to do is set goals for your public image. Why? Because your personal brand is built from the opinions and reactions of other people, it’s shaped by how you present yourself publicly. This is something that you have control over. Consider your goals for the brand. If you want to sell an expensive lesson in watercolor painting you’ll need to be seen as someone with the authority to teach others on the topic and the knowledge and skills that are required to teach that subject.

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If you make a pitch to a customer as a web writer, social media expert, web developer, web designer or communications expert and you have worked with big names and the site staff is perfect: if the company researches you online, what will they find? Especially if we’re talking about communication, online marketing and social media the answer should be: a clean digital identity! Brilliant on google, many friends on facebook and a lot of activity on twitter.

The web is not a world apart. If you can force yourself to build another you and if this character is not the exact copy of who you really are it will come out sooner or later. This is true on the web as in real life: do not try to be someone else, inventing stories, building fake profiles or simply lying.

If you have a subscription on all the most popular social sites you have a better chance to monopolize the first page of Google with these results thus having control of the sites where a potential client, employer, friend or colleague will be able to find information about you.

Your personal brand should represent the value you are able to consistently deliver to those whom you are serving.  This doesn’t mean self-promotion – that you should be creating awareness for your brand by showcasing your achievements and success stories.

A personal brand, like any good brand, needs to be consciously managed and controlled throughout our lives. Choosing where to go to college, for example, is a huge decision that affects a lifetime of experiences. Picking a life partner is even more influential. Deciding whether to leave a current job and pursue a new opportunity can be considered from a branding perspective to make sure we’re making the right decision. The “right” decision is one both consistent with our brand and on track with the goals we have set for ourselves. Creating a digital identity for oneself is a good way to help create digital relationships online. In the world of the internet, word of mouth is still the best source of new opportunities for all. When you enter your name in Google, what pops up?

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