Like it or not, your personal online presence is a requirement. And whether you’re a social butterfly, selling a product, building a business, or looking for a new opportunity your online presence is there. This means how you look, what you say and how frequently you say it really does matter.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of personal brands suck. Don’t feel too bad you’re in good company. I don’t think my profile is anything to write home about. The problem is there is no users guide for this sort of thing.
Sure there are dozen of books out that will walk you through all of the nuances of how you should do this or that, but I don’t think any of those people have a clue either. Truth is, even though social networks and user-generated content have been around for years they are still relatively new. We are all sort of winging it, trying out different things to see what works. That also goes for all of the self-proclaimed social media ninja gurus experts.
That said, as a guy who has been on here in La-La-Land for well over 20 years and for the last 15 years have been guiding business people around the many potholes on the information highway, you would think I’d have at least some intuition about personal branding. While I may not know exactly what works, since no one really does, I do know what doesn’t work.
RELATED ARTICLE: Creating a Strong Online Presence for Marketing Success
Here is a list of reasons I have found on why your personal brand might be doing more harm than good and some helpful tips:
1. Way Too much information.
Pick the one thing you want people to remember, make sure they can’t miss it, and minimize the rest. Everyone knows to keep it simple but none really do.
Look at Google. What do you see? One huge brand that covers a long list of products and services, but all you need to say is Google and everyone knows what you are talking about. Why is Google a strong brand? Google knows you are overloaded with info and can only remember a tiny fraction of what you see.
Cut down on the content people initially see when they find your personal brand and use more visuals that express what you are all about. Short upbeat videos of you talking to your viewers work. That is if they are well done and professionally produced.
2. Most of your content is fluff.
Normally, your close friends are not going to tell you what they think of your online presence. However, most of what is posted online is fluff. I come from a operational background where people gave it to you straight. If my work sucked, somebody told you. If your followers see what you post as crap you would expect them to tell you…but no. People are inherently too nice and thank goodness they are.
Your online presence needs to be to the point and direct.
3. Enough with the quotes already.
You should only have to hear this once. Your online presence is your brand, not Aristotle’s, Mark Twain’s or Gandhi’s. So stop with the quotes. And for God’s sake, don’t quote yourself. That’s got to be the most annoying, pompous, self-important thing I’ve ever seen anyone do. Ever. No quotes.
4. Your picture is lousy.
Come now, surely you can come up with one half-decent picture of yourself and you alone – especially with all your clothes on and without your dog, cat, kids or better half. It’s called a personal brand people, not a porn brand, family brand, or cartoon brand.
You photo is the very first thing viewers see. If they see something that is not You they quickly leave feeling you don’t take yourself seriously. Post a nice headshot and show the world you are “Someone”.
5. Your tagline is unique…like everyone else.
Being different is not a differentiator. There’s a big difference. Instead of being different, focus on your value proposition, what others will pay for because you’re better than the competition.
No need in trying to be cute by giving yourself an off beat title or a description of what you do that includes the words ‘Epic’ and ‘Awesome’. Now days, being unique is not unique.
6. Hashtags are not personal.
So many people’s Twitter profiles are entirely made up of overused or useless hashtags. Hashtags are neither personal nor expressive.
Do some work and use real words, people.
Hashtags were created for search engines to index a topic or subject. Believe me, Google doesn’t need Hashtags to index the content of your personal profile.
Come up with a differentiated value prop, not some BS reference nobody gets.
7. Where is your call to action.
If there’s no call to action, nothing can be expected to happen. It is a given users can +1, like, follow, or link to you, but if someone miraculously ends up looking at your personal profile, why not have a direct link to your business, or whatever you reason for being online maybe? Links to your other social network pages don’t count.
Tell your viewers what you would like for them to do once they see who you are.
8. Stop with the Political ranting.
Here in the states we have had a couple hundred years of a polarized political history. You making a political statement in your personal profile is not going to influence anyone so knock it off. It is important to know that anyone in business is not immune from their personal life being scrutinized by consumers. When a consumer sees a profile that has political overtones they move on to buying something from someone who has a less threatening, more balanced, or non-political stance. Eventually, those who feel their personal content should not have anything to do with their professional side will find their bottomline is being hit by what they say or think.
RELATED ARTICLE: The Importance Of Your Online Presence – Twenty Something Living
9. Don’t answer, “Why?”
No, you don’t want to literally state why customers should want to do business with you. However, you need to at least get a message across, in as few words as possible, that answers the consumer’s ‘WIIFM’ (what’s in it for me).
10. Don’t waste space and time!
Lastly. If you insist on saying you are a husband or a mother, naming your spouse, stating the obvious that your views are your own or telling the world you’re a Cowboy fan who loves fried pickles, you’re wasting space, people’s time, and an opportunity to express to the world something meaningful.
That’s what personal branding’s all about..so go out there help yourself to what your personal brand can do.
Let me know how I can help.