Four Myths About Personal Branding

thumbnailMyth #1: Social media and personal branding are synonymous.

It’s true that social media can amplify your personal brand quickly. But, whether it does it effectively is dependent on your decisions about the value you want your brand to deliver. For instance, are you trying to entertain or are you trying to educate about your area of expertise?

Personal branding also works offline, and has for years—it’s just that people didn’t call it that back then. A brand is a reputation. So make sure you act in accordance with how you want your brand to be perceived—in person or on the web.

Myth #2: Personal branding is about how you look and what you wear.

Wearing a power suit might send cues that you are a professional. But, if you are not smart and competent, you’ll soon be known as an “empty suit.” Looking the part can help with first impressions, but you need to deliver on the brand promise of value. Better than buying a new suit would be developing a unique skill set or deepening your professional experience.

Myth #3: The more people who follow or friend you, the stronger your personal brand.

Certainly numbers can help. But what’s more important is having the right friends with whom you have a real connection. A small number of strong relationships with the right people will always trump a mass of people who don’t really know or care about you. When I recommend people, it’s people who I like, know and trust.

Myth #4: Ubiquity builds a strong personal brand.

You don’t have to be on every social media platform. You don’t have to tweet 20 times a day. Be generous with your ideas, your expertise and your support of the community. But, don’t post just to post. It’s fine to let people know what you are doing (so birds of a feather can flock together), and to show some of your personality. Just don’t clog the system with mindless blather. On a regular basis, post something of unique value that adds credibility to your brand.

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