Personal brand news: Of course, social networks are not a true reflection of real life, and much of the best that happens to us during our lives will not happen in front of a screen. However, they are a highly visible channel of communication: through them we express what we think, feel, topics we find interesting, or what we strive to achieve personally and professionally.
With this in mind, we should clarify that everything we post online affects, in one way or another, how we are perceived by others. There are even recruiters who ask candidates for their personal social media accounts (to find out what kind of people they may or may not get hired with), or clients who will look up your company before deciding on their offer. Is it worth inviting someone to join the team who complains about their previous job or their former boss? It doesn’t seem reasonable.
You may think, as many do, that these are your networks and you do whatever you want with them. You’re right, just as a company has the right to refuse to hire you or a client to reject a project because of what you post.
The good news is that you can also use these networks to your advantage to promote what you do, attract clients, increase your revenue and become an important voice in your field.
So let’s start with the rough stuff: What do we do on social media every day that affects our personal brand?
Let’s take a look at:
1. Complaining about work
Maybe you’re not at your dream job, your promised position, or the best company; maybe your boss is a total jerk and you have no one to talk to in the office, or maybe you have the worst partners or clients in your industry. But your networks are not the best place to complain. You’re only transmitting negativity and becoming a toxic element in your business and friends list.
Instead, think about what you can do to improve your environment, build a healthy relationship with your bosses, win a client or, if you see that’s not possible, look for new horizons.
2. Personal drama
We’ve all had that friend or acquaintance who has a new boyfriend and he is the love of her life, uploads a thousand pictures and thoughts and then ends up with him and says a thousand words against the aforementioned as if he is evil incarnate. Then she gets a boyfriend again, and the cycle repeats.
This person may think it’s natural in a relationship, but it’s not pleasant to watch from the podium. Ask yourself who your audience is, those who see all of this, and they may not write you, but they will find you perfectly fine because of your unstable personal life.
3. Constant complaining
Social media has been proven to be useful for complaining about poor service or a particular brand. Companies like Banamex, HSBC, Correos de México, and Telmex have teams that specialize in identifying and resolving user disagreements to prevent crises, although there are some users who go online just to complain about such things.
Just writing to complain is just as damaging as not creating anything positive. Usually these users have few followers (when they are an authority or opinion leader, they have built a base for what they post), so make sure that complaining is only part of everything you share online.
4. “Too” personal photos
You may be the happiest father or mother in the world with the arrival of your child, you want to share moments with them and you love it when the whole family finds out, likes and comments, but you have to set limits. Not only because there is time to promote your professional side, but also for safety reasons.
Look at it from the perspective of your privacy: there are instances where people post what neighborhood they live in, what school their kids go to, their daily routine, where and when they go on vacation, what car they bought, and other details that, unless you have privacy filters in place, could be available to anyone. Would you want anyone to know where your kids are while you’re working?
5. Disgusting jokes and memes
Perhaps this should have been item number one. It is known that 85% of users on social media don’t generate content, but they share it intensely. The case of a friend who shares videos, memes, photos, jokes and so on just to make others laugh may come to mind, in addition to the moms and aunts who fill your phone memory with “blessings” via WhatsApp.
Let’s get to it. It has happened: how would you feel if your boss, client, colleague or your teacher sent you sexist, classist, homophobic jokes, with explicit photos and high-minded language? If you’re the kind of celebrity in their friend groups who sends such content, let me tell you, you’re not making the best impression.
Yes, we have to talk about this, and it applies to both sexes: how wonderful that your parents made you with love, and you have a beautiful face or perfect body, the product of hours in the gym, it is hard to resist showing off, you may even attract fans and possible conquerors, but if what you want is to give a professional image, it may not be ideal.
Moreover, suppose at some point you decide that your work speaks for you, but those photos follow in your profiles, as do professional contacts. Do they follow you and talk to you because of your work and knowledge or because “they wanted you” in your photos? Think about it.
7. Don’t share what you do
Doesn’t all of the above refer to not sharing what you do? Yes, but I’m referring to what is done professionally. Your company may not be top notch, you may hate your job, have a disappointing family or personal life (or exemplary one, congratulations!), a beautiful body and a fantastic sense of humor, but if you’re not putting out what you know, what you learn, and it feeds you professionally, social media is just a time-consuming hobby.
Remember that a good hobby not only gives you a break, but it also gives you an opportunity to express yourself and make what you do known to others. Just as golf helps you close business deals and reading helps you improve your language and knowledge, social media allows you to get closer to other professionals, clients and professional contacts that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach.
Thus, it is advisable to share what you do professionally: what news you are interested in, what projects you want to start, what events or conferences you are interested in attending, perhaps you have written some article about the sector, an academic collaboration, a school project, recommended books that have changed your life. You might even find those who share the same passions and help you grow.
Well, I’ve written a lot about what not to do. In my next post, I’ll tell you about specific actions you can take on social media to build your personal brand.