Are you are a business owner, a successful career person or an aspiring one? Chances are that your success in the 21st century will heavily depend on your personal brand. And now, because of social media, people can access you as a brand personally. What is a personal brand? And does it matter?
As I have shared in previous articles, personal branding is creating and presenting as true and authentic an image of yourself as possible; showcasing your area of expertise and standing firm publicly about your values, goals and plans. Who are you? How are you perceived? What does your name stand for to anyone other than yourself? 50% of who you are is what you really are, and the other 50% is what people think you are. Positive social perceptions can get you better jobs, better opportunities and fun company.
I met Gerald on Facebook. Gerald stands out. He makes you laugh to tears (can you say ROFL) on a daily basis. We know him as the comedian and somehow he has become part of our everyday lives. His is consistent in the person he is online and he has made us aware of him. Today, because of his social media epicness, Gerald gets nominated for awards and has had more acting opportunities than longer-standing actors. All this because he started with a “cool guy” social media presence.
Here are a few guidelines to making your online presence possibly as extra-ordinary as Gerald’s.
Man Shall Not Air Dirty Linen in Public.
We all have trouble. Life is full of some sort of problem or the other and most of us might hate our jobs more than we care to admit. Social media may feel like the ever present and available best friend, ready to listen to your problems and be a sympathetic ear. But beware! it can also be your worst enemy. Before you know it, you have told the world all your sorrows leading to potential embarrassment galore.
While you may actually have a much more turbulent life than you portray on social media, by posting primarily sad/morbid/depressing things, you are misrepresenting yourself and often making yourself look emotionally unstable. If you find yourself being extremely emotional, perhaps a temporary break from social media is necessary. Always remember FACEBOOK IS NOT YOUR JOURNAL.
Be The Happy Go Lucky Guy or Gal
Do you have that one person whose updates make you extremely happy? Who on a very bad day says or does something silly and fun, posts about it and leaves you in stitches ? Gerald was that guy. His purpose is and was, to turn every situation into a light-hearted moment.
When you spend your days surrounded by negativity or seriousness, a happy post can be liberating. Witty and humorous updates draw more interest from more people more than woe-is-me posts. Honestly, social media is often about finding an escape from reality; so go ahead and be happy. You will make someone’s day and give your online presence a positive boost.
Just incase you are not much of a talker, your presence can still have a happy impact. Just say it with pictures instead of words. Looking at pictures creates nostalgia and the much needed getaway people are seeking. You can make people want to be part of your world by posting compelling and engaging images. Not all pictures need to land on social media though. We all know the person whose social media pictures make us wonder…. don’t be that guy.
Heroes to the Rescue
If you ask me, motivations are always great. You and I know especially that in these harsh economic times and in the middle of the hustle and bustle of life, a good word of encouragement and inspiration can just make the day brighter.
While sarcasm has its place, too many of such updates may turn your audience off or make you appear rude. While you may be able to generate a large following by being rude, sexist, racist or any other negative “ist” you can think of, ultimately the majority of people in this world are good people, and good people only want to do business with other good people. Make your posts edifying, uplifting, entertaining and or educational and many will flock to you as a source of motivation.
You’re a Role model, Roll With It
If you are online and followed by more than just your mom, ALWAYS regard yourself as a public figure and be conscious of the image you are portraying. Be aware of the fact that you are a brand in your own right and must represent yourself accordingly. What you say, how you say it, and what you appear to approve of can count for or against you, so be very deliberate about the picture you paint of yourself.
“To Thine Own Self Be True” – Just Be Yourself
“Be yourself, everyone else is taken” the adage goes. You might not be the funny guy, or the adventurous girl or the fitness fundi but that is ok. Discover who YOU are and build hype around that. The beauty of social media is that there is an audience for just about everyone. I don’t know about you but I can smell a fake or put-on personality from miles away. Sincerity earns respect and by trying to be someone other than who you are, you are rob the world of your awesomeness. Above all, keep an unquestionable character. As they say in Nigeria: If there is character, ugliness becomes beauty; if there is none, beauty becomes ugliness. ~Nigerian Proverb
You Have Their Attention
Now that you have implemented all the above. You have your audiences’ attention, don’t squander it. They are waiting for you to tell them the next steps. Do you want them to go somewhere, do something, share something, buy something? Always have a call to action, even if it’s as simple as “comment below with your struggles” or “go bless someone with a smile”, tell them what do do.
I’m not saying your audience are zombies or brainless, they can still decide not to do what you ask them to do, but that decision is for them to take. Your job is to present them with the next steps.
What are some of the qualities you admire in social media brands? What are you social media pet peeves? Leave a comment and let’s talk about them.