If social media is a part of your business strategy, it’s important to make sure it’s working for and not against you. We’ve all seen the damage done online from people sharing inappropriate material. While they say, “All publicity is good publicity,” those who are concerned about consciously and responsibly managing their personal brand would likely take a more planned approach.
Any and all decisions about how you use social media are yours, alone, to make. That being said, when you want to manage your brand and make sure it’s the best it can be, there are several mistakes to avoid. After all, whether you have a career or run your own business, you have a limited amount of time, money and energy. Anything you do to invest in you and your brand should be a benefit – something that works in your behalf and for the long term.
So what types of mistakes are there to avoid? Actually, there are more than can possibly be described in this short article. However, here are a few to consider. Keep in mind that these may or may not apply to you.
You know who you are and the value you provide others. You know your target market – their needs, wants and expectations. You also have a unique personality and an inherent risk level when it comes to what you want to reveal about yourself online. There are many details and nuances that play into what’s “good” or “not good” for your brand. And, that’s something you’ll need to decide for yourself.
Separation: Personal vs Business
While the lines separating your business and personal lives are more blurred than ever, you still need to make a conscious decision about what you want to share and with whom. I know people with strong opinions both ways – some say to never blur the lines, while others say, it really doesn’t matter.
What works for you? What do you think is appropriate? Understand that what’s appropriate to share online may or may not resonate with your target market. Be careful not to turn away or offend those with whom you want to connect. First impressions are everything. While strong brands repel and attract, be careful! It’s very hard to recover from a bad first impression!
Boundaries: What works for you?
Over-sharing? Revealing too much information (TMI)? No socially appropriate boundaries? Unfortunately, we’ve all seen this online. Believe me, I’ve read a few horrifying personal accounts shared by professionals which weren’t at all appropriate — on any level for any target market.
Do you really want to share every detail of your life? Do you think that will help or harm you in the long run? Be careful about what you share about yourself and others. Over-sharing or inappropriate sharing can get you into hot water — including legal trouble. Some information is best kept to yourself or revealed only to closer networks. You can always be authentic without being inappropriate.
Consistency: A Strong Foundation for Your Brand
The easiest way to manage your brand is to make sure that what you share online is consistent across all social media channels. You can do the work once and then tweak it for the various accounts. When it comes to branding, use the same colors, logos, and headshot. Your message should be focused and working towards a specific end – your singular brand message. Post similar types of content to your blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other accounts. Consistent representation of you online is key to providing a strong foundation for your brand.
Research Yourself: Monitor Your Online Reputation
Use various online tools for monitoring your online reputation – even a simple and regular Google search. Be aware of what people are seeing when they Google your name or your business name. Regular monitoring will allow you to plan current and future postings so that your brand stays fresh and on target.
Privacy Settings: Use Them
All social media tools offer privacy settings. Learn what they mean and how they can be used so that you can segment what you post and who sees what. This is especially important for Facebook. Make sure you verify your settings, too, so that you know they are set correctly. If you are unsure of what they do, connect with support or review supplemental support materials. With the correct settings, which should be reviewed at the least annually, you’ll be confident that you’re optimizing your online presence and sharing only what you want to share.
Whether you’re new to social media or not, take time to define the parameters of what you want to share online about you and your business. Create a plan that reflects your brand and brand message. Make sure it aligns with your risk level as well as what’s appropriate and useful to your target market. With a little bit of planning now, you can reap the benefits of social media well into the future!
Tara empowers business professionals to define and prioritize key areas of their businesses to increase their credibility, visibility and profitability by providing coaching and implementation services. A former tech industry finance professional, she’s also the creator, producer and host of Michigan Entrepreneur TV, now in its 10th year of production. Connect with Tara on LinkedIn! For more information, visit http://www.personalbrandessentials.com