What You Need to Know About Personal Branding

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By: Melanie Shires, PCC

I have coached a number of entrepreneurs about their personal brand with regards to maintaining consistency across different social media channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and their website, as well as when they are attending networking engagements and speaking in various forums. This is important to show reliability to future customers, industry peers or referral partners.  What I also emphasize is that your personal brand is closely tied to your reputation. While you can purposefully curate your brand by maintaining consistency in your marketing and how you present yourself on and offline, you cannot fully control your reputation.

Yes, you can make your website look great and have tons of followers on Facebook and Twitter, but honestly speaking that will have zero impact on your work satisfaction, business growth or income. Working on the aesthetic aspects of your personal branding won’t mean anything if you disregard your reputation.

A reputation is a by-product of work. You can work on your skills. But you can’t work on a reputation.

A reputation is something you earn.

You see, a reputation is nothing more than the perception that other people have of you. So for one thing, it’s not something you directly control.

You can only influence it by two things:

1.    Do great work.

2.    Treat people well.

Be authentic and have integrity.

That’s all you need to know about organically enhancing your personal branding. Those who practice intention, being present and are the real deals in this world will always see through you. Trust me.

  • People get hired and build a network of peers pretending they are hardworking, honest, and loyal assets. But after a year or so, they start playing politics and backstabbing people.

  • You hire a freelancer or consultant, and they don’t do what they promised, they lie, or even rip you off. That kind of stuff happens all the time.

That’s why, if you want to be wildly successful in business, realize that even though people will look at your website or LinkedIn profile to gather information about you, they will assess your reputation.

People will ask themselves:

  • “Has this person done good work?”

  • “How does this person treat people?”

Unfortunately, many people prefer to pretend that they can have the reputation without putting in the work. Just edit your website and social media profiles and you’ll have an awesome personal brand. And I get it — we like the idea of control.

But in reality, we’re just fooling ourselves. We feel the pressure of the current world. Everything is extremely visible. We see young founders in the press who’ve made it big with their one-year-old startups or those online marketers who flaunt fabulous lifestyles while peddling their systems and programs. We look at how long we’ve been in the entrepreneurial arena and we feel threatened that we will never be successful.

It’s a culture based on appearances, that says: “As long as I appear important from the outside, I probably am.”

Reputation is an enigma.

I have found that entrepreneurs who don’t actively work on their personal brands generally have excellent personal brands.

Ponder this…Every time you’re trying to craft a witty tweet, cool looking Instagram pic, or a funny Facebook post, just know that no one really cares. So, you might as well do what you like and be authentic. Stay genuine. Be intentional. And if people don’t like the real you—who cares? The world is big enough for you to find people who do like you. When you do that, you will be consistent. When you fake it, after a while, it becomes difficult to keep track of your own forced, unintentional “brand.”

Do the work.

Become great at what you do and you will see that a reputation will follow suit. Of course, that’s not easy and it’s also a lot less rewarding than writing a delusional bio. When you create your website or social profiles, it’s tempting to paint a better picture compared to reality. In addition to working on your social presence and going to networking events, do great work.

Be more concerned with character than reputation. Character is what you are, reputation is what people think you are.
— John Wooden

I believe it all comes down to this: Reputation is something external. Character is the internal equivalent. It’s much more important what you think of yourself. So always give attention to your character. Not your reputation. When you do that, you will find that your reputation mimics your character in time. And that’s exactly what you want.

If you’re ready to get intentional about your personal brand schedule a virtual coffee with me and discover how to build, launch, run and grow a business you love.