Building 'Brand You'
Building 'Brand You'
With President Trump announcing “Without the tweets, I wouldn’t be here . . . I have over 100m followers between Facebook, Twitter [and] Instagram,” whether you agree with his (many) comments or not, could anyone imagine these mediums could become so powerful?
‘Brand You’ is a powerful tool; used correctly it can make a career, carve a niche in your chosen profession and help you be seen as a thought leader – however, used badly, it can seriously damage your prospects.
Famously Connor Riley had a job offer from Cisco on the table to which she tweeted: “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.”
Shortly after that, there was a reply from Cisco employee Tim Levad: “Who is the hiring manager? I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the Web.”
As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said: “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room”.
In our culture there’s bias towards extroverts, people who are positive, outgoing, cheerful, however, not all of us are like that. Some of the most amazingly gifted and productive people on the planet are introverts, serious, distracted, even socially awkward. Most of us fall somewhere in between. But if you are an introvert, own it, share it, and be proud because it’s part of Brand You. Don’t force yourself to be someone you’re not. This rule also applies to social media. Maybe you’re a natural at blogging, tweeting, facebooking, etc. and maybe you’re not. If you’re not, then it shouldn’t be a crucial part of Brand You – that being said, the basics of the above should be in your armoury!
‘Brand You’ does take on different forms and does require different approaches and used without thought can lead to disastrous consequences, especially when you are looking for a new role. We have experienced instances where individuals have been requested for interviews only for their interview to be cancelled once the Hiring Manager has researched the individual online and found some post he / she didn’t agree to or like – it does happen so remember, once you post, it’s out there, there forever and there’s not a great deal you can do about it (one of these instances was a post on Facebook from some 4 years earlier!).
Used well, ‘Brand You’ can help your career but there are some key lessons to learn:
Not all medias are the same so do ensure you are commenting and posting relevant content for that media – posting pictures of your holiday on the professional network LinkedIn isn’t the right thing to do. Again, when deciding on a cover photo for your profile do ask yourself ‘What photo is appropriate for this site – what does this photo say about me’.
Commenting or creating posts that are not appropriate for the medium can again tarnish what could have been a good Brand You. Negative comments about an old employer, industry or product may seem harmless at the time, however, you don’t want to come across as a negative person – if you must post comments that criticise, balance the comment with constructive feedback – there must have been something good about your experience! Don’t be one of the 13 Virgin Atlantic crew who took time to insult their passengers on Facebook – needless to say they are most likely flying for someone else now!
Always think - ‘What does this comment / post say about me’.
Packaging ‘Brand You’ is about creating a brand which others wish to follow and hear from, a brand which can be seen as an influencer, a brand that is memorable – be creative, be controversial if you wish, challenge the norm but do remember you are in the public’s eye every time you post.