It’s been more than a decade since online marketing guru Seth Godin and his associates at Fast Company magazine first floated the notion of "the brand of you," that helpful but perhaps overhyped theory that to get ahead in the Internet era we’d all need to look at ourselves as "brands" and market ourselves accordingly.
Years later, in the age of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networking advances, we all pretty much get what Godin was talking about. Our online identities are the first thing potential employers see, and our failure to craft them, massage them, and maintain them accordingly can do damage to our "brands" and lose us potential jobs or contracts.
In a recent Network World article, Meridith Levenson takes this idea and runs with it, offering six ways we damage our personal brands.
- Putting the cart before the horse: There’s no point in using all the online tools to promote your brand until you’ve taken the time to think out who are, what you want, and what it is you have to sell. Go through that exercise first.
- Having an unfocused brand: Simply assigning a job title to yourself isn’t branding.
- Adopting a copycat or generic brand: Don’t copy other people’s buzzwords. Originality is key.
- Behaving inconsistently: Everything from your voice mail message to your blog to your tweets must have a consistent tone. You can’t be wild and crazy in one place and dead serious in another.
- Not committing to social media: Whatever you set up, you must maintain.
- Over-promoting yourself: Keep it cool. There’s no need to go nuts with all this stuff.
Why not devote a couple of hours to making sure your online you is your best you.