Contrary to popular beliefs, in this day and age, the term branding is no longer just related to companies or products. As a matter of fact, every individual is a personal brand today. Actively updating our social accounts, checking in at every nook and corner we visit, has created a digital footprint for each of us. Creating your personal brands is not a an option anymore. You’re already being seen. And you need to put in efforts to be seen well.
About 92% of US kids below the age of two years have a digital footprint even before they know what it is. (source)
Apart from going through the nitty-gritty of how to create a personal brand, you need a bigger picture view: how you would like it to define you? How would you like to be perceived- by the community, future employers and your friends? Just like the first day in school, it is hard to talk or write about yourself. Where to start from, which information to include or not, fills up our minds in seconds resulting only in one thing – blabbering. The same holds true for those individuals who are trying to establish their personal brands online. Most of these blabbering personal brands are hardly memorable and that’s because they fall into the category of those who make the most common branding mistakes. So how do you know you’re doing something wrong? Here are some tips!
5 Common Mistakes You May Be Making While Creating Your Personal Brand
There is no avoiding risks and trying out new things to establish yourself in this digital world, else you would be deemed ‘boring’. But there are a few mistakes you could be making and need to rectify right away.
1. Declaring you’re ‘the one’
Yes, most of us don’t even realise this one.
One of the most picked branding choice, declaring yourself as ‘the best’ in your field is a major fail. The titles are pasted-on by the individuals themselves and sadly, the audience isn’t easy to fool.
Such brands often end up facing criticism the moment they make a small mistake and lose almost all credibility, or business. No one’s asking you to downplay your skills, but being humble speaks a lot more about your brand than your marketing efforts. Let your employers or clients do the talking for you- fend for some endorsements and comments from people you’ve worked with, instead of declaring yourself as an expert.
2. Your brand looks like a to-do list
“What do you do?”
“I can run ad campaigns, link building, SEO, keyword research, write articles, whitepapers, etc.”
Basically, my brand is a walking to-do list. With years of experience behind us, most of us are so used to answering this common question with a list of things we have learnt that we have forgotten how to describe what we are all about.
Take out sometime and fix that answer of yours. People want to hear what ‘you’ do, not just what your brand has to offer – make sure you add in a minimum of two lines for each of your skills.
3. It is you and you and only you
Even though the song is really nice, it doesn’t go well with personal branding.
Agreed that you are being asked about what you do, but aren’t the products and services that you’re offering meant for others? Most individual brands end up blabbering only about themselves – how they came up with the idea, what makes them different, what they’re good at and avoiding what they’re not so good at.
Self flattering never did anyone any good; give your audience a chance to speak for you. Instead of stating what you’re good at, show them how your brand is better than the others when it comes to offering better user experience. The more relatable you make it, the more flattery you attract.
4. Being inauthentic and lacking originality
So you have a website for yourself but because you didn’t have a copywriter, you decided to follow the ‘copy paste’ rule! Sad.
Most individual brands avoid the ‘what you do’ and ‘why you’re better’ sections or make the grave mistake of copying them from one of their competitors, changing a word or two max to make it their ‘own’. Time to pull up your sleeves and get down to some creativity – show your audience what you really are! Bring in some originality to your online brand just like your personality offline.
5. Words without action
“You are what you do and not what you say you’ll do.”
Individuals often brand themselves using the choicest of adjectives hoping the readers get the subtle (not) hint of how smart and savvy you are.
Being in this field has taught me one thing: “Show, don’t tell.” There is no one out there who is going to believe you are good at something unless you show them your work. Adding a portfolio section to your website (or LinkedIn profile- which ever platform you choose) is a smart way to satisfy the needs of those who want to ‘see’ first and then commit. It also shows how well you’re able to keep up with the words you use to describe your brand; so make sure you use the right words and back them up with proof enough to impress at the first look!
The last thing you want your brand to be known as is a ‘wanna be’. On this note, it’s also very weird to have “wannabe anything” as your Twitter bio. “Aspiring something” instead may do wonders for your brand perception. So, if there is anything above that clicked with what you’re doing for promoting your personal brand, time to rethink it all! And if you’re not sure about what to do, don’t shy away from asking for help!
Is there any mistake you have made and learnt from, or would like to add to the list? Feel free to share them in your comments!
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