We all have various “sides” of ourselves that are revealed to different people. From personal to professional, each group may only see, hear, or experience so much, just barely scratching the surface.
When people discuss personal branding, they always tell you to be yourself. They say that the unique personality shining through your work helps to brands you. But for most of us, it’s scary to reveal too much. It’s just like going to a party where you don’t know anyone and wondering what to say or do. In the back of your mind, you’re saying, ‘But what if they don’t like me?’ Newsflash: not everyone is going to like you. Period.
How to Be Real
The experts are right – you should be yourself. Your personality, along with your promise of value and quality, brands you. You should share your family, your hobbies, and your opinions. This makes you unique and memorable. It builds a relationship with your audience and the details of your personal life may resonate with your fans.
Online, people want only realness and sincerity. They don’t like anything fake, and they can smell it from a mile away. When you’re playing a part and they know it, this won’t build the trust you need. It also turns you into someone who doesn’t take a firm stand on anything, which is terrible for branding.
What If They Hate You?
If you’re afraid to let the real you show, that’s only natural. You should show your personality just like dipping your toe into a cold swimming pool to get used to it. Put something out there and see how your audience responds to it. Do you get likes and folks commenting? Or do they all ignore the post?
Branding is about connecting with your audience, so monitor the results of what you do and adjust accordingly. If you show them pictures of your kids and they go crazy with the comments, keep it up. If you tell them about your passion for stamp collecting and get only z’s, don’t bother mentioning it again.
Be on Brand
Before you share anything too personal, take a minute to consider what potential effect it might have. For example, is it a touchy political or religious subject that may alienate half of your audience? Or is it harmless? Imagine the worst that could happen and ask yourself if you could live with it.
Run everything through a filter to see if it sounds fake or could be taken the wrong way. It’s okay to take some risks sometimes, but you should wait until your brand is well-established. Another thing that helps is to really know your audience well.
It’s Not About You
Here’s a big secret about personal branding that will save you a lot of trouble – It’s not all about you. Far from it. Actually, your branding efforts are all about your audience. Even though you’re showcasing your accomplishments, your talents, your strengths, and your passions, it’s your promise to them that’s going to pay off. For everything you do, put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself, ‘Why should I care?’ That’s what they’ll be doing.
What really establishes your brand isn’t the image that you create or the personal tidbits you share; it’s the work that you do. When you deliver quality and truly help people, you’ll successfully brand yourself.