In a Web 2.0 society, personal branding is intrinsically linked to the Internet, especially when it comes to personal websites and social media profiles.
As the face of your business or service, it makes good marketing sense to build an authentic, personal relationship with your audience.
However, when doing so, you need to keep in mind that you’re giving out information to a lot of people that can be a potential headache and possibly even become harmful if you don’t have some safeguards in place. That said…
Be a Safe “Dividual”
People have varying criteria for safety. Locations, children’s names and favorite pets are a way to emotionally engage an audience for some people but others would consider this a violation of boundaries.
To make your personal brand safe, you will need to decide what individual data you want to place in front of the population at large and what information about you can be gleaned from your campaign.
Called a “dividual,” a clever combination of the words “divide” and “individual”, the information offered to people reading your website or Facebook posts can either be helpful or harmful to your image and safety.
Offering something like “all of your cats are named after Girl Scout cookies” can be a significant bonding moment with your readers but it can also introduce information that can be used to hack your passwords, since many people also tend to choose pet names for said passwords. (Ps… don’t do that.)
Protect yourself by using a system to identify cybercrime and right it quickly while being cognizant of the potential use of any information that you write.
Know Where Your Brand Begins & You End
In Don Miguel Ruiz’s universally applicable book of Toltec wisdom, one of the four agreements is do not take anything personally. This can be difficult when you are your brand and someone is attacking it.
Yes, you are your brand but your brand is not you.
Twisty, I know, but try to keep up.
You are your brand because you are sharing parts of you, but parts of you don’t make up the entirety of you. Your brand is merely “parts” of you.
And since authenticity is a key component to branding in the digital age, it’s vital to create an exit strategy in case things things get hairy. Create rules on your personal website and social media pages outlining exactly where the lines will be drawn.
Let everyone know when and why a comment will not be tolerated then follow your own rules. Entertainer of children and activist Miss Lori uses her rules to separate out appropriate comments, including such rules as “no hate speech” and “own your words”.
Review Everything Side By Side – IMC
According to the American Marketing Association, integrated marketing communication (IMC) is a primary goal of good marketing, being defined as a process designed to assure that all brand contacts received by a customer or prospect are relevant and consistent over time.
As a personal brand, everything that you write is part of your marketing message. Since you need to be authentic, you can’t really hold back but you do want to be consistent.
That rant about the presidential nominees or the amount of homework that your kids bring home will weigh just as heavily as your About Me page in the broader scheme of things.
In an effort to keep yourself safe and consistent, try doing a search yourself online and place everything that you have written side by side.
This way you can do a comparison for inconsistent marketing messages as well as dangerous “dividuals” that may have slipped past you.
Over to You
Do you have safeguards in place to protect yourself should things get a little crazy with your brand? What are they? Drop your thoughts and comments below.