What is a personal brand?

It is you. Your story. This intimate story is portrayed via an overall message that weaves throughout Social Media platforms. Just as major consumer brands have well-known, universally recognized images, individuals have them too. But more than a just a surface image, it is important to have a deeper story too. This serves as the backbone for all you are about, who you are and why you do what you do. How successful you are in telling your story will determine how deeply it resonates with your audience and will ultimately determine the success of your brand. When you are first learning about Social Media, you are usually unaware that you are creating an online persona for yourself with each post, status update and tweet. It is all experimental at this point as you learn how to navigate the various mediums.

The essential element in creating your personal brand is to be authentic. ee cummings said “It takes courage to grow up and be who you are.” Don’t copy someone else’s style: be yourself! Being an imitation of the most fabulous thing is still just an imitation. People catch on to this behavior very quickly. Consider your avatar to be your logo: keep it fresh and real.

Be outstanding!! Each person has unique qualities and gifts that make them special. Find yours and amplify them. If you are hesitant about what image you are projecting, find interesting blogs or links to share that fit within your strategy and build up your confidence as you go. Pay attention to what people “like” or retweet, figure out where you are connecting with your followers and build on that. Above all, please be interesting. You may start with a little kindling and end with a big bonfire if you create the proper base.

Consistency is key in your personal branding efforts. If your goal is to be viewed as a professional, this needs to be across the board through your Social Media efforts. The language that you use is the currency and relevancy to your message. Make wise choices and remember that the internet is permanent. Linking your Social Media channels together makes it seamless for a follower to travel from your Twitter bio over to your blog. This does not mean that you should show all your tweets on Linked In and tweet your Facebook statuses. A separate, similar message is fine, no need to be repetitive.

Your personal brand will evolve over time as you grow but you start projecting your personal brand from your first tweet or post. You might think you don’t have a personal brand yet however; you already do. Consider what this might be and polish it up if necessary. It is not just your avatar but all your interactions woven together to create a personal story: your personal brand. Make it a good one!