In recent times, much has been written about the notion of one’s personal brand, and how one’s image in the eyes of others can have a profound impact in areas such as recruitment, career progress, personal influence and self-esteem.
Seeking out someone in demand is driven heavily by that person’s personal brand and how we feel about that. This is especially important in the workplace as people reach out for technical or job related advice or for general mentoring. On the social front, personal brand has a big influence on how friendship groups are formed and how different social activities unfold. A person who is not a team player for instance may gain a negative reputation as a result which will have major bearing of how people reach out to them. Their personal brand in this regard could be a real impediment to their work or social inclusion and activity.
Well guess what, participation in social media has now made this issue both more visible and potentially more challenging. On social media, one’s personal brand is on display, and is front and centre for all to see. It does depend of course on the level of participation. Those who are passive participants will not face much impact on their personal brand compared to those with full participation whose personal brand will be highly visible.
The figure below shows a visual representation of the link between the level of social media involvement and one’s personal brand.
The point is that the more active you are on social media the greater will be the impact on personal brand whether positive or negative. Any participation can reveal things about you, but full participation on social media can reveal much about you as a person in terms of interests, beliefs and attitudes. What you contribute by way of articles or opinions can also show your inclinations or tolerance to certain issues. Indeed, you may not intend for some of this to be interpreted in the way it occurs. From the perspective of personal brand, it is all about how others see and interpret what you say as you participate in social media.
The transparency of social media means that activity on social media feeds directly into your personal brand. What is said on social media becomes an integral part of your personal brand, which is fine except it means both the good and the bad. Various filters and restrictions can be placed on who sees what on social media, but it is fair to say that anything said on social media will impact your personal brand in some way. There will be some community that sees what you are saying or the articles you are sharing.. Take recruitment for example. A recent Jobvite survey concluded that 92% of U.S. companies were using social networks and media to find talent in 2012, up from 78% five years. Anything on social media is in play when it comes to the job market, and this has a direct link to your personal brand.
Having witnessed some personal brand challenges on social media in recent times, there are three reminders to carefully consider in this context:
- The first and obvious point is that anything and everything you place in social media will have some bearing on personal brand
- The second issue is that what is said on social media is very hard to undo or retract
- But on the positive front, what your place on social media can be used very much as a positive such as contributing to various conversations connected to your area of expertise.