What Does Your Digital Presence Say About You?

The Art of Social Media

Personal branding (or personal marketing) is becoming an increasingly more discussed topic, and I think rightly so. The traditional notion of brand, as an exclusively ‘commercial construct’, is experiencing a paradigm shift. We see it encompassing belief systems, geographies, political/social movements, and, of course, you and I. We can all consider ourselves as brands. Everything we do and say (and even the things we don’t) has an impact on how we are perceived as a brand.

Successful self-branding can help land you that next big client, it can facilitate securing a job, and in general can influence what friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances say about you in the broader public.

From the way we dress, to who we socialize with, the brands we consume on a regular basis, to the work we do and what we do in our free time, all of these things influence the branded identity we inherently create for ourselves.

One crucial space that can help make or break personal brands is the digital space. As we spend more time online, we are in turn shaping and adding to our online identities, and how others perceive us.

Take, for example, Facebook. This social network has created a hyper-networked society, where people (some of whom you may never have met) are able to have a glimpse into your world and your personality. Your profile or page, the links you share, the things you post, the comments you make and like, how you engage, and your general conduct has an incredible impact on how people perceive you. It has frequently been noted that ‘first impressions count’, and if Facebook is your first impression… what is it saying about you?

Sometimes we like to believe that we can separate our work identity from our ‘play’ identity, and while this may be more-or-less applicable to our personal and private spaces, it is not true of our public personas. I am sure you have read about numerous instances where Facebook comments, photos, or engagements have landed an employee in hot water. Don’t let your presence negatively impact your future opportunities or your personal brand, there is a time and place for work or client-related banter, but Facebook isn’t it.

It is important to consider how you want to be portrayed: what are the personality traits you want to actively reveal and show to world? Think about how you use language and how you construct your posts. I always believe that paying attention down to the simple elements of spelling and grammar can go a long way in building a good online presence.

Twitter is another popular online platform and can say and reveal a great deal about you as a brand. From your personal bio, the tweets that you favourite, the ones you retweet and respond to, to the people that you follow and that follow you in return, each of these components is implicitly, and explicitly, revealing something about you. Consider the content you share, the tweets you engage with, and how you wish to be portrayed.

Increasingly we hear of employers and prospective employers using Google to search and find any potential candidate’s public presence, be it their LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook or Twitter profiles. These are used to get a sense of the individual’s persona and the various facets that comprise their life. What are your profiles currently saying about you, and would you be happy to know your boss or potential client was scrutinizing you down to the last ‘like’?

Through these platforms, one can quite quickly form an opinion of the person as a brand. My belief is that every engagement is adding to an overall image or picture of you, and when you share or retweet, you are endorsing that content which has your badge or approval on it.

If one thinks about it, we are living in an exceptionally connected world. While we need to be more congisant of this, it can open up opportunities, network opportunities and connections on an unprecedented scale. If managed properly, I think this can build relationships, open up new opportunities and help you stand out from the rest.

Image Source: mkhmarketing.wordpress.com

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