If you are serious about personal branding (and you should be), you need to be sending a compelling and unambiguous message about your value – what you can do uniquely well to help others address issues or solve problems that matter to them. People who are looking for someone with your value need to understand quickly when they find you that they need you – now!
If you are not completely consistent and utterly transparent as you use social media platforms to spread your brand, you can create confusion in the mind of the person evaluating your brand. If they are confused by who you are and what you can do to help them, they are likely to decide “NOT you, NOT now”.
Consistency means at a minimum that you use the same picture, your proper name (no goofy nicknames, please), and the same statement of value everywhere you show up with your brand in social media. And everywhere you show up in social media, you must be practicing personal branding. These platforms are powerful tools to communicate your brand, not toys. You can’t treat LinkedIn and Twitter as professional branding platforms, and Facebook as a personal playground, and not expect a decision maker evaluating your brand to be confused.
Transparency means that you are an open book everywhere you go online. You understand that any privacy you think you have online is truly virtual, so you operate with the assumption that you have NO privacy online. You never post anything, anywhere, that you would not be comfortable with anyone seeing at anytime.
You want people that find you to know that you have no problem being scrutinized. I think it sends a terrible mixed message to a potential employer or business partner if you show up someplace in social media and behave as if you have something to hide (e.g. Facebook). Opacity is the antithesis of personal branding.
If you are practicing personal branding, you are already doing something most of your peers are not willing to do. If you want to be truly remarkable at personal branding, you have to be willing to do what others trying to practice personal branding are not willing to do.
Give yourself permission to be stellar!
Bret Simmons is an Assistant Professor of Management in the College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), where he teaches courses in organizational behavior, leadership, and personal branding to both undergraduate and MBA students. He has a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University. Bret practices personal branding at his website Positive Organizational Behavior where he blogs about leadership, followership, and personal branding. His purpose is “to change your mind about the value of partnering with others to build healthy, responsible organizations where everyone can thrive.” You can also find Bret on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.