Published in  
Business & success
   on  
November 25, 2020
 edited by  
Janet Escobar

7 Things Not To Do With Your Personal Brand

I’m never afraid to show who I am to my audience. If you follow me on my social channels, you can see I love to laugh, be light-hearted, and enjoy the process. I’m super passionate about everything I do, and that shows online. Being too serious means you miss out on the journey, and to succeed, you have to enjoy every part of your branding story.

As we move farther through this current digital transformation period, we’re starting to see that personal branding is now more critical than ever. Where you draw the line between what to share, what to do, and what to avoid can be a challenge as you become more visible on digital platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

As many professionals may have just started developing their brands, here are seven key things not to do with your personal brand. As well as a closer look into mistakes you may run into and solutions to avoid them.

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As we move farther through this current digital transformation period, we’re starting to see that personal branding is now more critical than ever. Where you draw the line between what to share, what to do, and what to avoid can be a challenge as you become more visible on digital platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

As many professionals may have just started developing their brands, here are seven key things not to do with your personal brand. As well as a closer look into mistakes you may run into and solutions to avoid them.

1. Don’t quit your day job

As exciting as it is to begin working on your brand, don’t allow it to distract you from your day job. What you do during the day is just as important as what you work on afterward. You owe a lot of your expertise to the position that provided you with the opportunity. The brand you are working on can help you land more opportunities at your job, so think of it as a win-win. Your digital footprint can be the catalyst to your promotion through the corporate world.

As an example, I have established my personal brand in addition to working for the company that gave me the absolute best runway a woman can ask for, Toshiba. Working with Toshiba empowered me to create my brand while also being recognized for notable awards, traveling the world, and meeting incredible people. It’s a part of who I am, my story, my brand.

So, keep your day job and do your personal brand anyway!

2. Don’t be so serious all the time

Being online and speaking to an audience digitally often eliminates the individual’s emotions and personality, sharing their story. It is crucial to maintain a balance between being formal and high-spirited. It’s okay to show your sarcasm and incorporate a bit of your sense of humor if that is who you are offline. You want your brand to define who you really are and allow your audience to hear your voice through your posts.

I’m never afraid to show who I am to my audience. If you follow me on my social channels, you can see I love to laugh, be light-hearted, and enjoy the process. I’m super passionate about everything I do, and that shows online. Being too serious means you miss out on the journey, and to succeed, you have to enjoy every part of your branding story.

         

3. Don’t forget to have fun

It doesn’t always have to be a sad or struggle-filled story that you tell to attract a new crowd or increase your engagement. On the contrary, sharing your favorite hobbies, highlighting situations that turned into lessons, or even showing the bond you have with your pet will allow your audience to feel more connected with you digitally.

Differentiating yourself from the crowd is crucial. Remember, having a little fun never hurt anyone.

It can be as easy as sharing your house plants, for example. I enjoy this, and gardening is very symbolic to me, so I love to share the planting and blooming of my plants with my community. Not only do they feel closer and a part of my life, but they also help me build a strong bond with them--even if I may never meet them in real life.

Sometimes, sharing something personal is all it takes to connect on a meaningful level. You will be surprised at the connections you will build with sharing what you love because it builds a common thread with your community and gives them a glimpse of who you are behind-the-scenes.

4. Not leave an impact

When you first started to map out your personal brand and created your vision, you must have written down your end goal. Whether it was to inspire a younger generation, help an organization dear to your heart, or simply to share your knowledge to empower others in your area of expertise, everyone has a larger goal in mind.

Be intentional with your posts, what you share, and how you engage with your online community. Leave your audience with a takeaway every time you share your message. Be memorable, impactful, and motivating. Use your personal strengths to highlight what you are meant to put out into the world.

When I started my personal brand journey, I knew I wanted it to be impactful. Given my background and going from high-risk to high-potential, I knew it was a duty that I needed to fulfill for others globally to feel inspired regardless of their background. Your past does not have to define your future, and I’m living proof of that. I also often highlight key events that are important to me or organizations or causes aligned with my values.

Make sure you leave an impact somewhere that is inspiring to you through your efforts, and your personal brand will become even more memorable.

5. Don’t be someone you’re not

Creating your personal brand should be about you, not about trying to be someone you are not. Remaining authentic not only builds your credibility but also builds trust in a digital space. If you’re not overly extroverted, posting photos of you always being extremely active in a group may not resonate with your true self. Your audience is listening to you and watching you: trying to be someone else will tarnish your identity in the long-run.

Make it a priority to be authentic through the content you share, how you engage with your community, and, most importantly, simply be yourself. It’s okay to let your personality shine online, whether it’s through your profile photo, LinkedIn banner, or images you share on Instagram.

Being authentic online will be appreciated by your audience.

6. Not generating enough content

If you’ve committed to begin your personal brand journey, you need to take it seriously. That means that it is vital to put in the work, think creatively, and not neglect your audience. Staying on top of your content and having a flow is just as vital as your daily morning routine of waking up and having your breakfast with coffee. Don’t leave your audience wondering or concerned about your lack of content simply because you have not planned it out in advance.

The secret formula for personal brand success is being organized and executing a plan. It is a relationship with your audience that requires time and attention: to achieve results, you must put in the work and generate content consistently. Aside from generating enough content, it has to be good and meaningful content. Even if it takes you sitting near a garden of flowers to feel inspired and really touch on what message you want to share with the world, speaking with a purpose affects your brand story.

The community you are building will support you because of your purpose, don’t waste it. Planning will help you get the best message out there (and have time to edit that message to best fit your strategy and goals).

7. Don’t be awkward

With the world becoming more digital than ever before and with the rise of video usage and live webinars, remember not to feel pressured to do what is not natural for you.

Just because something is a trend does not mean that you must partake in it.  It is important to do what is comfortable for you. Some people may be gifted naturally at going Live on LinkedIn while some are great story-tellers through written words. Find what works for you and move forward with it. Simply put: focus on your strengths.

I personally spend a lot of time in my day-job giving presentations, so converting them into bite-sized informational topics on my social channels or sharing useful webinars comes very easily. Find what works best for you and run with it, too.

Your brand is your story. It’s claiming your voice and dictating your future. It’s taking control of what you put out into the world – and writing your own story.

– Maegan Lujan

Conclusion

To lead a successful personal brand, you must understand the core of why you are taking this path. Analyzing, brainstorming, and asking your friends, family, or colleagues, where they think your strengths are is a great way to hear how they perceive your current brand. Having a vision is imperative to ensure you are heading in the right direction with your brand that you are debuting globally. Remember: you can’t become what you can’t envision.

Establishing a strong brand does not mean you have to leave your current job and venture off to a whole new world. If you work with a company that resonates with your values and aligns with your goals, not just at work but in your personal life, you will not have to keep it a secret that you are working on your own brand. Even after the successful launch of my personal brand, I don’t plan to leave Toshiba. This company has given me the best support and cultivated me to be a digital leader.

Through your brand, make sure that you leave an impact, make a difference, and inspire someone who can benefit from hearing your story. The people who knew me twenty years ago would never have imagined that I would be considered a thought leader in tech. I have inspired many by sharing how grit, curiosity, and hard work took me from a high-risk upbringing to a high-potential leader and director at Toshiba.

Don’t hold back on sharing your unique story: that story might pave the path and be the reason for someone to overcome a fear or increase their own confidence in their abilities, pushing them to achieve their greatness.

I tell my story to be a beacon of hope for my foster youth brothers and sisters, to let them see that they are also important, have potential, and have a bright future. A brand without a purpose or a message that is clear defeats the goal. Look back and ask yourself, are you intentional with your posts? Evaluating your own brand helps you see the bigger picture and continue to develop upon and influence in the right direction.

There has never been a better opportunity to be the CEO of your own brand to create an impact online. With a bit of contemplation regarding these 7 don’ts, you’ll be able to set your own strategy up for success.


Article written by Maegan Lujan and edited by Janet Escobar.

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