What reflection does your clients see?

by Bill Nolan

Whether you believe it or not, or even if you like it or not, If you have your own business then your personal branding can have a direct impact on that business. It seems logical that most people would understand this, but every day someone is doing serious damage to their business’s reputation by putting their foot in their mouth on social media sites. The question is, are you utilizing those accounts to strengthen your business reputation, or are you essentially playing with fire because you feel the need to share your “opinion” with the world? Maybe it’s time for a refresher before you dig your own business grave…

First off, what is personal branding? Quite simply, it’s who you are as a person to everyone else in the world. It’s what they say about you when you are not in the room. Are you the successful business person that you like to tout, or are you a thug who is just as comfortable in a bar brawl as you are in business meetings? Keep in mind that everything you do and say, good or bad, helps to build your personal brand. With that said, I’m here to help you make your personal brand compliment your business brand.

Personal Branding for Business

• Everything you post on your personal social media accounts reflects on your business. This is true even if those posts have nothing to do with your business. How often do you see someone post nonsense to social media that makes you shake your head? Maybe it is sexual in content, racially pointed or rambling on unintelligently about how someone burned them. Use common sense before you make or share any post. Let’s not make this complicated, but if you are giggling at the prospect of how a post will affect even one person negatively… do not post it. Sure there is a delete and edit button, but the damage that can be done with the click of a screen shot is endless.

• BIG FYI, content regarding religion, politics and you get the picture… is CONTROVERSIAL! What you may think is fact or right is your opinion and most likely not the opinion of all those potential clients. Most people do not want to know how your beliefs are right and all others are wrong. They do not need to know whether you believe in the current President or not. Remember, some potential clients are very religious and some are not. Ask yourself is your next posted opinion or joke criticizing one or the other? Sure, this may draw attention, but possibly not the kind you are looking for.

• Use your social accounts as a tool to let everyone know that you’re competent and intelligent by sharing useful and informative content. It’s okay to let your personality shine through, but use common sense. You want to come off as someone that knows your business and stays on top of the latest trends that affect this industry. Isn’t that better than letting your followers know you spend half the day reading up on the latest celebrity gossip? Use your pages to share tips from the last business seminar or convention that you attended. That’s why you are in this business, because you enjoy growing and haring it. And what does that have to do with the latest celebrity that’s in trouble with the law? Not much, but you read the enquirer instead of the New York Times.

• Yes, you can still have fun with jokes or brag about yourself to a certain extent with your personal pages. Just don’t go overboard. A few pictures from your vacation is fine. You work hard and deserve some relaxation, right? But, bragging about the 2k/per night penthouse you stayed at in Dubai and the thousands you dropped on blackjack may be ill advised. Cartoon comics are funny, making fun of real people isn’t. It’s like I said, you need to use your better judgment when it comes to managing your personal sites. I know you are thinking freedom of speech here. That’s fine. Just remember how that speech may affect the account your are trying to reel in. If you don’t care, or feel you shouldn’t have then, then possibly this business is not for you.

When creating a personal page on social media sites, I’ve always thought that part of the terms and conditions should read… “By accepting you acknowledge that using this site may be detrimental to your business.” If you accept that your personal social media accounts are an extension of your business then you’ll be fine. THE KEY IS TO USE THEM TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. Be that awesome business person you aspire to share with everyone. You want everyone to see you in the best possible light, and now it is time to act accordingly. Remember that your personal pages are there to help you, not hurt you. And finally, as in social media life, you may want to present yourself accordingly in real life.

And this is just the beginning!