Like it or not, you are being judged.

by Bill Nolan

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.

Unfortunately most people still don’t give thought to their personal brands. Most do not even understand what this really means or know how it affects their business. Reality shows personal branding must be considered in serious marketing strategies. Take examples from people like Oprah, Steve Jobs, Madonna, Elon Musk and heck, even our presidential candidates. And I’m not saying these are all great examples, but you get the picture. The affect your comments, actions and opinions have on your business may cause long-lasting benefits or possibly huge problems.

Personal Branding

Personal Branding

Social media platforms can be an excellent tool in creating exposure for your personal brand, but that same light you bask in for the moment can cause you and your company to wilt in the blink of an eye. Let out your emotions, bad judgement or that opinion you can’t keep to yourself and watch what damage it can cause. Sometimes you won’t even see the damage; you just won’t get the job. Obviously when a large company makes an ill advised post on social media the fallout is immediate, but what about the individuals that make up that company?

Maybe you haven’t reached the business world yet. Are you still in school? Maybe you figure those posts at the annual fraternity keg bash are pretty cool, right? Well, there are a few celebs out there wishing they would have thought this one through… hello Johnny Manziel, Michael Phelps, Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, and we could go on. Maybe you think these personal brands turned into success stories, and maybe you have the money to consult with a high profile personal branding consultant to correct the mistakes like they did. Get an estimate on that one.

I understand that a lot you are part of the general workforce, and you think you are immune. Well, you’re not. Many people have been fired for social media posts and that is only going to continue to increase as time goes on and social media becomes more mainstream in business marketing. Just think, how will you cover up those posts that have gone viral, the posts you are tagged in or hide the outcome when you were fired for those actions. You’ll be thinking about it when you go to look for your next job.

So what’s next? Become who you want to be.

Think about a successful personal brand role model. Is there someone out there you look up to? Seriously, maybe they have been in a similar business or maybe they have a presence and brand you admire. Research different success stories and people that are in positions you strive to be like. Develop your own vision, values and mission for your future success. Then understand how you can use social media, websites, online outlets and direct communications to market and build your personal brand. A handshake says a lot. Volunteering says a lot more! When it comes to business people are always making judgements.

In any circumstance, I always advise people to stay away from certain topics such as religion, politics, sex and again you get the picture. We are not all built the same. We have different experiences, and that is the beauty of it. Keep this in mind when you are trying to get a meeting with the CEO across the room at the next mixer. They may not go to church on Sunday, or maybe they have completely different beliefs. Maybe they like the direction of the government, or maybe they want a completely different change. Either way, these conversations have no place in business and may affect the CEO’s decision to you seriously after seeing the post of you dancing on a bar after a recent political rally. Maybe you’ve convinced yourself that they wouldn’t end up being a client anyway, but what about their friends and business associates? And what about the friends of the friends of the people they know? Word of mouth opinions can destroy your credibility and the credibility of a business your associated with.

Even sports can have a negative affect on your business. Maybe this a stretch, but it’s food for thought.

It all comes back to your vision and mission for your future business. It’s so easy to impulsively post, like or share something on your social networks, but it’s not so easy to clean up the mess afterwards. Remember every detail you have on your social networks and how you handle yourself in meetings creates an image of who you are. Stick with what matters to your mission. It might be best for you professionally to stick with topics that showcase your skills and intelligence. It’s okay to let people get to know you, but keep in mind they also want to trust you.

If you’ve made mistakes in the past – it’s not too late to start repairing, building and moving forward and up. After all, nobody’s perfect and keep in mind a little personal brand consulting never hurts anyone.