When we finally decide to face the difficult process of creation of our personal brand, all of us usually make the same mistakes. You can see it again and again on the Internet. Whether you read a little about this topic or you analyze the thousand of youtubers, bloggers, important figures or humble professionals out there, you will find out that many people are building a personal branding project upon not solid basis.
The most important thing is taking your own business seriously. You are supposed to invest a lot of time in creating a personal branding in order to look professionally better. If you don’t follow a smart strategy with smart long term objectives it would be worthless, actually, it could be counterproductive.
Let me explain: if your are web designer and you don’t take care of your portfolio, the appearance of your website or if you don’t share your content, with this online public platform you are just giving your potential customers more reasons to choose another designer. Not even a call will be needed. If what your are showing is not selling you well, you’d rather keep communicating what you do through your resume.
But if you are determined to create a personal branding properly, here you are ten things you should avoid at all cost:
1. Have a not consistent image in all your online sites.
As I have mentioned before in this blog, you must have a clear reason to do whatever to do. That final target can be a new job, more clients or even get popularity in a particular area. With your objectives in mind you have to plan everything you communicate within your personal branding strategy. Therefore, if you have made the decision that your goal is to be seen like a businessman and you have already made a choice regarding the tone and the message you are using to promote that side of yourself, stick to your guns!
What do I mean? If you have decided you want to reach a particular audience that is appreciating a particular kind of professional, don’t mix up things and don’t lose the focus. I mean you shouldn’t open a Fan Page where you share funny cat pictures or write a blog where you talk about culinary recipes if you are working hard to show how much you know about market indexes in your personal web. You can do all these things but, keep all in different places. The tone and the visuals of your channels talk about you, your skills and your work. So, when you are creating a personal brand, take care of all this firstly.
2. Be inconsistent with the message and objectives
This is closely related with what I said above. When you are creating your personal brand you should always bear your objectives in mind. In every platform you use and with every message you send you have to be consistent and persistent with that goals you set in first place. As Luna María Moreno says in this post about how to create your personal brand you have to shape the kind of product you are, your attributes and be crystal clear in all your channels in order to build a recognizable identity.
To give you an example:
I have analyzed the site of DaniFotografía, a freelancer photographer who has designed a website, a blog, and has opened social media profiles to show what he does online. I am not going to comment anything about his pictures (Dani, I honestly think your pictures are great, good work, I am just talking about your personal branding strategy, but no offence, please). If you take a look at his sites, you won’t find any guiding theme. I would give Dani a piece of advice; find images, colors and fonts that suit you and define your work and use them in all your sites. Help your audience to identify your brand.
Here you are an example of the opposite. Ryan McGire follow a clear code of style, colorful and positive in all his sites. He is consistent and his brand powerful.
3. Don’t have a clear objective. Get your audience confused.
Ok, I get it. I am not very convincing because you don’t know yet what I try with this blog and this is the fourth post…Maybe this is the biggest mistake I am making in the creation of my personal brand. I designed the site in order to show employers in Digital Marketing sector I was able to create a site on my own, coding HTML, using Content Management Systems, etc. I started blogging because I liked it and I love Inbound Marketing and I wanted to show my future recruiters I apply this to my personal projects too. But I admit I have a communication problem because now people are contacting me like if I were a freelancer. That means that, maybe HR people think the same when they read my site.
That is a mistake and a good example of what you shouldn’t do. The audience has to be sure about your offerings or what you are looking for. Otherwise, they will be puzzled. You could be losing opportunities there. I am doing my homework, don’t worry.
4. Lack of professionalism.
You always need to be persistent and disciplined if you want to overcome a challenge. When creating your personal brand you will need extra dose of work and professionalism. I know it is tough as you will be at home, on your own with nobody telling you “I want this now!”. You won’t have external pressure and it can be difficult to keep yourself motivated. You have to apply strategies and techniques you would apply to any other professional project. When it comes to carrying out a Personal Marketing plan, Jordi Hernández gives us a couple of handy tips on how to not create a personal brand that I really recommend you.
A good thing is setting deadlines in a calendar. There many task to do every day and for finish all of them it is better if you meet your own deadlines rigorously. I usually organize myself with Trello, to track all my pending tasks according to a handy boards system.
I manage my time with a schedule made with Excel, apart from the notes and stickers where I usually write down all the tasks pending for the day. Yes, you have heard it correctly, I still use paper to visualize what I am doing and crossing out the tasks I have finished at the end of the day, call me nostalgic…For this blog, I have an editorial calendar to see how many posts are pending to edit. This is a very simply way to monitoring my writing and the situation of my publications.
The bottom line is, be as professional creating your personal brand as you would be at a regular job.
5. Don’t promote your personal brand project.
This is another big mistake. You need to make your network grow. It is essential your message reach your audience. First you have to choose that audience and decide which channels are better for your brand. Maybe LinkedIn is good because you can share your vision and message with stakeholders in your sector or get in touch with employers. Perhaps Facebook is ok because you want to reach a more general audience to get clients or customers.
Once you decide where you will be present you have to create the appropriate content for those platforms. I will talk about that below.
6. Don’t be specialized.
This is a common mistake. You start creating your personal brand writing a web, a blog and promoting them in Social Media and you end up talking about the weather. Stop! You have to offer something that makes you special and be focused on that. As I said before, you have to follow a line when creating a personal brand. You have an online offering and you should talk about that with your online actions.
You can’t try to be good at everything. It is better if you boost your strengths showing your expertise in one or two particular areas.
7. Pretend to be someone you’re not.
If you can’t do something don’t pretend that you can. You will lose your credibility if you sell an image of something you aren’t. You have to be able to respond to the effects of your communication strategy and be in line with your online offerings. If you are promising something you can’t fulfill your effort will be worthless.
8. Adapt the message.
This is a MUST in Digital Marketing. You have to adapt the content you offer to the different channels you manage. You have to change your language and your visual content depending on the Social Media or the kind of site you are working on. A common mistake is sharing the same content in Facebook, Twitter and Google+ showing that all Social Media are the same for you.
Every Social Media reach different people so, talk to them in particular with a proper language.
9. Neglect your project.
We all start fresh and super motivated and then we deflate, that is normal. But you have to fight against that and keep the pace until you get your objectives. If you start a blog because what you have to say helps the creation of your personal brand, do it. But not once, you have to follow a routine and commit with your plan. If you spend two months without any publication it means you are careless and unprofessional and that can affect your personal brand. If you need tips on how to get over the laziness: “How to Motivate Yourself When You’re Absolutely Exhausted”.
If you are trying to build a loyal audience you have to take care of it, sharing relevant content and improving all those aspects of your presence online that still have flaws.
10. Don’t give up.
Creating a personal branding properly is tiring and takes time. You have to be patient and the fruits of your labor will come. Like a normal branding project, this is a slow process with too many elements involved. Reach first positions in search engine or get awareness is really difficult and it can take months to see the results.
Don’t give up because if you work hard in Personal Marketing you will see the benefits soon. Suddenly you will be phoned more often and people will contact you, little by little, offering you more opportunities. It will come if you work in your personal brand project professionally. Just take it easy and be patient.
To avoid all these mistakes from the beginning read this post about the basics for a personal brand strategy.
Share and comment if you liked it. Good luck with your plan, I look forward to come across your brand out there soon.