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Personal Branding: All of “You” in One Account? Yes or No?

What, oh what, to include when constructing your personal brand?

Recently, while reading Travis Harvey’s recent post, Personal branding: Personal Vs. Professional accounts, I realized how often I’d seen people struggle through this question of whether or not to combine or separate their personal and professional selves online. I also realized how little I see among the streams of tweets and articles and blogs on personal branding about personal branding beyond the job or job search. Most information out there is about how to personally brand yourself within a company, within your company or for your job search.

  • But what if you just want to work on your personal brand to have it there when you need it?
  • What if you’re just trying to be more visible as a person of specific interests and talents?

What is My Personal Brand, Again?

As the infographic in my post How’s This Personal Branding Thing Work, Anyways? shows, your personal brand is all about you – who you are, how you are perceived by others and what you want to achieve. The next steps, talking about creating your brand, show how to go about pulling together your online presence. Whether or not you blog, your online presence is going to be the easiest way other people can access who you are and what you are about.

So here’s the conundrum: When you’re working on your own personal branding, how much “you” do you keep in your account built to showcase your personal brand?

Keep Things Separate or Combine?

Here’s my example: I have one Twitter account (two, if you count my education-related account, but that’s a little different) where I connect with friends and people I know as well as post all the stuff that interests me and speaks to the personal brand I want to showcase. Most of my interests are represented in my posts, so the majority of my tweets are about social media, branding, personal finance, etc. But every now and again there are the personal shout-outs and the odd posts about what’s going on in my local area. Now, I also have a lot of personal interests that aren’t as relevant to many of my followers – say, my obsessive love of the Olympics (starting July 27th!) or my love of HBO shows (Game of Thrones, True Blood, Boardwalk Empire…no matter what season, I’m probably watching something religiously on HBO). Do I tweet about all these other interests in the same account I post my more professional passions?

Keeping your personal and professional accounts separate on Facebook is relatively easy. Create a Page for your personal brand and BAM!, you’re all set. Personal brand-related posts go on the Page, all the truly personal stuff (pictures, status updates, etc) go in your personal FB account. But on Twitter, it’s a lot less fun managing multiple accounts. For one thing, switching between Twitter accounts can be a pain and the site currently doesn’t let you sign in as more than one account at the same time (side note: if someone wants to correct me on this, I’ll be ecstatic to learn that I’m wrong). Tweetdeck and Hootsuite make it easier to manage multiple accounts all at once, but what if you just don’t want to be bothered?

Ultimately, It’s Up to You

In another former post of mine, Why You Can Break Personal Branding Rules, I stated that I felt it was ok to break the “rule” about keeping professional/personal interests separate. I think both make up who you are. But stating this and living it are two different things. I think everyone has to find where they’re comfortable. This is especially important for people who aren’t doing personal branding as a part of a company. If you’re working on your personal brand because you want it to be there when you need it, you have more leeway than folks trying to make the professional “personal and engaging” (<–are we all sick of that word yet?).

Here’s what I suggest:

  • Test it. Try combining your personal branding efforts with all your personal interest posts and see where it takes you. If you find you really want to keep things separate, don’t feel bad about it. Let’s all agree that the answer to “to combine-or-not-combine” lies with the individual.
  • Review and revise as needed. You’re allowed to change your mind.
  • Find what works for YOU. In the end, you have to be happy with what you’re putting out there. It should reflect YOU because that’s the point of personal branding. If you’re hiding half of yourself in an attempt to make other people happy, you’re probably leaving out all the interesting bits that make you who you are.

What About You?

Do you think it’s better to combine personal branding-related posts and personal-interest accounts and posts or no?

What do you do when faced with this personal branding question?

Do you know anyone else addressing this question? If so, post a link to what they have to say below!

Image Credit: KROMKRATHOG, Freedigitalphotos.net

How’s This Personal Branding Thing Work, Anyways?

As you all may have guessed by now, I love Infographics. I think they help share really useful, educational information in a format that most people find easy to digest.

The latest find in Infographics is Enrico Bisetto and Jorgen Sundberg‘s The Way to Personal Branding (see below).  It asks the major questions about what is your personal brand, how do other people see you and what  do you want to do? It also talks about how you can go about creating and enhancing your personal brand. This may be one of the simplest, easiest explanations of personal branding that I have run across to date.

What do you guys think?

Do you think this infographic is helpful?

(Also, follow Jorgen and Enrico on Twitter! Jorgen posts some great tweets dealing with social media!)

Raysa Leer:

A short list of three key things to keep in mind when starting out with personal branding.

Originally posted on Pam Jackson's Blog:

Personal branding is a mark that you create for yourself. Something that’s makes you special and sets you apart from the others. It’s an epitome of who you are and it is also unique because tells us about your life, your principles and your passion. So what else should you know about personal branding?

Firstly, the most important thing about personal branding is you need to brand yourself in the career you want and not the job you have. Your personal branding is going to persist even after you are dead. You want it to last a long time. Your personal brands to be immortalized after you are long gone. So what is it are you passionate about? Is what you have chosen something that you would want to do for a long time? That is how you discover your personal brand.

Secondly, don’t expect overnight results. Personal branding is…

View original 161 more words

Why You Can Break Personal Branding Rules

No Rules

Break Personal Branding Rules

Jamie Varon and Nicole Antoinette: How to Succeed by Breaking All of the Personal Branding Rules.

Many of the concepts expressed in the article above spoke to me. Before starting to blog, I spent a lot of time reading about blogging and personal branding. Many of the articles I ran across offered a set of “rules” regarding both blogging and personal brand creation. These lists were one of the reasons it took me so long to get started.

Rules

Rules, so many rules. I felt swamped by them. I wanted to focus on more than one topic (no). I also wanted to use my personal Twitter account as my personal branding account but wanted to tweet about both personal and professional interests via the same account (frowned upon, stick to your message).  I kept reading about all the lists of things I should not do under any circumstances. Ever. Or my blog would fail and my personal brand would be tarnished beyond repair.

Then I realized that while some of those rules might be valuable for people blogging for their companies, they were less applicable to me as an individual interested in expanding my personal brand.

But What is a Personal Brand?

When I talk about my personal brand, I don’t mean giving my company a human face via my presence online. What I’m doing is actually setting up a brand that’s all about me. I’m sharing who I am, and that is what will help me connect with others. Not all my tweets can be about “the issues” because people with other interests will want to connect with me for other reasons: because we’re already friends, because we’re work colleagues, because we like the same shows or music or books. Holding back on the odd tweet about how I enjoy x-show or x-comedic anecdote doesn’t help me; it hinders me from showing the multidimensional person that I am and making a larger number of connections with all sorts of people.

Individual Freedom

I think the “rules”, or let’s call them guidelines, that have been put out there have a purpose. They do help tweeps and bloggers focus their message and find ways to step beyond delivering a message for their companies to interacting with people. However, individuals building their personal brands need to know they can break out and do their own thing when needed. It’s what makes them and their content unique. Everyone’s different so everyone’s personal brand can be different. And there’s nothing wrong with that!

Did you find the rules daunting when you started working on your personal brand?

Did you stick with them or do your own thing?

Do you think it is ok to break the rules?

What advice do you have for others worried about this issue?

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