Personal Branding: A Top Priority
As a PR practitioner you are often worried about your clients, their brand and how they’re perceived by the public. You also keep track of your own company’s brand and how it is viewed among the PR industry and, of course, its own employees. These are all very important, especially if you want to attract graduating students and talented PR professionals.
At Humber College, where I’m studying practical PR theory, there is one brand that my professors constantly remind us to take care of: our own. As individuals we have a personal brand to cultivate and protect. Our personal brand may not be well known around the world, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be damaged or affected as quickly as an organization facing a crisis. A personal brand crisis can be anything including a post or photo deemed inappropriate by select friends or colleagues, but it can easily affect how they think of you and be damaging to your reputation.
A personal brand involves how you are perceived by others and how you want to be perceived. If these two views are in line your personal brand can be very successful, but every brand needs maintenance and some TLC. Below are a few “housekeeping” activities that I do to ensure a well-managed and positive personal brand.
o It’s frightening how many sites there are which have my name plastered for all to see, but as long as they are not incriminating or too revealing I don’t pay too much attention to them.
o When you do come across your name where it shouldn’t be, find a way to delete or bury it with new content about yourself. Post/comment on reputable sites or join professional groups in your city. This helps bury the bad while giving you a chance to network.
Delete unflattering or inappropriate photos on social media
o I’ll admit during my first month at Humber I removed several posts and photos that I didn’t want my professors or my employers to see.
o You can put your profile on a private setting, but that may cause suspicion. Follow the motto of many corporations today by being transparent and open with the public.
Create profiles on the top three social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
o These are the most popular and widely used platforms in the world, so I am positive that many potential employees and clients are using it as well.
o If you can’t handle your own social media presence how would you do with a client? If you are signed up on a social media account, don’t be afraid to use it. Clients may want to look at your profile before they let you take over theirs.
Post about things you know
o I use Twitter as a newsfeed for international and local news, trends and information, but I also Tweet and ensure all my posts are PG-friendly and do not include profanity.
o If you’re hard up for content, try to read one newspaper every day, even if it’s a free local one. This will save you from getting caught up in the middle of a major news discussion because you don’t keep up with the times.