10 Personal Branding Mistakes (Part I)

Personal branding is more complex than product / service branding. When you are branding a product or a service, you are more objective as you are branding something that is separate from you. Personal branding activities are influenced by your thoughts and feelings. As a result, it can be difficult to gain a perspective on positioning your brand. This often leads to unnecessary mistakes, which can cost your brand’s reputation. Some of these mistakes are reviewed below. 

Mistake 1: An unsuitable LinkedIn headline. Whenever you add a new job on your LinkedIn profile, the job title is automatically added as your headline. Make sure that this is how you would like to be seen by others. If the headline does not reflect your personal brand well, update it. Your headline should be about 50 characters long so that it will not be cut off on the mobile app. It is important to use the right keywords so you can better position yourself as a skilled professional. Your headline is some sort of elevator pitch: it is a brief description of who you are and your value proposition. 

Mistake 2: No personal website. Having a personal website is beneficial for at least 2 reasons: (1) It is the best channel to manage your message. (2) It will rank high in Google search results. Your website should be “a picture of what you excel in”. Your website should at least have a beautiful photo of you, examples of your work, a personal mission statement or bio which showcasts your experience and the work you aim to accomplish. It can also have a blog, but you need to commit to writing consistently.  

Mistake 3: Not creating your own content. If you only share content created by other people, you are a content DJ. Although your taste in content might be acknowledged by many, you are in fact strengthening the personal brands of the people whose content you share. Your shares and likes help position them as industry experts and a go-to source for industry information. To strengthen your own personal brand, you need to create your own content. Sharing your unique perspective on industry matters will help distinguish yourself in the market. 

Mistake 4: Invisibility. To establish a meaningful connection with you, your followers need to see you. Do not hide behind polished self-branding activities. Do not be afraid to speak in front of the camera on your social media channels. Your followers will connect with you better if they see that you are one of them. Make sure to share a lot of photos of yourself on your website. They will help visualize your personal brand better, thus making it more memorable. 

Mistake 5: Too much self-promotion. Although personal branding aims to promote you as a skilled professional, too much self-promotion can be harmful. You should never say things like: “I am CEO of a world leading company that turns executives into star speakers.” Such exaggerated messages are meaningless and hollow, and say nothing real about you. Too much self-promotion can give the impression that you are egocentric and shallow, which can repel potential clients and followers.   

Read 10 Personal Branding Mistakes (Part II).

References:  James Coulson, embarkagency.com.au | management30.com | Keith Peterson, marxcommunications.com | Ryan Erskine, entrepreneur.com | Judith Humphrey, fastcompany.com