Personal Branding: 10 Mistakes

To become influential, you need to create a strong personal brand. Your personal brand helps differentiate yourself as well as demonstrate your knowledge and skills. Personal branding is also an effective means of attracting the attention of millennials. It has been observed that 84% of millennials do not trust advertisements nor the brands which create them. However, they are likely to believe people they think they know. As a result, many businesses and individuals have started rethinking how to market themselves and learning from each other’s mistakes. Here are some of them:

Mistake 1: You ignore your personal story. A personal brand will not be successful if it is not personal. Your followers want to know who you are as a person. If your content can be copy-pasted, and no one will really notice that, it is a clear sign that your personal brand does not have strong appeal. To avoid that, it is recommended adding your personal story and personality to all your content. Not only will that strengthen your brand, but it will also help you make more sales. 

Mistake 2: You have not clarified your brand purpose. If your brand does not have a clear purpose, it will be challenging for you to share your personal story without confusing your audience. This confusion will inevitably decrease conversion rates. To avoid that, you need to consider the following questions: “Why did you start your business? What does your business do? Who are you doing it for? What problem are you solving for your clients? What is your unique selling point (USP)?”

Mistake 3: You have not defined your niche. One of the best ways to build your personal brand is to define your niche as narrowly as possible. If you want to establish your position in marketing, focus on specialized marketing, e.g. marketing services for non-profit organizations. If you do so, you are more likely to position yourself as an expert or influencer in that niche as well as the go-to source for industry information.  

Mistake 4: You are inconsistent. Once you have defined your personal brand strategy, you need to stick to it. You cannot change it even if you do not get any tangible results soon despite your efforts. That will inevitably hinder your progress, and might deter people from following you. You need to follow your strategy, even if it is difficult, as it determines the success of building your personal brand over time.

Mistake 5: You do not have an elevator pitch. To self-brand successfully, you should be able to pitch yourself in about 2 minutes. Your pitch should focus on your unique offer or solution to a given problem. It should be concise and focused. To feel more confident about pitching yourself and not to exceed the time limit, you should practice your pitch with your friends. 

Mistake 6: You either overpromote or underpromote yourself. It is important to strike the right balance between overpromotion and underpromotion during self-branding. To avoid overpromotion, it is recommended following the rule of thirds: roughly one third of your posts should be about you as a person, another third should be interesting information provided by third parties, and the last third should focus on promoting your brand. At the same time, you should not underpromote yourself: personal branding will not be effective if you do not brag a little online, and let your modesty, shyness or privacy concerns control your self-branding activity. 

Mistake 7: You do not have a content marketing strategy. Trying to convince your audience that you can help them is not only time-consuming but also pointless. Instead of that, you should try to create useful content. This approach helps build trust and position you as an expert in your industry. It is also important to focus on content quality and consistency. 

Mistake 8: You are too self-centered. Ironically, although your personal brand should be built around your personality, you should not focus too much on yourself. By contrast, your main focus should be your audience. You need to be genuinely interested in your audience and address their needs and interests. That will help you establish a closer connection to your audience and build a long-lasting relationship.

Mistake 9: You choose quantity over quality. While building one’s brand, it is important to post consistently on social media platforms. However, many people post too many posts that bring no value to their audience. Not quantity but quality should be your focus: you should create and post content that actually helps your audience. Since there is a lot of content of questionable quality, creating and sharing valuable content can help you stand out and attract more attention.

Mistake 10: You do not cultivate your brand offline. To strengthen your brand, it is important to invest time in growing your reputation offline. Whenever you have a chance of meeting your online connections in person, you should take it. If you get along well, you might establish a valuable professional connection. Face-to-face interaction will help strengthen your online relationships and, consequently, your brand.

References: | Forbes Coaches Council, Forbes | Rachel Gadiel, | Erik Deckers, | Kylee Schmuck, | Natasa Djukanovic, Fast Company | Rebecca Webber, | Tyler Basu, | Wendy Marx, | Petra Šranc, | Jeremy Goldman,