I have been building my online personal brand for about 18 months now (I have been building my professional offline brand for over 20 years) and I am still shocked at what I see in social media; particularly as it relates to personal branding in the social media space.
To me, these are some of the worst offenses:
1) Using social media as a toy—many people get sloppy when they use Facebook and Twitter. At worst they play games, post bad photos and use foul language or at best they waste people’s time by announcing that they are mayor of some city in Foursquare and/or generally provide useless information
2) Focusing on the sale rather than the relationship—whether it is following someone on Twitter, inviting someone to be part of your LinkedIn Network or “friending” someone on Facebook, you are doomed if you start the conversation off with a sales pitch. The only person you are likely to attract and convert that way is someone like yourself…not your prospect. You have to be patient and build the relationship first, the sale will naturally follow.
3) Lacking commitment or better known as the invisible man/woman—once you have started providing meaningful content, people look for it. You will appear to be flaky if you constantly start and stop. You need to be all in or nothing in this game I am afraid. Take it from me…I started and stopped and had some “splaining to do…”
4) Being a meformer and not an informer—if you focus on providing people you’re your wisdom and valuable content, you are golden in social media. If you are just talking about yourself and how great you are (or worse, your company and the products and services it offers), you will get nowhere in social media or worse yet…tuned out permanently.
5) Being a mindless broadcaster—nothing I hate more is someone who retweets items without checking to make sure the links work. I am sure to never look at that person’s stuff again. Also, it is not an effective strategy to send 20 tweets in a 3 second span and then not tweet again for the rest of the day/week. Unless the people you are trying to get the notice of are on Twitter during those three seconds, they are likely to miss your “wisdom”. You need to have a strategy as to when you are going to post things in LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. And that strategy needs to align with when your targets are present on social media.
Hey no one is perfect, especially on social media. But, that doesn’t mean that we should have a “devil may care” attitude about it. Like any other branding or marketing plan we put in place, you need a strategy. A strategy you can consistently apply and to which you are dedicated.