Personal brand is one of those terms that is often swotted away like that annoying fly around your dinner plate. We don't want to think about how our professional personalities are judged, particularly when they are based on our online interactions.
However, the more socially savvy the world becomes, the more we need to be aware of the profile that we are, sometimes naively, creating for ourselves. It's not dissimilar to an episode of 'Black Mirror', in the real world, all your interactions online are having either a positive or negative effect on the way someone somewhere thinks of you as a professional. Blogging, tweeting, posting pictures on instagram, commenting on LinkedIn, all these things are working either with or against you, professionally.
How many times have you changed your opinion of someone after reading their status on LinkedIn, or after seeing something they have 'liked' on Facebook? I personally have changed my mind on a supplier because of something they tweeted which I felt was unprofessional and not in line with what I expected from them as a client. I have also given someone a chance because of the way they conducted themselves online, the creative spirit they showed on Instagram, the interesting debates they raised in their blogs, the way they talked about their work on Twitter and the various endorsements they had from people I respected in the industry.
How your brand is perceived professionally can have a real impact on your career and the way you are treated and thought of in the workplace. If you are publicly a fool on Facebook, don't expect to come in to work and be a respected leader. If you write something controversial on LinkedIn Pulse, expect the backlash, expect the judgement and, most importantly, be able to handle it in a way that does not damage your brand.
Use your profiles to self-promote. Show the online community what you want them to see, you control your brand, that's the beauty of it!
Think about this particularly on LinkedIn, you are opening up the 'work you' to thousands of people you have never met before. Potential customers, colleagues, employees and employers... your online persona is as close to the real thing as some people are going to get to you.
We need to start embracing our personal brands and showing ourselves off - not shying away from it and pretending we aren't being judged. It's the brilliant digital world we live in.
Someone reading this is making their mind up about me right now...
Remember that old saying 'its not what you know, it's who you know'? Scrap that. Nowadays it's about who knows you! We are determining our worth in the workplace using more than just our CVs and I think it's an interestingly powerful position to be in.
in an age of selfie sticks and hashtags, it’s tempting to dismiss the idea of personal brand as a marketing gimmick. But your personal brand is about more than self-promotion and “likes” on social media: It’s your currency in the workplace.