Everyone today is a brand. We have to be, because personal branding is vital to the way people treat us, pay us and follow our ideas.
Despite what seems to be popular opinion, however, having a great linkedin profile and connecting via twitter and Facebook is not personal branding. Rather, these social media sites (and others, like Google+) are visible representations of the personal brand you work so hard to create. But isn’t personal.
Where Does Your Personal Branding Get Personal?
When your URL meets IRL (in real life), your personal brand moves from the interwebs to the real demonstration of what you can do with, through and for others. In real life, we become real: real people, and real contributors. Your personal brand, gets personal.
Sure, it’s easy to broadcast messages about what you have done in the past. And your resume and Linkedin profile immortalize those accomplishments. In effect, they serve as a career graveyard, memorializing your past accomplishments from days gone by.
But Effective Personal Branding Isn’t About the Past
Personal branding is about your potential.
Demonstrating your capabilities, whether for your company or your career, is the hallmark of effective personal branding. But more than what you say about yourself, your branding depends on what others say about you.
Your potential isn’t found in your past – it’s found in the vision you share with others. Vision for your team, your organization, your fellow students or your association. Your potential – your personal brand – is based on the difference that you can make, right now.
Some of my friends still subscribe to the broadcast method of branding – as social media gives every genius and moron an equal voice.
But saying you are somebody important and doing something important are two very different things.
Take a Break from Social Media
The real mark of a brand, whether personal or corporate, isn’t seen in the broadcast message. It’s the execution that matters. Social media simply chronicles the action – but, it’s not the action itself. The activity is what matters for your personal brand (and I’m not talking about your activity on Instagram).
As you build your career, think about the difference you can make – and instead of broadcasting, focus on making a very real and personal impact around the things you care about. Take a step away from social media… and be truly social.
While building your personal brand, strive to create real and tangible solutions for the people who matter most to you. Then, and only then, will your personal branding start to work the way you had hoped.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Westfall Online!
About the Author: Chris Westfall is the national elevator pitch champion, an author and keynote speaker. His latest book is Bulletproof Branding. Chris is also an award-winning MBA instructor who has appeared on CNN, ABC NEWS and in The NEW YORK POST. A consultant to Fortune 500 companies, he regularly speaks to colleges on the topic of leadership and effective communication. Follow Chris on Twitter!