Five Things Successful Personal Brands Never do on Social Media
In the ever-evolving world of social media, it can sometimes be challenging to decode what exactly is “proper” etiquette. Because “personal” branding is another way of highlighting individuality, the “to each his own” philosophy often dictates the way in which people make decisions about what to post and how frequently.
With each platform or app catering to a rather unique user base, it is important that you deliver consistent messaging, “like” worthy visuals, and opportunities for engagement. However, the question that remains for so many people who are either growing or trying to successfully sustain a brand is, “What should I be doing and how often”? While there are numerous findings on the best times to post, there’s still some guesswork about what to post. I suggest before trying to answer the question to first get clear about what your personal brand is.
For example, if you’re a freelance journalist, news is what you do, yet your brand could be pop culture, politics, or sports. So establishing your brand is critical as it will often dictate what you post and share with your audience. Once you establish what your personal brand is exactly, there are five things successful people never do on social media.
Don’t Oversaturate –
Social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, are really just mobile forms of television; therefore, personal brands can learn a thing or two about the way television content is distributed. On the one hand, you have a traditional television model whereby a new show is released once a week, some 30 minutes in length and some an hour in length. On the other hand, you have streaming platforms, such as Hulu and Netflix, that distribute the entire season of a show at one time. While seemingly very different, both models do the same thing: They give you just what you want with a few surprises, and then they go away. If they are really good, they keep you on the edge of your seating waiting for the next episode or season to air. The point is: Don’t over-do it. If you’re a travel blogger, give your followers beautiful photos from your seven-day cruise throughout the trip, but don’t post every hour of the day and also save a few photos to sprinkle throughout #TBT’s (Throwback Thursdays) or #FBF’s (Flashback Fridays). This will sustain your audience’s interest and also provide you with content that keeps on giving.
Don’t Be Inconsistent –
Oprah Winfrey is still the queen of television as she now leads a successful television network. What she did during 25 years as host of her own talk show was to establish herself as a lifestyle guru. While she is no longer a talk show host, her social media posts are still consistent with the topics she presented on her show: home and gardening, photos from her most beloved interviews, and announcements of things deemed her “favorites.” Brand consistency and brand loyalty go hand in hand. Without consistency, your users may find it difficult to remain connected with you because, ultimately, they’re not really sure who you are or what you represent.
Don’t Be ‘Ugly’ –
Former FLOTUS, Michelle Obama said it best: When they go low, we go high. Avoid engaging in negative talk or spats on social media. There is a right way and a wrong way to address naysayers and oftentimes that is just to say nothing. At other times, you can release a statement to address an issue that may have gone public, but do so in such a way that reminds your followers of who you truly are without going back and forth and getting into social media feuds. These things never end well and can often backfire and potentially ruin the brand you’ve worked so hard to build.
Don’t Be Misinformed –
There is a golden rule that says don’t discuss politics. We all know that can be a slippery slope depending on our audience. However, what’s worse, particularly on social media and in the current political climate, is to post about issues that you don’t know enough about or understand fully. Taking a political stance is certainly one of our freedoms, and having a personal brand affords one to be able to share his or her personal opinion about important issues; however, when positing about causes near and dear to your heart, it is more advantageous to approach it whereby you invite your audience to have a discussion with you through engagement vs. ignorance.
Don’t Be Predictable –
With your personal brand, you have the opportunity to be uniquely you. Since social media is a form of entertainment, be sure to occasionally shake things up a bit. Now, I’m sure some of you reading this are asking the question: How can I be consistent and unpredictable at the same time? Well, take Beyoncé, for example. Having recently received the honor of having the most liked picture ever on Instagram, Beyoncé has mastered the art of consistency and unpredictable. She is consistent in that she doesn’t post frequently, but when she does post on Instagram or her website, it is always reflective of the things she loves most: music and her family. However, where she is unpredictable is how we never quite know when she is going to drop her next album, or most recently, when she is going to have her next child. Still, both of these areas compliment her personal brand at its core.
If you use these 5 examples to guide your social media decision-making, your personal brand is more likely to increase visibility and sustain engagement. Always remember that everything you post is an extension of who you are and what you represent. Oh, and in case you forgot, the world is watching.