Personal Branding & Social Media: Managing You, Inc.

What’s your online presence saying about you?

Like it or not, your personal brand really isn’t about what YOU say it is—it’s about how others see you. When someone only knows the online you, this can work against you if you’re not aware of how you’re presenting yourself.

Our Twitter #careerchat dove into Personal Branding 101. How do you make sure you’re showing what you want to show? What social media platforms and tools meet your needs?

Key takeaways from the chat:

  • lauragainor: Personal branding is an important step in determining what voice you will have within social media.
  • WriterChanelle: Your personal brand is how you would like to define yourself. The social brand is how you work to define the personal brand.
  • LesleyMWeiss: Easy to get in trouble if you think there’s a separation between social and personal branding–it’s all you!
  • WomensAlly: It is also important to know how to accept failure as part of building your personal brand.
  • MyPath_MP: I think if you’re good at something, it comes through w/o you having to say “Look at me!” Show it, don’t say it.
  • Jill_Perlberg: Ask your spouse or significant other how they explain what you do to others. It’s an eye opener.
  • MidwestPhoto:  Be authentic, be professional. Period. That’s how you keep a good rep.
  • Kblennon: Online rep: Before I do anything I ask myself “Do I want this connected to my name?”  Things on the internet last forever.
  • PaigeHolden: Listen to the people around you so that you can really engage in meaningful conversations.
  • 3D_EXHIBITS: Everyone can always evolve & it’s important to stay consistent, yet relevant.



Q1: What does “personal branding” mean to you?

  • Jill_Perlberg: Means that when someone Googles my name that they get the info I want them to see and my persona online matches who I am.
  • lauragainor: Personal branding is an important step in determining what voice you will have within social media.
  • TECMidwest: Your Personal Brand must be focused on letting people know why you are successful at what you do.
  • MidwestPhoto:  As a self-employed photog, “personal branding” is how I distinguish myself from the rest of the market via methods/message.
  • MyPath_MP: Basically you’re “on” all the time and have to be aware that what you do affects the brand of You
  • bizMebizgal: Your brand is how u ‘show up’ in the eyes of others. whether you create an intentional brand or not, u have1
  • Jill_Perlberg: It’s your online reputation. It’s the opinion a stranger would form based on what they see online
  • bizMebizgal: It is amazing how many people don’t understand the importance of personal branding! So incredibly key in business.
  • Jelfster: Just like a business, if your brand stinks, no-one will touch it with a barge pole.
  • Kblennon: personal branding is the universal image I am trying to give myself to stand apart and make myself unique by utilizing SM
  • Jill_Perlberg: Personal brand is not just for those working in social media industries. It’s for everyone!
  • bizMebizgal: Be in control of your personal brand, don’t let others determine what it is for you!
  • Kblennon: in other words your personal brand is your reputation…how others perceive you

Q2: Social Branding vs. Personal Branding:  What’s the difference? Is there one?

  • WriterChanelle: There is indeed. Your personal brand is how you would like to define yourself.
  • WriterChanelle: The social brand is how you work to define the personal brand.
  • Jill_Perlberg: Social branding is part of personal branding. There is so much more.
  • bizMebizgal: I believe there is a difference btw personal branding & social branding. they all need to tell the same story.
  • bizMebizgal: your brand needs to be the same in all settings. If u tell different stories in each, I am left confused on who you are.
  • Kblennon: no matter where you are leveraging your personal brand you have to “tell the same story”
  • PaigeHolden: I think personal branding and social branding are one and the same most of the time.
  • Jelfster: Social branding is a lot easier to do, especially for introverts, but harder to keep in check.
    • bizMebizgal I agree because what happens in Vegas stays on twitter!
  • MyPath_MP: It sounds like social branding is where you express your personal brand. Is this correct, or too simplistic?
  • lauragainor: social media gives you a loud voice to represent yourself. Videos show your true self.
    • bizMebizgal: Do you think video is a good idea?
      • lauragainor: definitely. Videos open up many personal branding opportunities. Great way to represent yourself.
      • MidwestPhoto: re: video: can be good, as long as you understand how a one-way traffic flow might cause unforeseen problems
      • bizMebizgal: I make a couple videos for my site but I always make sure I am represented the way I want to be. Positive!
  • LesleyMWeiss: Easy to get in trouble if you think there’s a separation between social and personal branding–it’s all you!
  • WomensAlly: It is important to know how to communicate your personal & social brand attributes
    • WriterChanelle: If you’re branding yourself socially, you have a FB page, Twitter account, LinkedIn profile, etc…
    • MyPath_MP: I find I pay attention more to the people who are clearly experts yet don’t feel comfortable calling themselves experts!
      • WriterChanelle: that word scares me “expert”
      • MyPath_MP: It’s like setting you up for a fall. I’ve seen people more comfortable with “maven.”
    • MidwestPhoto:   Expertise will come through–in person. Online, you have to guide people to your blog/whatev w/o being braggy.
  • Jill_Perlberg: Social is you on display on the web. Personal is everything about you: your style, attitude,online rep,conduct @ Happy Hour
    • MidwestPhoto:  meaning, personal-social–they’re all you–no separation between them. What you spout here, you spout there.
    • bizMebizgal: exactly! Not like you can say, oh that wasn’t me that was my social brand and not my personal brand.
    • MyPath_MP: That wasn’t me, it was my evil twin!
  • Jelfster: Bragging in person generally frowned upon, but acceptable, nay encouraged via social media. We all do it. I’m great!
    • MyPath_MP: Interesting perspective! That’s true, I think we really are encouraged to get “us” across no matter what it takes.
    • PaigeHolden: Hahahaha. So, bragging online is tacky? I hate those “I’m so fabulous, don’t you wish you were me?” blogs.
    • Kblennon: Haha good point. I guess people feel more comfortable “bragging” on social media
    • MidwestPhoto  they say it isn’t bragging if it’s true, right?  There has to be balance in soc med ‘tween “talk about me/others”
      • Jill_Perlberg: Agree–we’re all experts and brilliant
  • bizMebizgal: I think it is easier because your followers don’t really know you. Easy to be whoever you want to be!
    • PaigeHolden: But modesty is far more authentic (hopefully) – and authenticity is what it’s all about.
  • MyPath_MP: I think if you’re good at something, it comes through without you having to say “Look at me!!” Show it, don’t say it.
  • Jill_Perlberg: I think that your personal interactions with people are more impt than what’s online. Everyone remembers first impressions!
    • Jill_Perlberg: But…make sure what’s online tells the right story. You may never get a personal interaction.
    • Jill_Perlberg: You’re always “on” Never know who ur sittng next to on a plane, bus, rest’rant. When I least expect it-always branding
    • bizMebizgal: it is sometimes harder to brand urself via the internet than in person. Huge fan of interactions in person.
    • MyPath_MP: People can be way different online than off.
    • WomensAlly: It is also important to know how to accept failure as part of building your personal brand.
  • Jill_Perlberg: You are who you are…Don’t pretend to be something you aren’t. It will bite you in butt, just like lying on your resume.

Q3: What are your best practices for managing your online AND offline rep?

  • Kblennon: I think SM is a great first step for your personal brand but then personal interactions solidifies it
  • PaigeHolden: Listen to the people around you so that you can really engage in meaningful conversations.
  • sarahklein_PHR Plan ahead, follow through and pay it forward (retweets, etc)
  • Jill_Perlberg: Ask people how they would describe you to a connection or stranger. Make sure those around you know the right you
    • MyPath_MP: THAT is an excellent tactic.
  • lauragainor: Be genuine and stay true to yourself.
  • WriterChanelle:  Everything can be misinterpreted but *you* control what you put out there to be interpreted
  • Jill_Perlberg: Google URself! Simple,but true. Then define your goals and what you want to do. Make sure ur online profile tells the story
    • WriterChanelle: Google Alerts, RSS feeds
  • MidwestPhoto: Be authentic, be professional. Period. That’s how you keep a good rep.
  • Kblennon: online rep: before I do anything I ask myself “do I want this connected to my name”.things on the internet last forever
    • MyPath_MP: Brilliant. Written words last–especially on the internet. And the 2D aspect of most social media is tricky.
    • bizMebizgal: I try to never let pple see me w/ bad day. If I don’t feel like networking I don’t force myself. Always energetic & positive
    • Jelfster: Good one. Some people use it to moan, moan, moan. Negativity bad in the virtual world too!
    • bizMebizgal: absolutely. I am in control of what people think of me, I don’t let imagination take over!! lol.
  • MidwestPhoto:  that’s the challenge of a personal brand–have a “bad day” on your pers time, not biz time cuz people remember
  • Kblennon: I hate when all ppl do is utilize SM to vent. once in awhile fine but always?! bad personal brand
  • bizMebizgal: I agree and then all I think about you is that you hate the world. Never happy!
  • thatwoman_is: Re: Sharing. Be Translucent. Not Transparent.
  • MaggieMistal:  Mostly LinkedIn & Twitter & FB R my professional side but also share travels, fun comments just to show I’m a full person
    • Jill_Perlberg: Like it…need to show you are real.
  • Jill_Perlberg: For online–you need to identify which sites are the most impt for waht you want to do. Don’t be on FB or Twitter just bcuz
  • thatwoman_is: never be on any site “just because.” Go where your community or clients are. Engage and communicate where they feel comf.
    • LesleyMWeiss: Online reputation can be affected by more than just photos–comments, who you are friends with, things they say about you
  • Jill_Perlberg: Have a strategy. If ur in IT, try to showcase your expertise. Sales–LI, find the recipe for you.
    • MyPath_MP: Exactly, you have to stay on top of any #sm tool or you won’t be helping your brand at all.
    • bizMebizgal: All social media sites need to tell the same story of who u r Often times they depict 3 different people Leaves me wondering.
    • Jill_Perlberg: Try Blogging, writing about what ur doing and who u are, gives someone the inside view of you–and you control it
      • WriterChanelle:  Blogging has definitely made me focus in on what it is that I do.
      • Kblennon: so true. It’s actually on my to do list. Thanks for the advice!
      • WriterChanelle: Having to choose categories, write a bio, a title/tagline all make you think about your personal brand
    • Kblennon: Favor instead of ?: I created my own website to further my personal brand. Would appreciate comments:
  • Jill_Perlberg: Offline–Have an elevator “pitch” about you. If u meet someone new..Know what you are going to say.
  • sarahklein_PHR: we will have info on how to write elevator pitches at job camp 4!   #jc4
  • MidwestPhoto: heck yes,for the elevator pitch–people’s attention shortened (thx Internet) and you need to grab attention fast
  • bizMebizgal: Elevator pitch needs to tell a compelling story. I need to understand what it is that you do in 7 secs.
  • WriterChanelle: I’m still working on shortening my elevator pitch
  • MyPath_MP: Maybe the key is there IS no single word to describe what #sm people do.
    • WriterChanelle: Which makes it so impossible for me to explain to my parents what it is that I do. LOL #sm
  • Jill_Perlberg: Ask your spouse or sign. other how they explain what you do to others…It’s an eye opener.
    • WomensAlly: it is important to get feedback from those you know best as you are developing your personal brand introduction
  • MyPath_MP: Ha, I’ll have to try that!
  • MaggieMistal: My hubby is great at describing what I do. He helps me get new clients all the time.
    • MyPath_MP:That’s fabulous to hear!
    • bizMebizgal: That is great to have a team member like that on your side.
    • Jill_Perlberg: I asked my hubby the other day. After 8 years 2gether you’d think he’d get it..He’s an easy one..Lawyer
    • MaggieMistal: Yes, it is great to have team members who are also family members

Open questions

Do you think boomers are at a disadvantage or advantage?

  • Jill_Perlberg: Boomers: Wide network (personal) but typically smaller online presence?
  • Jill_Perlberg: Thinking of my mom, she’s knows everyone in town but she’s not online much..Not sure if she needs to be though.
  • bizMebizgal: I think boomers definitely have the personal brand down, most are working on SM as well. Some get it, some don’t
  • MyPath_MP: And is there a gen split among tools like Facebook, LinkedIn…?
  • bizMebizgal: @thatwoman_is what do you think as a boomer that gets the SM world?
  • MaggieMistal: Boomers are at an advantage b/c they should know more people in a position to make decisions and hire them
    • Jill_Perlberg: and have the experience to back it up
  • WriterChanelle: Actually boomers are at a great advantage. They’re the largest online presence. NBC’s audience is skewed 40+

Should your personal brand continuously evolve, or should you stick to tried-and-true?

  • Jill_Perlberg: should evolve as you evolve
  • Jelfster: it has to evolve, especially with regard to social media as that is a medium that is still evolving itself.
  • buzzandrea: Continuously evolve; the more you learn about yourself, the more your brand develops – grows, changes, solidifies.
  • MidwestPhoto:  personal brand–always changing in its strategy and tactics (sometimes quickly), but should stick to its values.
  • PaigeHolden: I think your personal brand evolves as you do. Slowly over time. Not one person on one day and different on another.
  • 3D_EXHIBITS:  Our team members are always evolving w/ their personal brand. It’s important for a co to take advantage of it.

Do you think a person can evolve into a completely different personal brand?

  • MidwestPhoto: all people evolve. As your “mission” may change, so will your brand. So, “yes”, you can become a different brand.
    • MyPath_MP: It would be interesting to see which of yr followers changes with your brand change!
  • Jill_Perlberg: Evolution. You need to find out what you’re going to be when you “grow up” then take the steps to get there.
    • MidwestPhoto: right, and as you “grow up”, you change–nothing is permanent, as far as personal development goes.
    • Jill_Perlberg: Sure True! Well need to “grow” in the right way, professionally, personally…Personal brand is all of that
  • bizMebizgal: My personal brand has changed a lot since I started my biz. I finally understood how important it really is.
  • 3D_EXHIBITS: Everyone can always evolve & it’s important to stay consistent, yet relevant.

PaigeHolden: What do you do when you have many social media forums relevant to your brand. How do you keep up with them all?

  • MyPath_MP: Excellent Q. Might have to pick the top 3 or 4 that are actually doing something FOR you in return.
  • Jill_Perlberg: Depending on your work–if everything is local and you’re tied into networks, do you need 500 Twitter followers? don’t think so
  • Jill_Perlberg: choose wisely. just because there are 1000s to pick from, you don’t have to do them all.
  • bizMebizgal: I don’t let friends post pictures I delete if it conflicts. Must always be aware of what is happening around u.
    • Kblennon: there are features on FB that allow you to approve pics before you are officially tagged
    • Kblennon: 😛 of course easier said than done
  • MaggieMistal: I feel it’s important to have a presence (at least a “critical mass” following) on any social media you do
    • Jill_Perlberg: agree. skeleton profiles don’t help. If ur going to be on a network–do it right.
  • Jill_Perlberg: Also, I tie mine 2gether. My blog has FB,Twitter feeds coming in, LI profile. I can’t do more–I’d go crazy
  • MyPath_MP: Quality over quantity–seems to be true everywhere
  • bizMebizgal: U will drive urself crazy trying to keep up w/ them. Find the right fit and stick with those.
  • bizMebizgal: It is much like networking, not every group is going to be a right fit. Shop around and test them out.
  • thatwoman_is:  I love the SoMe community. Yes it’s different way of sharing info & connecting but if you r you — it works just like off line.
  • MaggieMistal: How do you measure the ROI?
    • MyPath_MP: I’d say if you’re getting feedback, followers, advancing your brand–those are where you spend time. You?
    • MyPath_MP: And it does take time to build that. Guess it comes down to your comfort level, time, value on both sides.
    • MaggieMistal: For me results are one-on-one coaching referrals and radio listeners/callers into my @SIRIUSXM show
    • Jill_Perlberg: U have to know UR goals–what ur trying to achieve-sales,jobs,friends,then track ROI–if it’s not working, try something else.

Special thanks… To our top participants: @Kblennon, @WriterChanelle, @PaigeHolden, @MaggieMistal, @lauragainor and @MidwestPhoto.

Job seeker? Just want to get ahead in your career?

Join our Twitter #careerchat Tuesdays @ 12 PM CT to talk about everything from friending your boss on Facebook to personal branding to how to get a call back from recruiter.

How to join: Go to and follow the hashtag “careerchat” at noon CT every Tuesday!

Adapted from my post here on MyPath.
Pic from here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.