If you’ve ever wondered what your personal brand is, the answer is simple – YOU! If a brand is an identity of a specific product, service or business, then a personal brand is your identity and what you make of it. Personal branding has been around for centuries, the Internet has just made it a more common phenomenon.
Online brand management is of vital importance and if done correctly on platforms such as social media and the blogosphere, your personal brand will flourish. Make the most of your brand with these tips:

Authenticity is priceless
 Sincerity is spotted from afar and will help build your brand in ways that money can’t. Share your experiences, passions and general interests. This reflects who you are and gives you authenticity in the online space. Do not to be overly opinionated or offensive towards others’ beliefs and thoughts.

Remember, first impressions last and a brand can lose a good reputation in an instant. Always remain professional in all online activity you engage in to build your personal brand.

Be Bold
To ensure that your presence in the online space is bold, break away from the pack. Don’t be an ambiguous brand by only conversing according to trends – this will make you and your brand irrelevant with no substance.

Be Beautiful – Everybody hates spam.
Leaving comments on other users’ content is encouraged, but never leave misleading comments in order to promote your personal brand or your business. Do not post repetitive, unhelpful and irrelevant comments on websites, blogs or social media platforms.

Consistency is key
Once you’ve defined your brand, you need to be the driving force behind it. Always be consistent in your online presence and personal brand. Stick to what you stand for and be relevant with regards to your shared content.

Balance your personality by keeping the various audiences that follow you interested with a variety of topics or stimulating content whether it’s on Twitter, LinkedIn or on your blog.

Privacy policy
Be alert to the changes on social media platforms in terms of privacy changes. In terms of Facebook, keep in mind that all the interests you list on your Facebook profile are made public by default, even to people that are not your friends. Be selective as to what you make public to just anyone, including your friends.

Choose your social media platforms wisely and decide what you are going to use each platform for, i.e. Facebook for personal friends, LinkedIn as a professional platform and Twitter to share interests with the world.

Remember, there is no point of a social media presence if your profile is so privatised that no one can really follow you or experience your personal brand. Protecting your tweets on the micro-blogging platform, for instance, may mean that you miss out on some relevant conversation and opportunities, so if you want to engage in a more personal capacity, create a separate and protected account.

Echo your digital voice by cross-sharing your posts on social media platforms. While being cognitive of how these services work, you can pipe your Twitter updates into LinkedIn or share YouTube videos on your Facebook or Twitter profiles. The most common cross-posting is sharing your Facebook updates to Twitter or vice versa.

*Carolyn Holgate is the General Manager of leading South African Internet Service Provider, MWEB. Visit MWEB on www.mweb.co.za or call 08600 32000