I was in sixth grade the first time I remember anyone talking to me about Internet safety: “Do not EVER, put any personal information on the Internet. Don’t give out your real name. Never give out your address, or your birthdate or any other personal information. The Internet is dangerous.” To be fair, they were warning us about Internet chat rooms, so, I get it; but I remember thinking it was strange that we had this tool that connected the world and all we were ever going to do was lie to each other with it.
Fast forward to 2015, and Facebook knows my full name, date of birth, my last four places of employment, every city I’ve ever lived in, my phone number and anything else someone may want to know about me. In fact, more often than not, when I’m going to meet someone for the first time, or shortly after I’ve met them, I will spend time checking out their social channels to figure out what they’re like. Let me reiterate, before anyone in the world has ever met you, they can develop a sense of who you are. What does your personal brand say about you?
It’s crazy to think about, really. Thirteen-year-olds who have Twitter don’t even know that what they’re tweeting right now is going to be a part of their personal brand forever. If they tweet some nonsensical garbage about hating America, and years and years later they run for president, someone will find that tweet and the whole world will know that when they were thirteen, for whatever reason, they said they hated America. Is it fair? No. But it happens.
Whether you’re a regular person, a public figure or even a brand trying to navigate your way through the social playing field, here are some tips on how to develop your personal brand on the global stage:
1. If you wouldn’t want your mom to see it, don’t post it.
Maybe it isn’t your mom, but if you would be embarrassed if someone you look up to saw the things you’re posting, it’s time to start posting new things.
2. If you don’t understand what a hashtag is about, don’t jump on that bandwagon without reading into it first.
DiGiorno will tell you exactly why this is important.
3. If it moves you, share it.
If it aligns with your brand and what you stand for, don’t be share-shy—especially if you’re trying to let people know who you are and where you stand. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a Dove #realbeauty campaign video I haven’t shared (aka has brought me to tears), because conversations about self-confidence are a big part of who I am and what I am passionate about. Be sure to refer to tips one and two before clicking ‘share.’
4. Learn from others.
The “global stage” is a two-way stage, and you’re not the only star. Spend some time looking at the Twitter feeds, blogs and Facebook pages of people or brands you admire and deciding what it is about that person or brand that gives you the good vibes. How can you learn from those social profiles to send out your own good vibes? How can you do it better?
5. Be authentic.
I know, I KNOW. You’ve heard this umpteen thousand times—but it doesn’t make it any less true. Being authentic doesn’t mean being like everyone else—if you’re sarcastic by nature, be that; if you love making people laugh, use your personal brand to do that; if you like to debate, spark debates with what you’re passionate about—be authentically you, whatever that looks like.