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Common Mistakes in Personal Branding

In the Navy we had a department called quality control (QA). Many corporations have these similar departments. However, in personal branding we can fail to call upon our own personal QA department. I don’t have the answer as to why, but I do know common mistakes when it comes to your personal branding, or your name and the extensions of it. Much like Nick Offerman and his onscreen persona, Ron Swanson of Parks and Recreation fame, Mr. Offerman does a great job at managing his digital personal brand – and it’s fun!

Controlling Your Name

First I offer this tip. If you don’t know what’s being said, how can you know what’s working. It begins with controlling your personal brand. Take Mr. Offerman/Swanson for example, he’s managing two identities online to maintain control over his personal brand.
Google alerts offer great ways to control the flow of what’s being said about your name. Another place to aggregate data about that sacred name of yours is here at Viralheat, where we have a free account that allows you to monitor up to 7 social accounts. As one person, that’s more than enough to cover your Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Aggregate the content being produced about you and you have a perspective that most internet users don’t even realize exists. Some places it’s hard to manage your personal brand but realize, if it’s on the internet or on an app, this information is available to the public and it ‘s to follow Nick’s lead and don’t post offensive material.

Ranting

Politically. Religiously. Angrily. There are so many ways that one could rant, especially offensively. Sports… yeah, that’s fine. Most understand your team lost and there’s some fun trash talk. But these political posts I continue to see are bound to get the guilty ranters ostracized from a pool of potential candidates.

A 2006 survey of 100 executive recruiters by job search and recruiting network ExecuNet found that 77 percent use search engines to learn about candidates. (Monster.com)

The fact of the matter is that too few people understand that sometimes silence is golden. Telling the world about your positions in what are already seen as fire starters is fine, in context and in portions. Filling feeds with ranting is sure to knock your follower numbers down. Hell, I lost 14 followers doing a #mypits photo sequence on Instagram, I could only imagine how many I’d lose if all I did was knock someone else’s life position.

Nick spreads love, not hate. Such as his love for bacon. (Update 1/4/12: Nick Offerman is tweeting at it again @Nick_Offerman)

Lack of Value

Which brings me to my next point and that is to produce something of value to another person. Many people fail to produce something engaging. My YouTube is pretty bland, but here on the ViralHeat blog I want to deliver something of value to the readers.

Another to note, entertainment can go far. Nick read tweets from young female celebrities as part of a segment on Conan. I’d compare this to someone getting a guest blogging gig. He went on someone else’s platform and used his identity to push value. This also tells Conan’s established fan base that Nick Offerman delivers value and they should tune into Nick’s other work.

Failure to Understand that Digital Lives Forever

Keeping ranting and value in mind, a simple understanding that what goes online will live forever. Ask the several celebrities that have slipped up with NC-17 images, or Donald Trump alienated himself from even his most devout followers with his weird anti-Obama agenda. But if you consider value, it’s not so bad if things live forever, after all, Like Nick, don’t we want to be remembered for our great works?

In essence, you want to contribute, control and maintain. It’s not difficult and there are many tools that can help you. Personal branding can be applied to job applicants, bands, artists, authors and more. With smartphones grabbing more market control, digital needs to not be looked over.

Danny Schotthoefer is the digital strategist/community manager at an advertising agency in Bozeman, Montana. He is also a TEDx event organizer and an avid Oregon Ducks and Portland Trailblazers fan. You can also find him running via Nike+ and cycling via Strava – he is highly social. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn. Forewarning: He Talks A LOT!

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