Top 4 mistakes I made in personal branding

You’re completely shameless.

I looked at my colleague amused. We had been talking about the importance of personal branding in career development and success.

Seriously. Don’t you ever worry what other people think about your posts?

I sighed and smiled slightly.

I used to, but not anymore.

Believe it or not, I’m an introvert. An INFP to be exact.

I was bullied and painfully shy at school, speaking with strangers in over-crowded networking events used to fill me with anxiety, I was absolutely terrified of public speaking and it took me years to shake off the belief that I was an impostor: I thought I was a fraud and didn’t deserve all the success and awards I got.

It took me tens of years to get the courage to tell the world what I’m capable of.

But yes, I get it.

Posting about cool stuff we do and our achievements can feel narcissistic and like advertising, but hard work and know-how is not enough anymore these days.

You need to know how to promote yourself.

I learned it the hard way, watching promotions and accolades slipping through to the loudest ones – no matter how much revenue my projects created or how many weekends I sacrificed working.

So, was it easy to start promoting myself? Haha, no.

The top 4 mistakes I made when I kicked off my personal branding project:

1. Copying what the loud ones were doing

In the beginning I was unsure what to post or write about, so I checked what others were doing and posted similar stuff.

That was stupid and felt fake.

See, how you stand out depends on your own style and personality: don’t copy others or pretend to be what you’re not. You don’t have to act like the loud, extrovert “Jamie” from marketing who loves to walk in boss’ office to showcase every single project he’s ever done.

You can grow your personal brand in your own introvert way for example by showing your know-how in meetings, comments, blogs or events.

2. Caring too much of what other people think

When I started, I was highly concerned of what other people could think of my content and I avoided controversial topics, strong opinions – and selfies 😉

Content I posted was … meh.

Ok, it didn’t annoy anyone, but it didn’t excite anyone either – it was average.

But who wants to be seen as AVERAGE??

Don’t be afraid to express your opinion and always try to find a fresh angle to whatever you post. For example, if you don’t have time to blog, you can always post an article you find interesting. HOWEVER, don’t simply forward or post it without explanation: tell your connections what makes it so interesting, what insight you got from it or what it made you think of. Was there something they didn’t consider?

Yeah, but what if someone doesn’t like it?

As they say: if you have no haters, you’re not doing anything worth talking about.

3. Keeping it too formal and professional

Years ago I thought I couldn’t show any weaknesses or softness, because it’s “men’s world”, hey?

My tone of voice and posts were formal and impersonal – my content was well-written and insightful, for sure, but there was no personality, no spark of humour, no entertainment factor.

It all changed when I realised that people don’t love the content itself – they fall in love with who you are, your struggle, your story.

When you let your guard down and figure out what your own voice is, everything changes. Suddenly you’re not in competition anymore with anyone else. You’re in the league of your own.

No one can compete you being you.

Go your own way, be yourself.

4. Thinking quantity of likes mattered more than the quality

I’m a digital marketer – It’s my job to know what type of content gets likes and visibility on social channels. But was it really the right kind of attention I got?

These days I see people repeating the mistake I did – yes, they get hundreds of likes for videos of cats or babies on LinkedIn that are popular on other social channels, HOWEVER quality people will stop following you if you do that.

The more likes we get, the more fabulous we feel: but don’t sacrifice your high-value network for a short-term shot of dopamine.

Best investment that you can ever make is investing in yourself

I know for sure that not everyone likes me. I get criticised a lot about me “boasting” on social channels about my jet-setter life-style, stand up comedy awards, diplomas and high status people I tend to meet such as London Mayor Shadiq Khan.

personal branding sadiq khan

But little do they know that last time I took a real holiday was in Christmas and I don’t even remember when I went clothes shopping last time: I take days off to speak in events and to learn new skills, company doesn’t pay for my travels, I spend most of my money in books and training, I write my blogs during evenings, weekends or whenever I have “dead-time” and my evening entertainment are stand up comedy gigs and tech events to freshen up my knowledge.

It’s not anymore about know-how, it’s about know-who, one person mumbled.

Believe me: It’s still all about the know-how and hard work. You just have to let also others know how awesome job you are doing.

So, I hope this motivates you to go for it and write a more personal, more opinionated post on LinkedIn 🙂 If I could go from a silent introvert to a well-known expert in a topic I love, so can you!

Best of luck x

Pauliina

Ps. If you found this helpful in anyway, please do like this or share your thoughts in comments 🙂 Would really appreciate it!

[This is part of my challenge to share one personal failure per week to help you see you’re not alone: we all fail. I hope this will help you to get unstuck and succeed in life 🙂 ]

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