Brand Yourself: Four Questions to Ask Before Your Next Social Media Post

This is the third post in a series about personal brand. Check out the first post titled Brand Yourself: How Your Actions Affect Your Impact and the second post titled How Your Words Affect Your Personal Brand (and Your Influence on Others) here.

In the last two blog posts about personal brand, we’ve looked at how actions and words both can affect our impact on others. If we want to be influential, we have to be aware that literally everything can increase or decrease our influence on others. If we aren’t aware of this, we might not realize what’s damaging our ability to impact others positively.

So today, we’re going to look at how the way we participate in social media brands us. If you aren’t into the news, it seems that about once a week, there is a high-profile individual that messes up on Twitter and says something that they regret after they’re put through the internet shredder. Or, in other cases, when someone begins running for office, people start sifting through all social media posts to see what dirt can be dug up on the candidate. If anything questionable or controversial is turned up, it can ruin careers.

How do we protect against this? Think twice before you post.

Ask yourself this: “How will I be perceived by this post and am I ok with that?”

Financial expert Dave Ramsey talks about the issue of digital courage quite a bit on his show. Digital courage is what some people have when they are given a keyboard and a screen to hide behind.

They have the guts they don’t normally have to say things they wouldn’t normally say.

If you want people to look to you as an expert when you Become the Expert, personal brand matters and social media holds some weight. So I compiled a short list of what you need to consider when posting on social media.

Here are four things to consider when participating on social media:

Consideration 1: What’s in the content of your post?

Do you swear on your social media posts? Many people I know are clean in their language (at least at church!). On social media, however, they use profanity (I’ll bet Grandma’s not on Twitter or Facebook). If you can’t craft a post without the use of profanity, sign up for the Dictionary.com Word of the Day here.

Keep in mind that not only will the things that you say brand you, but so will the things that you share. That share button is so easy to hit but what does the article actually say? Is it just a clever title or did you actually read it first?

Consideration 2: What’s in the content of your picture?

Frequently, when I post on Facebook or Instagram, someone will like my post and I immediately think, “Oh hey! I forgot you followed me!”

How are you perceived by the photos you or others post? And who is watching?

I used to be a 4-H camp counselor and several campers from over the years follow me on social media. How do they view what I post?

Do you post pictures of parties and alcohol? I don’t have a problem with either when they aren’t misused. But are you ok with how it looks to others?

Consideration 3: Are employers watching?

Apparently! According to a CareerBuilder survey, about 70% of employers use social media to screen potential hires before offering a job. This means that your refined resume and your carefully selected personal references may not make the cut for what you need to get the job. If you are like most people, social media can uncover the genuine character of you and give a potential employer a good (or bad) feeling of what it might mean to work with you.

Consideration 4: Will you regret looking back at your inordinate number of food photos?

It’s a legitimate question.

Conclusion: Think before you post

We all know someone who doesn’t. How have they branded themselves?

How do you filter yourself on social media and do you find your perception of others change based on what they post? I want to hear from you in the comments!

-Caleb

Oh, and incidentally, you can check me out on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

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