On January 25th, I started a new religion, the Social Media Religion and I preached about the 10 Commandment of Twitter. This is the second post in that series where I sermonize about the Personal Branding and the lessons I learned while building my own.
Thou shalt be true to thyself
Being true to oneself in short means to act, speak, preach in accordance with who you are and what you believe in. If you are not true to yourself you cannot be true to others. Have the courage to accept who you REALLY are and love that person. Do not pretend to be someone else for the sake of gaining acceptance. Dare to be different, dare to stand for you believe in (yet be tolerant to what others believe in as well). You are unique, don’t plagiarize your identity and be a number.
Thou shalt be true to others
When someone seeks your advice, don’t patronize them and tell them what they want to hear – be true to them, they might not like it at first, but they will respect you and in turn will always trust you to tell the truth. Some say the truth hurts, but not as much as lying does! Be true to others and they will reciprocate such sincerity. Recently, I got a tweet about Gary Vaynerchuk receiving a prank call at 5am in the morning – the way he handled that call was incredible and so true to his brand and the people that believe in his work. His offline brand was as authentic as his online brand!
Thou shalt not make for thine self an idol
Personal Branding is not about YOU – it is how people perceive you to be. Just like any other brand! You can claim to be many different things, an expert, a specialist, a guru, etc … but at the end it’s what people think of you “as a brand” that matters! Yes you are unique, but no you are not irreplaceable. I am one of millions of Marketing consultants, but the only thing separating me from everyone else is the perception of my personal brand. Don’t fall into a narcissistic spiral – I ask you to love yourself, not fall in love with yourself; let others do so!
Thou shalt not stop learning
Socrates, credited for being one of the founders of Western Philosophy, said “I know that I know nothing”. Think about that for a second … he can’t be serious, if he doesn’t know anything, what the hell do I know? What I personally think Socrates meant by his self-referential paradox is that as much as you claim to know, there’s always more to learn. Whatever you are passionate about, be it cooking, dancing, singing, social media, marketing, anything … don’t stop learning about it. There’s always something new to learn. Think of learning as your daily dose of vitamins for your personal brand.
Thou shalt not stop giving
Personal Branding is all about the art of giving. After seeing the posts on blog, some of my friends ask me “how do you expect to make any money as a marketing consultant if you keep giving all these advices for free. Businesses can just take that advice and run with it” – to those skeptics I say that argument applies to any book out there. Personal Branding is about dedicating your effort, focus, and time on enriching people. Nowadays, information is freer than ever before – I’m not reinventing the wheel in my posts, I’m just personalizing it with my beliefs and thoughts.
Thou shalt build a community of Trust Agents
Trust – I think I’ve spoken about that in almost every post I wrote. I hold that word close to my heart, maybe this is why people find me approachable. Build a community of people you trust is important for your Personal Brand – this group of people is not necessarily made up of like-minded individuals, but they certainly have one thing in common – a greater good. Their advice is usually unsolicited and free – they allow you to grow, because as you grow, they grow with you. I have built my online circle of trust and I would recommend you do the same.
Thou shalt engage with others
If a brand sits on the shelf, there’s not much use for it – the same applies to your personal brand. You have to put yourself out there. You have to go viral – but please don’t just follow people and act like a bot. Don’t be a spammer – the commandment clearly talks about engagement – that’s a back and forth conversation that adds value to all parties involved. Online is very similar to offline – you wouldn’t walk on the streets just yelling things out (they’d call you crazy). You should be talking to people. So if you’re on twitter, join chats about subjects you’re passionate about. Listen to what others have to say – but do so actively.
Thou shalt stand bare
Yes, I am asking you to stand naked – well not literally so, but still naked. Personal Branding is all about transparency. For trust to grow, secrets have to die. One of the most daring posts was one written by Amber Naslund who talks about brand elevation through Social Media in her post entitled My Dirty Little College Secret where she revealed that she has no college degree. We are talking about a person that has more than 27 thousand followers on twitter and virally interact with more than that on a daily basis! That is the nakedness I’m talking about. Do you think she lost her credibility by declaring such a “dirty little” secret – to the contrary; people are fed up with fake persona, they want people who are real, who are human, who make mistakes, who dare to stand naked and take the criticism.
Thou shalt be a great storyteller
Eric, my latest friend in my circle of trust, spoke about this commandment so eloquently in one of his posts. Every one of us likes a good story, because as humans we can always relate. Think of why you buy certain brands. With so many brands to choose from, you find yourself drawn towards a brand you can relate to. It represents your values, what you believe in, how you’d like to be perceived as, unconsciously you are thinking of the story behind the brand! It’s the same thing when it comes to your personal brand; people connect with each other based on commonalities. So the next time you’re out there doing your elevator pitch, think of a story, instead of simply laying out your resume in 15 seconds.
Thou shalt not bug, beg, or buy attention, thou shalt earn it
Not only is this the essence of social media, it is the core of personal branding. We are bombarded on a daily bases with people trying to sell us something – don’t be one of those! Follow the commandments laid before you and you will earn that attention you seek. But building a personal brand requires a lot of patience and certainly a lot of dedication. Gary Vaynerchuk transformed his father’s liquor store from a $4 million business to a $60 million by earning the attention of customers in his unsolicited and unorthodox video blogs. He didn’t try to sell you any particular brand, he just chose a bottle of wine and talked about freely – he even spoke about brands he didn’t have in his store!
If you follow those commandments religiously, I can assure you that your Personal Brand will soar and the limitation is only your imagination. Think About It!