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Personal Branding on Social Media: A Bufferchat Recap

Dec 3, 2015 6 min readBufferchat

This week, Carlos Gil stopped by #bufferchat to share his insights about personal branding on social media. The community discussed why cultivating a personal brand is important, what authenticity looks like, how to overcome challenges when it comes to managing a personal brand, and much more!

Catch our weekly Twitter chat, #bufferchat, every week on Wednesdays, 9 am PT/Noon ET/5 pm UTC, for valuable industry insights and networking with nearly 400 other smart marketers and community managers. It’s a fun time!

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What does “personal brand” mean for you?

From Carlos:

  • Your “personal brand” is your identity, it’s you, and how you’re viewed by others.
  • Personal brand goes beyond your name & what you do, it’s your mission, objective, value proposition.
  • Your personal brand is your digital footprint. Google yourself, the results are who you are.

From the community:

  • “What is the most original, best, and amazing version of yourself? That is your #personalbrand.” @lafitara
  • “Personal brand” is just marketing-speak for reputation. It’s what you’re known for, and how likable you’ve made yourself.” @Lauchlin
  • “Personal brand is the aggregate of all your actions, online and/or off. It’s defined by others’ perception.” @martinlieberman

See all the great answers to question 1 here!

Is it important to have a personal brand? Why or why not?

From Carlos:

  • Yes, your “personal brand” is what prospective employers and clients compare you against.
  • Those who invest in building their personal brand by networking are more likely to be found.
  • Your personal brand doesn’t just live online, it’s who you are 24/7 and in your community too.
  • Earlier this year when I was looking for work, having a visible presence on YouTube, Twitter, & online helped me stand out.
  • I landed a job at LinkedIn by taking a risk and documenting my job search which helped me stand out …
  • Example of personal branding when looking for work: …
  • When you’re hired today, employers are looking you up on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn. Same goes for potential clients.

From the community:

  • “You have a personal brand whether you know it or not. The real question is are you actively managing it?” @RyanRhoten
  • “It’s no longer IF you have a personal brand. It’s how you choose to cultivate it or let it be cultivated on your behalf.” @danielleirogers
  • “dmittedly, a personal brand helps your voice cut through the noise. ‘Oh, I like and trust what this person will say.'” @AnnDiab
  • “Yes it’s important.. it defines WHO YOU ARE. without a personal brand you’re just a grain of sand in an ever expanding beach.” @socialeyze

See all the great answers to question 2 here!

How can you discover and define your brand voice?

From Carlos:

  • Ask yourself: Who are you, what do you want to accomplish, what value do you bring? Have an endgame.
  • If you’re looking to become influential within your industry you need to be viewed as a voice and “thought leader”.
  • Networking within your industry online and off. Going to conferences. Blogging. Twitter chats. Creating YouTube videos.
  • Just be yourself. Don’t try to emulate or copy what someone else is doing, that will never work.
  • When I founded @JobsDirectUSA it was all about trying to connect employers w/ job seekers. My brand evolved from my mission.
  • Most important, HELP others be successful w/o expectation of anything in return. You can’t go wrong.

From the community:

  • “If you’re thinking super hard about your voice, you might be inauthentic. Realness is the bedrock.” @ChristinKardos
  • “Clarify what your core values are. Define what you are and what you are not. Be consistently yourself.” @WeintraubL
  • “1st step is introspective thought. Identify your strengths and voice, then go forth and communicate. Listen to feedback.” @EliteYouTubePro

See all the great answers to question 3 here!

How can you tell when a personal brand is truly authentic on social media?

From Carlos:

  • A great philosopher by the name of Jay Z once said: “Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.”
  • Google someone’s name, search on LinkedIn, track their digital footprint. That is how you know if someone is real.
  • You can’t fake success. It will eventually catch up to you if you try & “fake it until you make it”.
  • I personally look for what I call “documented success” when determining if someone is legit or not.
  • Don’t be fooled by vanity metrics, go beyond numbers. It’s not easy but that’s why research and references matter.
  • If I tweet at you, email, or send an InMail and you don’t reply that tells me about your character.

From the community:

  • “Automation ruins authenticity – automated DMs, 100 posts a day (you did not read all those articles), no original commentary.” @JessChild15
  • “If someone balances “broadcast” with “engagement” evenly, I’m all in. Blatant automation is a bad sign.” @dswebsme
  • “I have SO much respect for people who show flaws and change their mind about things over time. Mistakes are ok.” @alexandermania

See all the great answers to question 4 here!

What’s a big challenge for maintaining a personal brand and how do you work through it?

From Carlos:

  • You have to be consistent. Engage. Listen to others. Offer lots of value. It takes time and effort.
  • Knowing your audience is important. Think of yourself as always being “on stage” speaking to 1,000’s.
  • I leave my political, religious, and personal views out of sight and offline.
  • Ask my wife @MrsPaolaGil, I value my social network (and each person in it) like if they are a BFF or in person contact.
  • Don’t turn down meetings. Always be willing to go outside of your comfort zone to meet others and expand your network.
  • It’s all about who knows YOU, not the other way around.
  • BTW, I don’t have a website or a blog yet I’ve built my personal brand since 2008 using @LinkedIn @Twitter @YouTube etc.

From the community:

  • “Well, interests change as you advance in life & career. Your brand just need to evolve with you to keep it up.” @sabcruzb
  • “The hardest challenge is comparing your brand to others.” @sola_eclipses
  • “I think maintaining the thought leadership portion of a personal brand is tough. It takes dedication.” @hailleymari

See all the great answers to question 5 here!

Who’s personal brand do you admire, and why?

From Carlos:

From the community:

  • “I admire @iSocialFanz SO MUCH! He is the EXACT same person IRL as he is online + that person rocks!” @KohleenL
  • “I admire Tim Ferriss (@tferriss), he’s an experimenter & expert but doesn’t stray from being human and funny.” @johnsies
  • “I admire @MariSmith‘s personal brand because she’s consistent, positive, helpful, strong, elegant, and poised.” @WeintraubL
  • “S/o to @CBarrows + @rachelloumiller for exemplifying personal brands that are more subtle but intensely smart and valuable.” @ChristinKardos

See all the great answers to question 6 here!

How would you describe YOUR personal brand? ?

From Carlos:

  • I’m a Chief Connection Officer ?
  • Like a walking LinkedIn, I’m always looking for ways to connect people in my network with each other and opportunity.
  • Having spent nearly a decade now working in both corporate marketing and on my own, I share my knowledge with my network.
  • Also, I’m transparent. If you follow me across social you’ll notice that I’m not one dimensional. I’m human & let people in.

From the community:

  • “I am strong, entertaining, helpful, and un-apologetically honest while while still being kind.” @MaureenOnPoint
  • “I’m hoping that it’s radiating sunshine and positivity, and that my hope to empower and encourage others comes through!” @stephe_lee
  • “I am a guy with many passions trying to turn them into stories on my #podcast for others. I also try to be funny.” @WhatJeffTweets
  • “I’m a fitness fanatic, inspirational hopeful, motivator of healthy lifestyle AND a social media profession. Boom.” @lafitara
  • “A geeky storyteller, teeming with excitement & energy. I’m Batman. Nuff said. ;)” @mehulgohil

See all the great answers to question 7 here!

Thank you so much to Carlos and to everyone who participated in this great chat!

Catch #bufferchat each Wednesday at 9 am Pacific/noon Eastern. Join our brand-new Slack community to continue these awesome conversations all week long! Join 500+ people there!

Do you have any comments or answers to these questions? Leave your thoughts in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

Image sources: UnSplash

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