Personal Brand Strategy – How To Do It The Wrong Way

Kumar Gauraw

The world is noisier than ever. The competition is extremely high. Whether you are looking for a new job or new business, you’ve got to stand out from your competition. Your personal branding efforts drive your size of success.

Personal Brand Strategy Mistakes To Avoid

However, did you realize it isn’t something new? The need to stand out from your competition has always been important to your success. The methods have evolved, but the need is the same, isn’t it?

Your Brand Strategy Can Work Two Ways

Like anything else, you can do your personal branding as well two ways:

  1. Do it the right way where you stand out and attract what you desire.
  2. Do it the wrong way and people start running away from you. You still stand out. But people want to stay away from your brand name.

If you are serious about getting that dream job or growing your business to the next level of success, you want to do it the right way.

This time, I want to show you 7 ways you can do your personal branding – the wrong way. If you avoid these 7, what you will do, will be only good for your personal branding.

1. Over Self-Promotion

If you take a moment to see your Twitter feed, there are hundreds of people who are not there to do any conversation. They are just pumping out new tweets every hour.

Everything tweet they send is about a product, a service or an opportunity (they offer) that can change your life for good. They will not even respond to your tweets in case you ask them a question.

This type of self-promotion reminds me of the railway stations in cities like Delhi and Bangalore. The moment you step off your train, there would be taxi drivers yelling at you with offers. Some of them would chase you for some time with offers beating one another's to have your business.

I don’t remember hiring any of those guys ever. I remember walking out as fast as I could to get away from them without even looking at them. I would walk out and then hire a taxi from another place.

Yes, the world is highly competitive, but those methods aren’t any effective in the social media world either. People who do that type of self-promotion are considered spammers and people want stay away from them.

Self-Promotion – The Right Way

Over promotion is the real problem that you want not to create for your brand name. So, you can do following things that may work in your favor:

  • Have a genuine profile on social networking sites with a properly constructed bio-data with as much details as possible.
  • Share about your products or services for sure. But make sure you also share valuable information from other sources. The ratio of tweets or posts you share about yourself on social media should be much less when compared your total number of posts.
  • Be conversational on social media websites. Don’t be a broadcaster. Communicate with others. Respond to other people’s tweets and questions. Be interested in other people.

2.  Not Being Conversational

This is another category of experts you will find on the internet. They may be good at what they do, but they aren’t interested in paying any attention to what you’ve to say about what they said. They are just not interested in you and therefore, they aren't liked very much.

All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust. ~Bob Burg  [tweet this]

They try to emulate the TV advertisement era when companies and celebrities would show up in TV shows and everybody would listen. They weren’t needed to respond to anybody except the media.

But the world has changed. The attitude “I am too big to be touched” is not appreciated in the era of social media. In fact, it hurts your brand value in many ways if you go that route.

On the other hand, those who take time to respond to their followers, fans and acknowledge others, are far more popular, respected and valued in the marketplace. They get more repeat and referral business because they are liked and trusted.

Be Conversational And Build Trust

To build the likability and trust you need to make sure that people who interact with you, feel valued. Here are simple things you can do to increase your chances:

  • Be conversational on social media. The more attention your fan base gets from you, the better brand name you become.
  • Communicate with others. Share news about other leaders in the industry and network.
  • Be interested in other people and let them feel that you value them.

3. Personal Branding Without A Brand Strategy

Not having a brand strategy in place is like driving your car to somewhere without having any knowledge about the destination.

If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.                        ~Lewis Carroll  [tweet this]

Have you seen people who actually are experts in computer programming (such as Java, SAP, Oracle etc.) but if you check them out on social media, they appear totally different?

They may have jobs in respectable IT companies at senior levels. Yet, if you look at their Twitter feed or Facebook status updates, all they share is about politics. 

Have you seen businessmen whose Facebook wall is all cluttered with all kinds of non-business related activities? Would you feel comfortable doing business with them?

When your social media presence isn’t in synchronization with your career goals, your personal branding is happening for sure, but not in the direction you want. This can hurt your business and if you ask me, it definitely hurts.

Have A Plan And Act Accordingly

Random acts give random results, even for your personal branding. You can take following actions to ensure you have a plan that you are following:

  • Set your personal branding goals (in synchronization with your Business/Career goals).
  • Set specific action items you need to have to build your personal brand.
  • Stick to the plan. Do not indulge into activities that are not going to help your personal branding goals.
  • Avoid the temptation to participate in your personal hobbies at the cost of your personal branding.

4. Claims Without Credibility

Recently I was approached by a SEO company. They offered to analyze my website for FREE to estimate the amount of work involved in getting my website listed on the first page of Google on the keywords I wanted.

They also claimed that in 3 months, they can get my website’s home page to get PR4 to PR5 if I choose to work with them.

All sounded very promising at the time.

After I got off the call, I went to check their own website and here is what I found:

  • Their own website had a page rank of 0.
  • Their Alexa traffic ranking was way more than 2 million.
  • Their email address (the one they used to send me the information about themselves) was a Gmail account.

It did not take any time for me to realize that they had no credibility to claim what they were claiming to help me achieve. Obviously I rejected their offer.

There may be many such examples when people claim to be marketing coach, business development coach, life coach etc. But if you do a Google search on them, a marketing/business coach has a Klout score of about 25 with 27 Twitter followers and the internet marketing expert has no website of his/her own .

What impression do you get? Not good right?

Be Genuine With Your Claims And Back It Up

Claim what you can show for. You can take following action items to make sure your personal brand is built on trust:

  • Do not make outrageous claims. Be reasonable.
  • Do your homework (Have a website, professional emails, client testimonials) before making claims.

5.  Bashing The Competition

Your brand identity is defined by your strengths, your values and your products, not by how it compares with others. Therefore, by bashing your competitors you do not look any better. In fact, people who do that send the wrong message in the market about themselves.

I had an encounter with a gentleman from a network marketing company was prospecting me for his business expansion plans in India.

He appeared successful and mature to me,  so I began to listen to his proposition…until he started to compare his 3-4 year old company with one of the oldest and biggest players in the market and began to explain how his company was better.

That immediately turned me off. He appeared manipulative and selfish simply because he showed no respect for his competition.

I wouldn’t recommend bashing the competition in front of your prospects or clients. It sends the wrong message and positions the conversation around your competition and not you. That isn’t a brand strategy that is going to help improve your brand image.

Be Careful When Talking About Competition

If you must talk about your competition, be respectful, be composed and keep the conversation positively focused about your offerings. You may keep these bullet points in mind:

  • Keep the conversations focused on the strengths of your products and services rather than the weaknesses of your competition.
  • Never put your competition down. Show respect for them and then show how your products and services are much better.


Your Turn – Share Your Thoughts

What are a few other things you think one should implement as part of their personal brand strategy? What are some other mistakes that should be avoided by internet marketers on social media channels?

Please share your thoughts in the comments by clicking here. Thank you kindly!

Kumar Gauraw

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Kumar Gauraw is a Personal Branding & Social Media strategist helping entrepreneurs and skilled professionals achieve personal and professional success by developing leadership and leveraging the power of the Internet, Blogging and Social Media.

9 Awesome Thoughts So Far, Add Yours Now...

  1. Well done, Kumar ! Very good article, to establish personal brand more effectively. Thanks

    • Thank you Aistis. Appreciate your feedback my friend!

  2. Looks like every paragraph was hitting Home Run one after another. Very well written and lots of things to learn..Thanks for sharing….

  3. Just as Atit says, “Every point is like home run.”
    I learnt many things about sales and marketing since we started our Krishna World Wide. Thank you for always sharing wisdom of ages in your style. This is very valuable information for our team.

    • Yes, Mayank. This is a very valuable information for our team. We don’t want to do marketing -the wrong way.

    • Appreciate the enthusiasm. Thank you.

  4. Kailash Pradhan

    I definitely agree with what you are saying. It is definitely important that personal branding is must in every field. The better the personal brand image, the better the career or the business. Thank you Kumar.

  5. Kailash Pradhan

    Thank you so much for posting this. I really appreciate your work. Keep it up. Great work!

Please Note: My goal is to host interesting conversations with caring, honest, and respectful people. Therefore, I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic.