Have you ever picked up a newspaper because of the headline only to read the story and feel like you have just been scammed? And how irritating is it to click on those grandiose adverts with great headlines that promise heaven only for them to deliver the earth with poorly developed content? This is such a common phenomenon especially in today’s world where everyone is looking to command attention or viewership.
This is Clickbait. Clickbait is simply a way of baiting your audience into believing that a certain positive or enlightening outcome will result from a hyped prompt or overly dramatized promise. And while this exercise can bring in the mass viewership sought, the experience in most cases just breeds more disappointment with the audience that eventually, any amount of trust that had been built is slowly lost.
So, what does clickbait look like when it comes to personal branding? A click baited personal brand is one that claims to stand for one thing yet delivers something very different. This difference could manifest itself either in the values one represents, their personality or expertise and social media tends to amplify these differences in a lot of people. This is because social media allows individuals to curate the content that they want to showcase to the world so as to portray a reality that they would like the world to believe in rather than showcase the reality.
These three characteristics make up the core of what drives an individual’s Personal Brand and while Values and Personality are internally focused (i.e. driven from within one’ self), Expertise is externally motivated (i.e. driven by the self-ambition to be more). The ideal scenario would be to have everyone maintain some form of consistency, but this is not always the case. When you have not taken the time to build a solid foundation with your personal brand, to understand what you really want out of it in the long term, then you are likely to find yourself in a scenario where you showcase different personas in different situations. Social Media Influencers are some of the biggest culprits of this phenomenon. They will skew their values or personality to fit what they believe will sell best for the moment.
Business leader on the other hand need to add some expertise into this package. And if this knowledge and expertise is misrepresented in any way, then the audience begins to experience a Personal Brand Clickbait. Can you imagine interacting with someone who speaks 10,000 flowery words just to say something that could have been said in 100 words? Or worse, only for them to say something that has already been said before or not relevant to the conversation? Painful to imagine…. right? Yet, we encounter such individuals every day.
But there’s hope. However, before you can start working on growing your expertise, you need to recognize the level of knowledge that is in you to determine of extent of click bait within. If you seem to get cut off when trying to make a point, left out during vital conversations affecting the team, or perhaps just find yourself going on and on without much contribution from the other team members, then you could be in this category.
The only way for you NOT to look like a curated expert is by brushing up on your expertise. And you can do this by:
- Striving to be exceptional: The race of life has no room for second best. You can only be exceptional by going above and beyond what everyone else is doing.
- Maintaining Curiosity: Life is always evolving. Trends today will be fades tomorrow and the only way to stay ahead is to be open to the universe and its lessons. Just like the student who is curious enough to read ahead will lead the class during the exam period, the same is true in the school of life, the one to brushes up with the latest and newest in the industry takes the lead.
- Asking Questions: No one person has the monopoly of knowledge. We co-exist with others to learn. Most people fear asking questions for fear of looking foolish, but it is better to ask a question and appear foolish than confidently speak inaptly and prove your foolishness.
- Breaking the Rules sometimes: How can this be applicable in our day to day lives? If you work in an environment where the existing policies seem stifle your way of operations and progress towards a certain objective, then perhaps it time to creatively find your way around the rules. As Picasso once said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist”. Remember, keyword here is sometimes. Break the rules all the times and you risk being alienated or named a criminal.
Do you believe you have the right level expertise to leverage on your personal brand? To build trust for the long term, your personal brand must shed off all signs of clickbait to #Standout4Growth.