I recently read an online post from an up-and-coming business executive that made me cringe. The post not only used X-rated language but was also repulsive, especially to anyone who had never interacted with the post owner before to understand what kind of personality they were. I suppose this is what some would deem as being authentic. But while authenticity is touted as essential for building your personal brand, it MUST be balanced with professionalism.
In today’s digital age, building online personal branding is almost mandatory, but you need the right strategies and mindset to navigate this new world effectively. Just like showing up for dinner without an invitation can be seen as rude and uncivilized, showing up online (and in other people’s timelines, for that matter) without proper personal branding etiquette can be just as catastrophic.
Here are some tips for you to ensure your online presence aligns with your career goals and aspirations.
- Balance Personal and Professional Content:
As an executive looking to rise through the career ladder, you might wonder how much personal content you need to share while maintaining a professional image. It’s important to find the right balance that showcases your personality without compromising your credibility. For instance, you can share insights from your personal experiences that relate to your professional journey or discuss hobbies that demonstrate well-roundedness. By sharing relevant personal content thoughtfully, you humanize your brand while still upholding a professional image.
- Maintain Professionalism in Online Interactions:
In the digital realm, it’s common to come across differing opinions or engage in discussions and debates. As an executive, it’s crucial to maintain professionalism in these interactions. Instead of reacting impulsively, take a moment to consider your responses carefully. Always respond respectfully and constructively, even when faced with criticism or challenging viewpoints. By upholding professionalism in online conversations, you showcase your ability to handle diverse perspectives with grace.
- Handle Online Criticism and Negative Feedback:
Even the most accomplished executives face criticism or negative feedback online. It’s important to handle such situations with professionalism and resilience. Rather than becoming defensive, approach criticism as an opportunity for growth. Respond thoughtfully, addressing concerns constructively and seeking common ground when possible. By handling negative feedback gracefully, you demonstrate your ability to navigate challenging situations with composure.
- Manage Your Online Reputation:
The online reputation of any professional plays a significant role in career growth and opportunities. Regularly monitor your online presence to ensure it aligns with your personal brand goals. And where possible, stay away from participating in controversial and emotive topics around sensitive topics such as Religion, S*x and Politics.
Further, your digital footprint does not end with the social media websites alone. Consider how you leave online reviews that express dissatisfaction on e-commerce or other supplier websites. Ensure you cultivate a positive online reputation by sharing valuable insights, engaging thoughtfully with others, and showcasing your expertise instead.
- Being Mindful of Digital Footprint:
Remember that your digital footprint has a lasting impact on your personal brand, no matter the platform used. I have seen people maintain a very professional profile on LinkedIn (as the professional platform) and a very ‘untamed’ persona on other social websites (as deemed personal).
It is important to remember that everything you share online contributes to the image you project to colleagues, industry professionals, and potential employers.
Finding the right balance between professionalism and authenticity, personal and professional content is crucial to growing your career in today’s digital age.
Be mindful of what you do online, keeping in mind that the internet never forgets. Ensure that everything you do aligns with your personal brand values and aspirations. As you navigate the online personal branding world using the right etiquette, you will be able to open exciting opportunities in your industry and in turn #Standout4Growth.