Personal Branding Within Social Media
Personal branding within social media is an essential yet confusing term. It can be defined as “[t]he ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, group, or organization” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_branding. It has become as ubiquitous as social media itself and some of the most famous celebrity for the sake of celebrity’s have mastered this – simply think of the Kardashians (@KimKardashian or @khloekardashian). Others have used it so effectively it has created whole new careers for them. A perfect example of this is Donald Trump. Before social media hit its stride he used his name to develop a real estate brand that spoke of luxury and expense. Trump’s personal twitter feed @realDonaldTrump is now used to further define his personal beliefs while simultaneously promoting them as the beliefs or aims of the entire United States of America as he frequently uses the same tweets from his official Twitter account @POTUS. One could argue that without his Twitter feed he would not have gained the popularity he did in the two year run up the US election last November.
The confusion for me lies with where to separate the personal from the professional. With so much choice for virtually everything now and with relying less and less on personal interaction it seems that personal branding has taken the place of customer service. I am happy with that when I am shopping, but if I am trying to sell a service (recruitment) through a professional Facebook page how much personal information should I be using? I know I’m certainly not comfortable with displaying too much of my personal appearance like the Kardashians, or the political like Donald Trump! Surely though, there is a happy middle ground where I can show through social media that I am a real human but this is my workplace and therefore a dress code of privacy must apply.
Perhaps the answer to this middle ground of personal branding lies in the aim. There are numerous individuals who have used personal branding to create a career that is essentially personal branding, or beauty vlogging to give it it’s official name. The three most popular in the United States in 2015 according to Pixability were Michelle Phan, Bethany Mota, and Carli Bybel who had followers standing at 8, 833, 779; 10, 339, 824; and 5, 303, 898 respectively (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beauty_Youtubers). After developing huge followers that pre-social media would be unimaginable these individuals are using their own personal branding to contribute to the success of big companies while the big companies are able to adapt personal branding to their corporate branding. This has become a completely symbiotic and hugely successful relationship.
I will continue to struggle with the issue of personal branding whenever I post on my work Facebook or Twitter accounts – I don’t worry about crossing any boundaries but rather being so impersonal so as to not have an impact! Nonetheless it is clear that personal branding is essential and to be successful using social media one must adapt.
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