Who Am I?

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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3 thoughts on “Who Am I?

  1. Your take on separating the personal and professional was interesting – especially given that the line can be clearly blurred when subjects overlap and differentiating them can be complex. Many ministers in Canada have two accounts where one is used for official government purposes while the other is not.

  2. I found your perspective on personal branding within social media to be very interesting. It’s actually something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, partially due to this course but also just because I’m a fan of YouTubers and the vlogging world in general.

    I was discussing this with my sister yesterday, this idea of staying true to who you are online. For instance, something that I would imagine is very difficult as a vlogger is the idea of “collaborations”. One of the makeup artists I follow on YouTube (Jaclyn Hill) did a collab video with Kim Kardashian on her new contour stick. While other youtubers weren’t a fan of the product, she was raving about it and I couldn’t help but wonder if she was genuinely a fan of the product or if she felt she needed pretend. Then again, I’m not sure what I’d do if I were in that position… I mean, how do you tell Kim K that her product is garbage in front of her haha 🙂

  3. Very interesting post. When people fully commit to personal branding, to the point, like you explained, where it becomes their career, I think sometimes the people themselves almost become brands. It goes deeper than a common look and feel throughout an account and to me, this is when someone becomes like a company, and they lose their personality. There are celebrity accounts that I was following in the past for their uniqueness (and sometimes quirkiness), that I no longer follow because they have become too “branded” or “mainstream” and their posts are too curated. I like the idea of a middle ground, or maybe it is simply a matter choosing your brand correctly to let your true personality shine through.

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