This is a question I get asked a lot and my answer is unequivocal – absolutely not! Why would you? How can anyone else be you? How could anyone be me? Not possible.
This issue really matters to me, because there’s too much noise on social media. Inauthentic, disingenuous noise.
Now I appreciate that many will completely disagree with me and I’d welcome a conversation in the comments, but I’m hot on this topic and wanted to share my perspective.
Building a personal brand is about taking all that you are, all the magic you have to offer, and amplifying it across your relevant social channels, with a mindset to serve and delight your audience. It’s not about you, it’s about serving them – whoever them is to you.
It’s not about being present, it’s about presence and a mindset of service.
I have said it before, but I truly believe there is no shortcut to an excellent personal brand, and outsourcing yourself is a shortcut none of us should take.
When it comes to outsourcing personal brands, I know plenty of people who do it. How do I know? Because they are not present in their social presence. Their character and personality is completely absent. It’s too structured. Too impersonal. It’s not them, and that’s transparent when you pay attention.
Now I’m not saying you can’t have help
I work extensively with a handful of senior executives on their social media presence, but I don’t do it for them. I am a sounding board, a guide, a coach, someone to provide honest feedback. There’s no one size-fits-all in these relationships either, because every one of them is different, but one thing is consistent – they get the fact they must own it. Not me.
So yes, if you’re struggling to get it all together, find someone to support you and take on work that doesn’t add value to your social presence, just not all of it. Find an editor, someone to automate certain activities, a photography selector, or someone to brainstorm ideas with.
Having a partner for senior executives to help establish and maintain a presence is a great thing to do, but when you publish a blog that has been written 100% by someone else, with PR filters put on it… no, that doesn’t work and it doesn’t make you trustworthy or authentic either.
This goes for non-blogging as well. Don’t share any content you don’t believe is awesome and please don’t amplify any company news without telling people why you’re excited about sharing it.
Meeting company sharing KPIs won’t win friends and influence on social media.
Why is this important?
Because people want to trust you in a world where trust is eroding. Look at the findings of Edelman’s recent Trust Barometer? Businesses are just hanging onto trust and CEOs are losing it hand-over-fist – although not as much as politicians…
But employees are trusted. You are trusted. Don’t underestimate that.
Trust is our most valuable currency
To earn trust, start by not falling into the trap of outsourcing your social media presence to save time. It’s backfiring and you’re losing currency.
We must own our presence as much as we can, putting our heart and soul into it. It’s not about having a few social media accounts, it’s about having a valuable presence that really makes an impact on our audience’s lives. You can’t outsource that!
So please, I beg you, stop looking for a shortcut and get behind your own presence. If time is an issue, stop doing anything that offers no value to you, your future or your companies’ future. There are plenty of things in that bucket, things that are now irrelevant in our socially connected world.
This is the digital revolution, and a core component of that for each of us personally, is how we individually present ourselves to the world on social media. We are all flooded with nonsense on professional social media channels, so if you don’t want to add to that, take ownership of your presence and make it magical.
Someone told me recently they always see my heart and intention in my blogs, and I have to say, you couldn’t give me a bigger compliment. That’s all I want to do. The benefits come, but it is serving my audience that drives me.
So what do you think? Let me know in the comments and I welcome discussion either way.
Blindfolded pair image courtesy of Shutterstock.
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