Social Media has become the new party line. We are all on it, all the time. In this age of technology our online presence is a direct extension of our personal brand and is oftentimes the first impression a prospective client or connection is going to take away from an in-person interaction. What do they do when they jump in the back of their Uber? Check you out on Instagram! And what they find there is completely up to you. You control it. You decide. Does it represent what you want to be known for? Here are the five deadly Instagram sins that are killing your personal brand.
No. 1: Ego
I know that last week you looked great in that dress for that party so you snapped a shot and posted it for everyone to see. Or that you spend a lot of time at the gym and you work hard, and that you are proud of it. And neither of those things is wrong. What becomes a problem is when there is a lot more of you and lot less of the other things that also fill up your life. Now, if you are a fitness model and taking selfies is an integral part of your profession, by all means, make it happen. But for the rest of us it means a few less selfies and little more of what makes you, you!
No. 2: Excess
We all love a great new watch. We love a new car. We love to celebrate people when they have great things happening for themselves. We also love it when the people we follow switch it up. They don’t always show the new car or the new watch or the trip of a lifetime over and over again. Managing your personal brand is a lot like managing a major corporate brand. Showing how your brand interacts in a variety of different situations and with a variety of different people is integral to its long-term integrity. Make sure your brand is focused on its future in addition to the present.
No. 3: Vices
We live in one of the largest cities in the United States. One of the best things about living in a huge city is being able to partake in a variety of activities. Going out, enjoying cocktails, maybe sneaking a cigarette here or there are all things that might occur from time to time. The place those items don’t belong are on your social media feed. Now, you might come back to me and say, but my feed is private, no one but my friends can see it? And what I would say to you is that the majority of the business connections you will make in your lifetime are through your direct friends. The same friends who can see you participating in activities that you wouldn’t want a normal business associate to see. Just think about that.
No. 4: Envy
Brunch, Brunch, Brunch, Bottle Service. If your Instagram stories resemble anything like this, please consider the messaging you are telegraphing. We all would love to be in box seats for Beyonce and Jay-Z, on the front row at the Cowboys or Mavs and most definitely in one of the booths at Nick & Sam’s in the bar. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with being in any of those places. The people you meet, the people you see, are all possible connections moving forward in your career, but I’d just like to remind you that the cloud is not some fantasy island somewhere, but is actually a large computing facility, most likely in a cornfield in Iowa, that is storing for all time your digital footprint. It may disappear from your feed on Instagram stories or Snap Chat, but did it really go away?
No. 5: Fun (Too Much of It)
I am not against fun. Trust me, I have had a lot of it. My job is a lot of fun every day. What I am against is showing too much of that fun. In my business, I have clients who follow me on social media almost from the very beginning of our client process. They want to feel that I am working for them, that their project is the most important and that they are my priority. Showing too much fun (e.g. travel, experiences, vacation) often times telegraphs a message that runs counter to the idea that I am working for them all the time.
The basic takeaway – have fun with your friends, live your life to the fullest, make every day amazing, just make sure you cultivate your personal online brand with an eye towards your future.
Read more about The Dapper Diplomat here.