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Clare Munn Headshot

Guide to Personal Brand Management

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In the previous article, I spoke about how we can defuse tension or deflect misunderstandings though the simple action of pausing -- to think, to reflect and gather your thoughts and intentions. By pausing, I have found I've created better results in both personal and business situations.

One of my biggest concerns today is that people are forgetting that what they say, type and Tweet can be spread around the globe in a matter of seconds. With as little as one out-of-context comment, an individual can mar their reputation or offend both friends and strangers. On the Internet, unlike in spoken dialogue, comments are etched in our digital footprints and can come back to haunt or inhibit future relationships from occurring.

This leads me to reflect upon the wise words from my grandmother when she would say, "At the end of the day all we have is our integrity and dignity." This does not mean I have to have everyone like me, or even agree with me, however, it does mean that I desire/need respect if leading a team, and/or does require that my profile reflects the skill set I am "selling" to companies; and on a personal level, it requires I don't look like a raging lunatic to my family/loved ones. Even if our reputation is interpreted falsely by others, regardless if we are even liked, if we know that we did our best then we can remain closely honorable to our intention. And chances are that by doing so, our reputation will remain intact.

So what does this mean for the digital era?

I believe it requires us to be more thoughtful, more strategic and above all more willing to be transparent. Not about private topics, but certainly about areas we are wanting to be recognized for.

My umbrella company, The Communication Group, has an eight-year-old company that has been repositioning companies and people online; and using this knowledge The Communication Group is now developing a new business unit, SOCME Academy, an online certified training program that teaches individuals, companies and brands how to set up their social media profiles. First, even before any setup occurs they will be instructed to consider their own understanding of who they are and who they wish to be seen as online. One may have a squeaky clean LinkedIn, but we must be sure that our other social profiles are in line with this professional.

Consider this before uploading, updating or sharing on your profile:

  1. Like email, if you hesitate to post, comment, or share -- there is likely a reason. Wait for 24 hours, and/or ask someone you respects advise before pressing "upload."
  2. Although posts, comments and shares can be deleted, they still can have lasting impacts on the minds from which they've been viewed.
  3. Realize what you want as the outcome of your post. What are you looking for? Laughter could be one, respect could be another, etc.

These are just a few examples of what is critical to think about. At the California Women's Conference on September 23, my panel will be drilling down further into setting up LinkedIn effectively and showing a few case studies. Likewise, the launch of socmeacademy.com will provide anyone interested in remaining relevant in the workplace, or learning new very much desired skills a way to learn effectively, efficiently and affordably. We are very excited about this, and thank all who have helped inform us along the way.

I'll leave off by saying that it is important to not only garner our own personal profiles but to help others protect their online reputation. It is unfair when people have no considerations for small businesses on business review websites, such as Yelp or CitySearch. It is easy to witness how a poor review can bring down an entire business. It must be recognized that these negative actions and comments lack character, compassion, and professionalism. I suggest taking complaints offline and in turn direct them in a private message. This gives the small business owner the opportunity to correct their mistake or respond to a poor experience.

There are many ingredients that add up to the recipe that is your reputation, and it is imperative to remember a good measure of intention. Get crafting!
Enjoy - c

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