You are trying to become an influencer or simply you are trying to make a mark in this very crowded world. Whether online or offline, trying to create a brand around yourself is a slow process demanding lots of hard work and a bit of luck. But once you establish yourself, rewards are high and non-stop.
However many of us commit crucial mistakes in our personal branding journey. Some mistakes are irreversible and cause considerable damage, or slow down our pace. From what I have seen and learnt, here’s a list of 10 bad personal branding examples in india you should avoid while growing yourself as a brand.
#1: MAINTAIN BRAND HYGIENE
Your fans and followers can get confused easily. It is important to be consistent. For example, my handle is ‘enidhi’ – on blog, on Twitter, on Instagram or Facebook. If you are have different handles on different platforms, audience can fail to link them to you and this will dilute your brand proposition. Select one identity that is accessible across major platforms, take some time to assess that this is the identity you want to build and then begin your journey with right foot forward.
#2: CHOOSE THE RIGHT DOMAIN NAME
I should have got enidhi.com but it was not available when I wanted. So I setup my blog on enidhi.net, a less optimal top level domain. I regret this decision even today but it is too late to change the domain after having put decades of effort building an identity around it. Websites take time to get established and gain traffic. It is not worth changing your website URL halfway through the personal branding journey. Get it right and get it early. Think a dozen times if this is the best suited domain name for you. The domain name should perfectly reflect what you stand for or your name or the USP/brand you are trying to build. Avoid domain names that are too long, too generic and hard to recall.
#3: SELECTING A NICHE
Do not try to dominate every niche and type out there. Focus one or two that you are most comfortable with, have expertise in and are confident of. For example, if your expertise is in finance, focus on finance related topics. If your passion is in cooking, try to make a mark in it. If you keep your legs in multiple boats, trying to make it big in finance+cooking+fashion+travel, you may slip. Your fans and followers will not be able to connect you with a particular niche and this may dilute your value proposition. You can always have secondary/tertiary interests but select one primary domain and focus on it.
#4: NO SHORT CUTS
It is a tempting proposition to buy lakhs of followers and project yourself as an instagram influencer. It could be easy to fake a few media reports, pay an agency and get a verified profile on FB. You might be able to boost your image or achievements artificially for a while. But this cannot be sustained for long. At some point you will be caught. Unless your aim is short term, chose the right path, do the right thing. It is the ethically right way and only way that keeps your integrity intact and gets you long term benefits.
#5: BE RESPONSIVE
In your personal branding journey, it is important to take your followers along. Many people try to reach out to their mentors and stars for advise, input, help. You may not be able to entertain and help every message in the inbox but make an attempt to respond, at least to those who appear genuine. The respect you gain by a simple conversation, the anger generated by sheer ignorance are priceless.
#6: GIVE BACK
There are a dozen ways to give it back to community. Volunteering at suitable opportunities, contributing to Wikipedia, helping NGOs you trust, assisting people in your locality, adding honest reviews about places you visited or products you have used are some of the many ways for us to give it back to the community. We have taken a lot from it and it is our responsibility to give it back. In your personal branding journey, keep financial aspects aside once a while and help others. This will pay back in cash and kind in near future.
#7: WHO ARE YOU
It is not necessary to always position ourselves as a happy, successful person. Be natural, be real. It is ok to accept your mistakes or limitations. Faking success online will cost dearly once your followers learn about the real you. It is not worth it in the long run.
#8: DON’T HIDE YOUR MISTAKES
We all make mistakes. It is part of learning curve and growth process. But trying to suppress an error or a mistake will result in more mistakes; more complications till things go out of control. It is a lot easier if you admit a mistake as it is in the beginning. Your followers will understand.
#9: BE SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE
You preach others to avoid plastic and you are spotted in a supermarket insisting on a plastic bag. You campaign for cleanliness and someone spots you littering the park. These things don’t go well, particularly in today’s time where everyone has a camera. You need to be what you preach and you need to show real social responsibilities in your personal life and set an example. Otherwise you will lose your hard earned respect fast.
#10: THINK LONG TERM
Short term success, popularity is easy to achieve. There’re a dozen tricks and shortcuts. But these are not sustainable in long term. In case of effective personal branding, it is better to go slow and steady than try to sprint. Respect needs to be commanded, can’t be demanded. Do right things with right intentions or purpose. Let the fame/recognition come naturally even if it takes more time.
I hope these bad personal branding examples in India will help you to fine tune your journey to drive the best results for yourself.