We often think of branding as something that is just for a business. However, in the wake of Justine Sacco’s inappropriate tweet about Aids and Africa and the resulting backlash, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about protecting your personal brand.
Yes, YOUR personal brand. That’s you, your name, and everything that surrounds that brand (i.e. anything you put out to the world associated with YOU). It’s your website, your blog, and all of your social media accounts.
I hope when you hear my name you think of an entrepreneur and someone who has worked very hard in her life to build businesses and share knowledge with others. I protect that brand and make sure that what you see from me is professional and consistent.
Even on my personal Facebook page, that is very limited to friends and family, I only post things I wouldn’t mind my kids, their friends, or anyone in my family seeing.
So, back to Justine Sacco… I was shocked to hear that she, not only a professional, but specifically a PR professional, a) would not think before she posted a tweet like she did and, b) would not have her personal brand protected.
Lesson #1 – If possible, secure your name as a domain name ASAP.
I own www.christinadaves.com, which is currently a media page all about my press apperances and linking to my businesses.
Justine Sacco did not own her own name as an internet domain. Within a day after the tweet, Aid for Africa scooped up the domain www.justinsacco.com and created a donation website. What a way to spin this negative publicity into a positive for their charity. I would love to know how much money they raised as a result of this brilliant marketing move.
Lesson #2 – Think before you post.
Even on your personal social media accounts, make sure what you think before you post. We are always telling our kids that anything they put out there (i.e. the internet) is there FOREVER! Even if it’s in a private group or private chat, it could become public domain if someone shares it.
Before you hit send, think how you would feel if you read that tweet/post/comment, or saw that image? Everything you post reflects on your personal brand.
You are only as fabulous as the image you portray so make sure you are branded positively and professionally.
Rule of Thumb: When in Doubt, Leave It Out!