the most common personal branding mistakes
(and how to avoid them!)
Okay party people, I am FIRED UP today so buckle your cute buns in and get ready to talk about some personal branding mistakes.
Most days I wish I could grab the branding industry by its annoying, corporate collar and just give it a good, old-fashioned, wtf-have-you-done shake. It’s all become so frustratingly convoluted, hasn’t it? What a brand even is, why the hell having one even matters, finding the fickle line between being strategic and being authentic.
True brand clarity work is never easy, but it is really simple – especially once you understand what not to do. Below I’ll walk you through the five most common personal branding mistakes I see everywhere, all the time so you can avoid them!
Personal Branding Mistake 1:
You don’t make it painfully obvious who you help and how you help them.
It’s important to be unique so you can stand out, but if someone stumbles across your shiny new website or curated Instagram feed or expensive Facebook ad and it isn’t clear that they’re the one you can help, they will absolutely keep scrolling. So yes – show your unique self! Let your personality shine through online! Be creative and original! But first, make sure the people you’re talking to know, without a doubt, that you’re talking to them.
For example: your website header and Instagram bio are decidedly NOT the place to be cute or cliché.
“Heart-centered strategies for soulful entrepreneurs” is cute, but that doesn’t tell us anything about what you do and who you do it for? What kind of strategies? What exactly does heart-centered mean? How do we know if we’re soulful entrepreneurs?!
“Visual storyteller for adventurous couples in love” is cute, but what exactly does that mean? What is visual storytelling? Are you a videographer? Do you illustrate books for couples to give each other as gifts? Do you paint portraits of people outdoors on their 50th wedding anniversary?
Get specific first, and cute later.
Personal Branding Mistake 2:
You make your personal brand too much about you.
Okay wait – what? Isn’t a personal brand about, you know… the person? This one is kind of a curve ball because you’ve definitely heard me go on and on about how your brand has to start with you. But at the end of the day, our brands are built by us, for our clients and customers.
Your community doesn’t follow you because they’re interested in you, not really. They follow you because of what your knowledge, wisdom, and experiences mean for them. It’s just human nature! So if you want to build an effective brand, you gotta make sure you’re including your ideal client’s wants, needs, values, and beliefs within the scope of your brand strategy.
A good litmus test for this mistake is to read through the about page on your website – if it’s more about you than it is about what you can do for your clients, that’s an indicator you’re making your brand too much about you.
Personal Branding Mistake 3:
You’re inconsistent with your marketing.
Marketing burnout is a very real thing, and honestly I think we can all get behind logging the hell off Instagram once in a while (or, not to be dramatic, but like maybe even forever?!). But it’s essential to be consistent online because consistency builds trust.
The more your audience knows what to expect from you, the faster you’ll build a genuine relationship with them. You don’t have to be marketing 24/7/365, but if your audience is on Instagram? Try to show your face on Stories every day. If your community is in your email list? Send them a note every week. If your blog gets a lot of traffic? Publish new posts on a set schedule.
Set the precedent for the value your audience will experience while they’re in your space, and you’ll have a much easier time getting a hell yes when it’s time to ask for the sale!
And speaking of selling…
Personal Branding Mistake 4:
All you talk about in your marketing is what you have for sale.
Disclaimer: I am absolutely not saying selling is bad, or that you shouldn’t do it. Selling is GOOD because it means your business is making INCOME and income means PROFIT and profit means we can RE-INVEST into ourselves, which allows us to serve MORE people, and serve them BETTER. Like my girl Kendrick Shope always says – selling is helping!
But if all you’re talking about in your marketing is the quality of your products, how people can book an appointment, a nice client you worked with yesterday…. I promise your community is B-O-R-E-D, . We want more. We want to see you as a person, not just a business. We want to be educated and inspired and entertained! DELIGHT US! Give the people what they want!!
Tell us why you started your business, share your polarizing opinions, talk about what you love doing on Sunday mornings, be open about your hopes and dreams and fears so we can find common ground. We want to connect with you before we book an appointment with you – ya dig?
Personal Branding Mistake 5:
Your brand isn’t based on strategy.
Of all the personal branding mistakes, this one is the biggest. Branding feels overwhelming because how the hell are you supposed to take allll the complicated nuances about your past and your business and your wisdom and your personality and your goals and funnel them all down into one simple, cohesive brand?!
I see it happen all the time with entrepreneurs: they try to be specific by branding themselves with specific elements… but without a methodology to determine what those specific elements should be.
“Well I love the ocean, so I’m going to use stock photos of water on my website. My favorite color is purple, so I’m going to make my logo purple. I’ve always wanted to travel to Europe, so I’m going to make a whole highlight section for Europe mood boards in my Instagram bio.”
Instead of refining their personal brand in an intentional way, they just snatch random quirks about their personality and smash them all together. But that’s confusing. It’s confusing to you because you’re not starting with a foundation you can build on, and it’s confusing to your potential clients because they don’t understand what you’re all about or what it means for them.
And since you made it all the way through this post, I’ll let you in on a little personal branding secret: the trick to funneling down all of your complicated nuances is to figure out which parts of yourself will benefit your clients, and build your brand on those.