I had a strange dream last night but one that in analysis made me think about communication, social media and branding. In short, I woke up asking myself if social media has made us all brand managers?
Social media has now put us in a world where our every word, action, thought and deed is being scrutinised. In years gone by this same social assessment would take place but it would be from those we physically came into contact with. Our digital personality is now something open for the world to review and assess.
The photographs we use of ourselves, the way we describe ourselves, the images we share, the comments we like or retweet and the comments we make are all being used by many people to gain an impression of us. There is a lot of social psychology work to show that people have cognitive bias and that they are not aware of this when they are forming impressions of you.
So, if that is the case are we all now ‘brand managers’ who are responsible for the way we are viewed as an individual brand?
Employers will trawl the online footprint that you have and use this to create an impression of what you are like. This means if you want to be a brand for reliability, honest and professionalism you need to demonstrate that in your social media posts. This is why young people are continually told to be careful what they post because they are not bound by the responsibilities that most of us have and are much more carefree about life.
Whenever I post anything people will read it and either use it to reinforce the views they already have about me or to decide whether I am someone worthy of their attention. They will form a view – am I helpful, knowledgeable, opinionated, out of touch? My words and images will help them decide.
This makes it even more important for us all to take a step back and look at what we are doing and what it says about us. In the same way that brand managers will assess the reputation of the brand they are working for, so do we for ourselves. Perhaps the time is right for you to take stock of your online presence and what it says about you.