It’s happening, and more common than anyone wants to admit. As the concept and importance of personal branding, social media, and an online presence becomes more commonplace, companies are becoming more interested in their employees’ personal brands. Their concerns are legitimate. Here’s why. . .
- Risk. Legal risk, or even perceived risk for the company and its own brand. These are just two things that concerns bosses, executives, and your company’s legal team.
- Ignorance. Companies are scared and ignorant as to how the concept of an employee’s own personal brand can help elevate or benefit the company’s own brand.
- Fear. Similar to ignorance, companies are scared. Maybe they or a company they know has been burned before. Unfortunately, companies react and create policies, protocol, and procedures based on past experiences and perceived risk.
While companies and the courts look to find a common ground in the world of social media, personal branding, and the concept of microcelebrity, here are some things you can do to ensure your own personal brand doesn’t outshine your employer’s brand.
- Have a Plan. Know your strategy and how you plan on going about developing your brand. What is your goal and what does your brand look like? This will help you clearly define yourself and allow you to articulate just who you are. Because as your personal brand grows, people take note, and articulating it clearly is half the battle.
- Be Upfront. With yourself, your audience, and possibly your current employer. Research your company’s communications, social media, and electronic policies prior to developing your personal branding strategy. Keep copies of these documents and policies for yourself to reference just in case.
- Get It In Writing. If and when you do come clean with your employer (and I believe you should), get written evidence the meeting and discussion actually occurred. This could be in the form of an email recap or signed statement. I also recommend that you put your own thoughts onto paper and write a statement that outlines what took place in the discussion. You are able to reference the document, the date, and what your conversation included just in case.
- Sell Yourself. Sell yourself and how your brand can help, not hurt, the company you work for. Find ways to work together and be an advocate for them. Demonstrate your value and align yourself within the organization as someone who can assist and highlight the company’s brand. Develop relationships with PR and Marketing so their expertise and influence can work in your favor.
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Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is known as @Blogging4Jobs on Twitter, is a published author of “Tweet This! Twitter for Business” and is a leading HR blogger and new media strategist. Jessica is a subject matter expert and provides insights in the areas of HR, recruiting, and new media consultancy with her company, Xceptional HR. Her newest project is Texting4Jobs, a text based job board platform recently launched in Oklahoma.