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How to Overcome Employees' Top 3 Personal Branding Mistakes

hatty_girl.jpg September 15, 2016 / Hanna Takala

According to Kredible Research’s 16 Employee Advocacy Statistics, 53 % of decision-makers have eliminated a vendor they have been considering, based on online information they did or did not find about an employee.

 

It is crucial to really consider what they see when they google your employees. Some of them may bump into some personal branding mistakes employees are doing. What are those top 3 personal branding mistakes and how do you overcome these blunders?

 

Mistake #1: Flock of parrots spewing corporate jargon

Talking shop. Most of us have done it during our careers. Professional lingo can give you confidence, sure, but it can easily produce insecurity among your audience. That insecurity might, in turn, lead to anxiety, which is hardly beneficial for generating those needed social media reactions or, even more importantly, sales.

A personal brand should represent the voice of the person in question. When I encourage you to build a valuable brand with Employee Advocacy, I warn you not to build an army of share-o-bots.

How to overcome this mistake

When pushing shareable links to your employee advocates, enrich those links with notes. Also, lose the jargon yourself.

To allow your employees authority, encourage them to always use their own words and be themselves. Do this by setting an example! Soften managers in particular; if they can lose the continuous selling and abstract communications, employees can too. Go through this together, and maybe you will achieve something good even beyond social media. To provide further motivation, try rewarding the best rewritten notes. Get the word out with Smarp’s Notes, for example.

 

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Mistake #2: Sporting an inauthentic personality

Nielsen’s studies show that consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family. But what if that friend has forgotten their personality and hides behind something false? Trust is gone. A personal brand only generates real value, when there is personality behind it.

An employee pretending to be someone they’re not isn’t just betraying your clients and audience, they are wasting their own time and energy. It is exhausting to be inauthentic, whether it is about trying to be a people-pleaser, or something else. Being fake is definitely a flaw to be rid of.

How to overcome this mistake

Every fascinating personal brand makes your organization’s brand stronger. Get to know them, so you can gently ask them “This isn’t really you, don’t you think”, if necessary.

Help them identify the best parts about their personalities, and do workshops and face-to-face training to harness those advantages. Coach them tenderly to write blog articles and shoot videos that really reflect on their personalities. Be interested in their goals and training needs. Inauthenticity might simply sprout from a lack of the right channel to express oneself through.


Mistake #3: Loose lips sinking ships

While half of companies probably haven’t suffered any incidents where an employee has violated an organizational social media policy, there are still those who might have undergone 1-5 cases in a year (Altimeter Group, 2012). Even one  might seriously impact your business, if it violates the trust of your clients and audience.

Severely unacceptable behavior includes for example:

  • offensive commenting (racist, sexist, etc.)
  • sharing confidential information
  • posting ill-advised content from work or work gatherings (drunk, mean-spirited, etc.) or
  • complaining about your job and broadcasting your job search.

Even if these things are isolated cases, they can easily get attention and spread like wildfire. They are things to clear up quickly and publicly.

How to overcome this mistake

There is really only one way to overcome this kind of mistake made by an employee advocate: Offering both an apology and a solution to the problem to your clients and audience. The solution to a public mistake should be public, as well, to set the business back on track.

You really want to do everything you can to prevent this kind of behavior. Note that prohibiting doesn’t really prevent anything, but gentle training and caring for your employees can have a huge impact. Treasure your employees and they won’t have an excuse to behave badly.


Take care of training and prevent all mistakes

Don’t just push your employees into a program and hope for the best. Coach them, so they will have their goals in place and the ability to be consistent. Teach them about the importance of engagement, and engage them yourself with surveys to find out their needs. Highlight that quality trumps quantity. Guide them through the content creation process and educate them to think before they act.

The Definitive Guide to Employee Advocacy

Hanna Takala
September 15, 2016

by Hanna Takala