I often see professionals, graduates seeking for job and small business owners use a Facebook account that reflects their business name, and then use their personal Twitter account, which is not the same as on their website — exactly what you want to avoid.
Personal branding is a very broad subject, for the sake of simplicity, I will only focus on consistency in personal branding or to be more specific; consistency between real names and online usernames. After all, the first step we all have to take in the journey to creating an online presence is usernames. As a takeaway, you will learn rather simple but effective changes that can make huge impact on your overall personal brand.
As an ambassador for personal branding, you would think I practise everything I preach. For someone who understands the principle of consistency, it’s a shame to say that even I struggle with certain things. For instance, up until seven days ago — yes few hours before I wrote this post. I had different usernames and accompanying urls for Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram and Facebook, which is not only a mess but defy the rule of consistency in personal branding.
Although my profile picture is consistent and professional, the usernames were not. This makes it difficult for people to find and identify me in the digital space, and it’s not that I didn't understand the effect, but it was hard for me to dispose my beloved @growingsimba username, it had a special meaning to me. However, the reality is, my first name is not ‘Growing’ and my last name is definitely not ‘Simba’.
So I finally got around to changing all my usernames and url to one single entity: Kay Akinwunmi — And yes, it was a battle making the switch but there comes a point where you have to choose between professionalism and sentiments. This time I chose to be a professional. I chose to be consistent.
Eh, so I hear you say, why should I care?
Don’t be so hasty! you didn't think I would create a post just to ramble about me changing my username, did you?
Why should I care? You ask.
Well, most people — including myself — are guilty of this crime: we register a domain name for our blog or website and create a completely different name for Facebook and Twitter. Few months down the line, we create an Instagram account that takes a different naming convention. Lack of consistency at its very core.
“What’s the most powerful marketing tool these days to build your brand? It’s consistency — Susan Gilbert
Here are five reasons why you should embrace consistency in your personal brand:
- First and foremost, it keeps things simple for your online followers. They aren’t trying to remember which name belongs to you on what network. That’s just downright confusing.
- Unless you are a wacky kind of person. You should care because when you meet people in real life, you don’t introduce yourself as “Hi, my name is @Giggling-monkey” or “Hey, I’m @Kissesforeverxx89" or in my case, I've never introduced myself as “Hi, my name is @growingsimba” So why create such a depiction of yourself in the digital space? Keep it simple. Keep it relevant.
- Believe it or not, the first thing most potential customers and employers do these days before they actually meet you in person, is to find out as much as they can about you online. A simple Google search on your name will bring out your entire history — well, maybe not entirely but you get the gist. Create usernames that convey professionalism and make it easier for clients and potential employers to identify you.
- It makes the links easy for YOU to remember. Chances are, you’re going to want to share the links with others, and it will make things simpler for you to do so.
- Consistency in profile picture conveys authenticity.
There are extensive lists of reasons why you should care about your personal brand and consistency but I am not going to list them all here.
I guess now you are probably thinking, okay, so where is the takeaway you promised or where do I start from?
Where do I start from?
Here are small steps that has made huge impact on my personal brand and professional presence. The best and easiest place to start is to be consistent with your full name, profile picture, personal description, job title, username and url on ALL social media accounts, business cards, email signature and everything else that visually represents you. It’s that simple.
A magical tool
Try this magical tool called NameChk to see if your desired username or vanity url is still available at dozens of popular Social Networking and Social Bookmarking websites. Promote your brand consistently by registering a username that is still available on the majority of the most popular sites.
You can’t perfect your brand in a day.
It takes time — especially if you have so many social media accounts — and requires patience. However, it will be totally worth it. By completing these simple tasks on all your social media accounts, updating your email signature and author bios wherever possible, you would have succeeded in using the most power marketing tool — consistency — to create a professional online presence.
The key is to just start from somewhere. And I can assure you that having consistency in your brand name is not just the best way to start, it is the easiest way to convey professionalism to your target audience and win their trust.
Of course there are more to creating a personal brand but like I already said this is a great starting point.
In conclusion, I’ll leave you with this tweetable quote:
“Whatever personal branding tool or method you use. Be consistent. — @kayakinwunmi
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If you enjoy this article, you will also enjoy “Sorry. No One Cares About Your Job Title”
I am @kayakinwunmi on Twitter. I’d love to hear from you.