This week, Carlos Gil stopped by #bufferchat to share his insights about personal branding on social media. The community discussed why cultivating a personal brand is important, what authenticity looks like, how to overcome challenges when it comes to managing a personal brand, and much more!

Catch our weekly Twitter chat, #bufferchat, every week on Wednesdays, 9 am PT/Noon ET/5 pm UTC, for valuable industry insights and networking with nearly 400 other smart marketers and community managers. It’s a fun time!

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What does “personal brand” mean for you?

From Carlos:

  • Your “personal brand” is your identity, it’s you, and how you’re viewed by others.
  • Personal brand goes beyond your name & what you do, it’s your mission, objective, value proposition.
  • Your personal brand is your digital footprint. Google yourself, the results are who you are.

From the community:

  • “What is the most original, best, and amazing version of yourself? That is your .” @lafitara
  • “Personal brand” is just marketing-speak for reputation. It’s what you’re known for, and how likable you’ve made yourself.” @Lauchlin
  • “Personal brand is the aggregate of all your actions, online and/or off. It’s defined by others’ perception.” @martinlieberman

See all the great answers to question 1 here!

Is it important to have a personal brand? Why or why not?

From Carlos:

  • Yes, your “personal brand” is what prospective employers and clients compare you against.
  • Those who invest in building their personal brand by networking are more likely to be found.
  • Your personal brand doesn’t just live online, it’s who you are 24/7 and in your community too.
  • Earlier this year when I was looking for work, having a visible presence on YouTube, Twitter, & online helped me stand out.
  • I landed a job at LinkedIn by taking a risk and documenting my job search which helped me stand out
  • Example of personal branding when looking for work:
  • When you’re hired today, employers are looking you up on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn. Same goes for potential clients.

From the community:

  • “You have a personal brand whether you know it or not. The real question is are you actively managing it?” @RyanRhoten
  • “It’s no longer IF you have a personal brand. It’s how you choose to cultivate it or let it be cultivated on your behalf.” @danielleirogers
  • “dmittedly, a personal brand helps your voice cut through the noise. ‘Oh, I like and trust what this person will say.'” @AnnDiab
  • “Yes it’s important.. it defines WHO YOU ARE. without a personal brand you’re just a grain of sand in an ever expanding beach.” @socialeyze

See all the great answers to question 2 here!

How can you discover and define your brand voice?

From Carlos:

  • Ask yourself: Who are you, what do you want to accomplish, what value do you bring? Have an endgame.
  • If you’re looking to become influential within your industry you need to be viewed as a voice and “thought leader”.
  • Networking within your industry online and off. Going to conferences. Blogging. Twitter chats. Creating YouTube videos.
  • Just be yourself. Don’t try to emulate or copy what someone else is doing, that will never work.
  • When I founded it was all about trying to connect employers w/ job seekers. My brand evolved from my mission.
  • Most important, HELP others be successful w/o expectation of anything in return. You can’t go wrong.

From the community:

  • “If you’re thinking super hard about your voice, you might be inauthentic. Realness is the bedrock.” @ChristinKardos
  • “Clarify what your core values are. Define what you are and what you are not. Be consistently yourself.” @WeintraubL
  • “1st step is introspective thought. Identify your strengths and voice, then go forth and communicate. Listen to feedback.” @EliteYouTubePro

See all the great answers to question 3 here!

How can you tell when a personal brand is truly authentic on social media?

From Carlos:

  • A great philosopher by the name of Jay Z once said: “Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.”
  • Google someone’s name, search on LinkedIn, track their digital footprint. That is how you know if someone is real.
  • You can’t fake success. It will eventually catch up to you if you try & “fake it until you make it”.
  • I personally look for what I call “documented success” when determining if someone is legit or not.
  • Don’t be fooled by vanity metrics, go beyond numbers. It’s not easy but that’s why research and references matter.
  • If I tweet at you, email, or send an InMail and you don’t reply that tells me about your character.

From the community:

  • “Automation ruins authenticity – automated DMs, 100 posts a day (you did not read all those articles), no original commentary.” @JessChild15
  • “If someone balances “broadcast” with “engagement” evenly, I’m all in. Blatant automation is a bad sign.” @dswebsme
  • “I have SO much respect for people who show flaws and change their mind about things over time. Mistakes are ok.” @alexandermania

See all the great answers to question 4 here!

What’s a big challenge for maintaining a personal brand and how do you work through it?

From Carlos:

  • You have to be consistent. Engage. Listen to others. Offer lots of value. It takes time and effort.
  • Knowing your audience is important. Think of yourself as always being “on stage” speaking to 1,000’s.
  • I leave my political, religious, and personal views out of sight and offline.
  • Ask my wife , I value my social network (and each person in it) like if they are a BFF or in person contact.
  • Don’t turn down meetings. Always be willing to go outside of your comfort zone to meet others and expand your network.
  • It’s all about who knows YOU, not the other way around.
  • BTW, I don’t have a website or a blog yet I’ve built my personal brand since 2008 using etc.

From the community:

  • “Well, interests change as you advance in life & career. Your brand just need to evolve with you to keep it up.” @sabcruzb
  • “The hardest challenge is comparing your brand to others.” @sola_eclipses
  • “I think maintaining the thought leadership portion of a personal brand is tough. It takes dedication.” @hailleymari

See all the great answers to question 5 here!

Who’s personal brand do you admire, and why?

From Carlos:

From the community:

  • “I admire SO MUCH! He is the EXACT same person IRL as he is online + that person rocks!” @KohleenL
  • “I admire Tim Ferriss (), he’s an experimenter & expert but doesn’t stray from being human and funny.” @johnsies
  • “I admire ‘s personal brand because she’s consistent, positive, helpful, strong, elegant, and poised.” @WeintraubL
  • “S/o to + for exemplifying personal brands that are more subtle but intensely smart and valuable.” @ChristinKardos

See all the great answers to question 6 here!

How would you describe YOUR personal brand? 🙂

From Carlos:

  • I’m a Chief Connection Officer 🙂
  • Like a walking LinkedIn, I’m always looking for ways to connect people in my network with each other and opportunity.
  • Having spent nearly a decade now working in both corporate marketing and on my own, I share my knowledge with my network.
  • Also, I’m transparent. If you follow me across social you’ll notice that I’m not one dimensional. I’m human & let people in.

From the community:

  • “I am strong, entertaining, helpful, and un-apologetically honest while while still being kind.” @MaureenOnPoint
  • “I’m hoping that it’s radiating sunshine and positivity, and that my hope to empower and encourage others comes through!” @stephe_lee
  • “I am a guy with many passions trying to turn them into stories on my for others. I also try to be funny.” @WhatJeffTweets
  • “I’m a fitness fanatic, inspirational hopeful, motivator of healthy lifestyle AND a social media profession. Boom.” @lafitara
  • “A geeky storyteller, teeming with excitement & energy. I’m Batman. Nuff said. ;)” @mehulgohil

See all the great answers to question 7 here!

Thank you so much to Carlos and to everyone who participated in this great chat!

Catch #bufferchat each Wednesday at 9 am Pacific/noon Eastern. Join our brand-new Slack community to continue these awesome conversations all week long! Join 500+ people there!

Do you have any comments or answers to these questions? Leave your thoughts in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

Image sources: UnSplash

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Written by Arielle Tannenbaum

Community Strategist at Buffer. In addition to her love of community building, Arielle also loves vegetables, cooking, practicing yoga, meditating, living mindfully, and exploring the connections between health and happiness!