Build Your Personal Brand Without Being a Narcissist

Whether you’re actively searching for a new job or simply engaging in networking to nurture your career, it’s important to build your personal brand by using various social media platforms to promote yourself. The key is doing so without becoming so much of a narcissist that you push people away.

Balance confidence with humility

It’s possible to meet the challenge of balancing the need for a “a little ‘healthy narcissism and confidence” as you promote yourself while still connecting with people in an authentic way, according to the Forbes Coaches Council. If you want to make genuine connections with others, be ready to practice “trust, compassion, and humility” when self-promoting.

Engagement is a two-way street

Remember that engagement is a two-way street – if you only self-promote in your posts, you’re losing valuable opportunities to interact with people, including prospective clients and employers. When you share posts written by others, be sure to offer a thoughtful comment from your own perspective. Take the time to comment on other people’s posts and congratulate them on their achievements when appropriate. Use your promotional posts to practice reflecting rather than boasting. Instead of broadcasting only awards and accolades, consider devoting some posts to explaining how you met a challenge or solved a problem, and ask for comments as a way to increase engagement.

Focus on value, not vanity metrics

Instead of focusing on vanity metrics like the number of followers or likes, think quality over quantity. Create thoughtful posts that provide real value for readers and focus on action-oriented engagement metrics like comments and shares. If you post consistently, you’ll build engagement and relationships with people and companies attracted by your personal brand. Remember that when you share about the things that truly interest you, not just content that might gain attention as measured by “likes,” you’re emphasizing the unique qualities of your personal brand.

Share your authentic self and unique story

You can stand out from the crowd by crafting “a powerful story of who you are,” according to personal branding expert Dorie Clark, author of Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future. The idea is to combine the elements of your background, experiences, skills, and relationships to tell a story of what gives you a particular perspective to offer or contribution to make, based on your expertise and what you’re known for. Clark says the ideal area of your recognized expertise is the intersection between what you’re good at, what you enjoy doing, and what people seem to need. By being yourself, you can set yourself apart from the crowd instead of blending in.

Build your brand during networking

Don’t limit your personal brand building activity to social media platforms. It’s important to spend time interacting with people in real life. Whether they’re in person or online, networking events offer you the chance to share your interests and expertise with others in real time, and spark those conversations that build relationships for mutual benefit. Personal connections can often provide you with an advantage, whether you’re seeking a new position or looking for new clients, so show up in person and let others see your personal brand in action.