By Alexia Leachman, Founder of www.headtrash.co.uk

Social media, whether Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn encourages us to tell the world about our achievements, how we spent the weekend and the latest on our families and leisure activities.

It’s a great way of connecting with old friends and making new contacts in business (especially LinkedIn for the latter). It’s also a nice, unobtrusive way of getting our personal brand out there. But how do you that ensure you don’t overdo things ie that you don’t go too far in promoting what you’re up to the extent that others begin to ignore your posts or ‘unfriend’ you altogether? Or that you post content others may find offensive and get an angry barrage of online posts as a result?

How to keep your personal brand in check
Branding ourselves via social media involves a lot of self-negotiating and it’s certainly worth keeping the following in mind:

• It’s not a good idea to post something then attempt to remove it at a later stage. Chances are it’s already been spotted. Never post in haste, especially if you’re ‘worked up’ at the time – for whatever reason. How many times have you heard about individuals losing their job or goods brands being destroyed through things said in haste? Remember Gerald Ratner and his throwaway comments about his company’s ‘cheap jewellery’ in an interview (and that was in the days pre-social media!)?

• Photographs can be another minefield. Just make sure if you upload an image that it’s one you wouldn’t mind professional connections or colleagues seeing too.

• Don’t continually ask or expect others to comment on your posts or your blog without giving back. It smacks of ‘neediness’ not to mention self-centredness. And that means in terms of time too – continually uploading posts and looking for others to read them takes time away from them and they’ll begin to resent you for it after a while.

• It’s easy to get carried away with the amount of social media channels on the go today and if you do find yourself using more than one then try to keep your personal brand consistent – that way you become more identifiable. Sure we all have different sides to our personalities but there’s always a face we’d rather provide for public consumption – remember that all social media channels are public.

In the main social media can be excellent for personal branding purposes but it IS permanent and it IS universal. Use it to communicate as you would in everyday face-to-face encounters (courteously and produce posts others will find interesting or amusing) and you shouldn’t go too far wrong.

Alexia Leachman is a mojo-hunter and helps business leaders to find their mojo by helping them to clear their head trash, tell their story, raise their profile, build their digital presence and manage their reputation. Alexia is also the founder of www.headtrash.co.uk and she regularly speaks and writes, and has authored a chapter on Online Reputation for the book “Hit me! The Secrets of getting your small business to punch its weight online”. You can follow her on Twitter at @AlexiaL and find out more at www.alexialeachman.com