How To Brand Yourself Online Without Sacrificing Privacy

How To Brand Yourself Online Without Sacrificing PrivacyUsing social media for personal branding is a powerful tool. It allows you to develop your online authority and trust – all while showing the “human” behind the brand. People want to connect with other people, which is why engaging in social media is such a fabulous personal branding tactic. But you may be thinking: Where do I draw the line between publicly sharing my life and maintaining my privacy?

Establish clear-cut boundaries on what you’ll post on social media

One of the best ways to maintain your privacy is to set up guidelines on what you’ll post and what you won’t post. Your guidelines don’t have to be fancy – just a list of scenarios that are off-limits for social media. For example, you may not want to post any check-ins that reveal where you live, where your kids go to school or the location of your favorite bar. Or, you may establish a guideline where you don’t post your kids’ names or their pictures.

The idea is to write down your guidelines to help cement them into your thinking. By having written guidelines, you’ll have the “guard rail” you need to post comfortably about certain aspects of your personal life.

Have your family weigh in on what you post

If you’re married, in a relationship and/or have kids (especially kids who use social media), it may be beneficial to speak with your loved ones about social media usage.  First, you may want to ask their opinion about being part of your social media posts. Are they comfortable with it? Would they feel like their privacy is invaded? Are there certain circumstances where it’s not okay to post about them?

For example, my boys are in middle school and are frequent Instagram users. I’ve agreed to not post their pictures on Instagram unless we’ve discussed it first. And they’ve agreed to do the same for me.

Getting your family’s opinion on their inclusion in your social media posts will help you establish those guidelines discussed earlier in this article, plus keep the peace at home. J

When in doubt, leave it outWhen in doubt, leave it out

If you’re waffling about whether or not to post something on social media, remember this rhyme: When in doubt, leave it out.

If you’re hesitating, it’s your gut telling you not to do it. This is especially true if you’re posting personal content. If it seems too revealing, if you think your loved ones would not approve, or if it doesn’t feel okay, then don’t post it.

It’s always better to err on the side of caution.

Reassess your comfort level after time

Many people who are uncomfortable about posting personal information on social media tend to “loosen up” after using social media more frequently. Conversely, some people go the other way – tightening and restricting what they post as they become more adept at social media.

Almost always, your opinion about what is appropriate for you to post on social media will change. Therefore, I recommend you reassess your comfort level periodically to see if you need to modify your guidelines or have another family discussion about social media usage. The key is to stay flexible!

Social media for personal branding doesn’t have to be a reality show of your life. By instituting smart, clear guidelines (preferably in writing), keeping your family informed and re-evaluating your comfort levels, you’ll find that engaging on social media is a fantastic way for people to get to know you. You can maintain your privacy and reveal information about yourself. Just know where one line ends and the other line begins. As you master social media, you’ll become more comfortable with posting personal information within your parameters – and have a richer social media experience as a result.


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8 thoughts on “How To Brand Yourself Online Without Sacrificing Privacy

  1. Pingback: What Is Online Personal Branding, Really? | Jill Celeste - Personal Branding Coach

  2. Katherine Kotaw

    Thank you so much for this incredibly helpful blog, Jill! I have a daughter who struggles with what to share/not share in social media. She is very much into real life connections so there is part of her soul that feels empty when she shares even just a picture of our dog, not because she doesn’t love having the cute picture up on her page, but because she feels like our dog is so special and so important that only those in her immediate very close real-life circles should get to know about someone so meaningful to her life. She is very protective of what is closest to her heart, even if it is personal rather than private. She fully knows the importance and value of engaging online and can rationally distinguish between what to post in order to reveal who she is without revealing anything private, but still struggles emotionally with this issue. Not because she has anything to hide (she is very open, confident and effervescent) but just because she finds real life connections so sacred and doesn’t want to take anything away from them. I think the idea of actually writing down boundaries of what to share and what not to share is a very good one because I think it can take away some of the anxiety if it’s all pre-thought out.

    1. Jill Celeste Post author

      Hi, Katherine: I have to agree – when you write the guidelines down, it helps to get the clarity one needs for private vs. open on social media. I hope it helps your daughter. She sounds lovely! =)

  3. Antonio Ethan Milian

    That’s a very interesting post. I think sometimes privacy settings can give people a false sense of security. They think that posting photos of their kids is safe because they share them only with ‘friends’ on Facebook. But then they have 300 ‘friends’ and don’t know many of them. The photos can be forwarded or just saved with a simple screen print and end up with complete strangers.

    Thanks for the advice!


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