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Building a Personal Brand Online with Karthik Srinivasan

Key takeaways from the THC Meetup on building a personal brand online

Building a Personal Brand Karthik

Important Note: This session was not about creating influencers – it was to encourage regular people to get into a posting habit that would ultimately benefit their professional lives.

Why do I need a personal brand?
I’m an introvert – is there any way for me to build a personal brand?
Does building a personal brand mean I am not authentic?

Karthik Srinivasan gets asked these questions a lot and they were also amongst the top questions from our audience. Here are his answers:

Your personal brand is the perception that your target audience has of you and it is important to take control and shape that narrative. Otherwise, you are not only ignoring the power of your network, you are leaving it to external forces to shape that perception.

Think of yourself as a house with many windows.  For close family and friends, all the windows are open – they know all about you.  For others however, you can choose which windows to open and that controlled glimpse that you allow them will shape their opinion of you.

Your personal brand must be authentic, there is no way to live a lie all of the time. Having said that, you need to go through a thoughtful process to decide what to post about.

Is there a process one should follow while building a personal brand?
What if I am a generalist, and don’t have anything specific to talk about?

It is much easier to build a personal brand, when you consistently post about a few things. If your posts are all over the place, it is hard for your audience to get a handle on you and your capabilities.

Kartik says he ‘wasted’ a few years posting general stuff before he stopped to ask himself what he was getting out of this time and effort. He recommends you do the same.

  • Ask yourself what you want from the investment of time and energy you are making to post online
  • Then use that answer to identify relevant topics, that you are interested in and are relevant for your personal brand
  • Research those topics so you can post an interesting point of view on them
  • Draft, check, sleep on it and then post – do not post in a hurry. For each post Kartik asks himself “Do I need to post this?” Remember you are not speaking to people you know, you are speaking to strangers.
How do I measure my personal branding efforts?

Kartik’s advice is to not focus on the instant engagement you get in terms of likes, shares and comments. Instead, a better metric to track over time is to see how many people read your post. On LinkedIn and Twitter, this can be judged on the basis of impressions. If you focus on vanity metrics like shares, you will try and game the algorithm and the quality of your posts will fall.

Building a personal brand is a long term game. Think of a situation when you are applying for a job or a gig or a speaker position – chances are high that decision makers will come and check out your posts. What will they see? That should be your most important consideration.

If I am a founder, should my brand be different form that of my business? Do I have to build both on social media?

Unfortunately, yes, you need to build both brands, even though there will be overlaps. Your personal brand must go beyond your business – you cannot be a company brochure.

Should I have a personal website?

If you are spending a lot of time and energy on your posts, then it is good to ’own’ that data and have it all in one place. Platforms can change their algorithms at any time.

How do you handle it when people take offence at that you say?
How do you maintain mental health when you are required to be ‘out there’ constantly?

Karthik advocates being gracious when you post – even if you are posting a criticism. There is a lot of difference between saying “this product sucks” versus “I was disappointed with this product.”

There will be people who are offended by what you say – that is not in your control. Instead, when someone posts a nasty comment, ask yourself who that person is and what role they play in your life. Know that social media storms are usually fleeting and try and move on.

About Karthik

Karthik is a very popular voice in the field of branding. From incisive commentary on current trends, to workshops on personal branding for the most influential companies in the country, he is known for his no-nonsense and impactful approach to communication.

He’s also written a book on building a personal brand online called Be Social.

You can follow him on TwitterLinked In or Instagram.

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