Why is your LinkedIn profile not tricked out and why don’t you have a profile on Google +? Do you struggle with trying to balance what you THINK you should post vs. what you think other people want to see? If you are a woman there is a good chance you are great at connecting but shy away from personal self-promotion. It seems, well icky.

You are not alone. A recent study of social media use across genders revealed that men engage about 8% less than women but the data is skewed because Pinterest is so popular among women. So why are women connecting but not using digital tools and social media to self-promote?

Does this sound like you?

When I ask people why they don’t create social profiles and invest in building a personal brand their answers sound something like this:

  • I don’t know how
  • I don’t know why I need that
  • It’s not cool
  • It’s a fad I’ll wait for it to pass
  • I have a job
  • I’m too old
  • What if I do it wrong
  • What if people are mean to me
  • Don’t want certain people to find me
  • I don’t want to be judged
  • It feels icky – so promotional and I’m a person not a business.

I totally understand having all those feelings because I’ve experienced every single one of them at one time or another. But I’m going share with you one good reason to build a strong personal brand and leverage it both offline and online across multiple social platforms. If you don’t do this you will become irrelevant. You will be invisible. And for women isn’t being irrelevant and invisible the exact things we’ve been trying to avoid forever?

Let me tell you the story of a friend who came to me when she realized she might lose her job when her company being downsized in a few months. We sat across from each other at a local diner and I encouraged her to start updating her resume, create a LinkedIn profile and really get started on a personal branding program. A year later, at the age of 50something, she realized she needed to act fast but she was struggling so she asked me to help her complete her LinkedIn profile. She asked me which buttons to press?, did she really need a recent photo?, was this really the way to a job?. All fair questions for someone who doesn’t know or understand how LinkedIn works.

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But it was actually the fear she revealed, the same fear I see in almost all the comments listed above, that had held my friend back for the past year and kept her from taking the steps to build her brand. We all have to move past these fears and shame (as author and PhD Brene Brown would identify it) and embrace the tools and opportunities that await us as we consider our next career or personal life move.

If my friend doesn’t hurry up, she will miss out on potential opportunities. And since she will likely be working at least another 15 years if not more, what is she waiting for? What are you waiting for?

Most of us over the age of 35 fear ageism and seeming foolish and out of touch in an era of digital media-adept Millennials, but I truly believe it’s not about how hold you are it’s about how relevant you stay. And that is a choice. Your choice.

What do you think? Have you crafted a personal brand that you’d like to share? Send us an email or DM @TheBrandCounselors