The power of personal branding
Personal branding is your image combined with your reputation curated over a period of time. It takes a few years to build your image and a moment or one misconduct to lose it all. Why should you be protecting your image? Because it's like planting a tree, watering and fertilising it and then cutting it from the trunk with an axe. Sounds scary and unfair? But it's true. It takes time and patience to build a good social and professional image.
Social Media: Your social media profile makes a very big impact. You should handle your social media account keeping only one thing in mind - how you would want others to perceive you. Professionally, you need to build credibility, approachability, likability and trustworthiness. If you want your image to be credible and professional, then you should avoid posting emotional/personal feelings on social media. Your social opinions regarding current affairs is, of course, acceptable. But keep personal life private unless it's a life-changing affair, like marriage or engagement.
If you are an entrepreneur or a business professional, you should spend more time on a platform like LinkedIn or Twitter than Instagram or SnapChat. Trust me, people Google you before considering you for a position. Also, for an adult business professional, I would suggest against changing display pictures frequently or posting funny selfies. That is, if you want to build your personal branding as a credible professional or an entrepreneur. If you are above 18, avoid it.
Dating app: Beware of being on a dating app - some do not keep your profile private. It's not bad to be on a dating app, but just in case your client or colleague may bump into you through a dating app, there shouldn't be any awkwardness. Keep your profile clean and sophisticated. Do not interact with or swipe right on anyone you are professionally related to.
Social/Business Image: It's important to walk the talk, it's one thing to talk about compassion, kindness or great etiquette, it's another to practise it yourself. Your actions speak louder than words building your image. Ethics, values and principles shouldn't just be good words in your vocabulary. Practising it would build you a very strong and trustworthy personal brand.
Dressing: It's also important to dress in an appropriate manner at every situation, social or business. Decide on a style, considering your profession and lifestyle, and then try to stick to it. I am not saying wear a three-piece suit or a ballgown always, but if your professional image requires you to be classic or elegant, then you should have a dash of it even in your social attire or when you dress casually. You can't be seen in Level 1 business attire one day and tore jeans with slippers another afternoon just because you are out for brunch. Consistency in dressing is an extension of your personal brand.