There is no one in the whole world like you. That’s not a some kind of hippie pep talk, it’s just a fact. You’re one of a kind.

Animation of the structure of a section of DNA...

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When you’ve got something to sell, that personality is one of your best assets. Your unique voice and interests and the little quirks that make you YOU are also the things that will attract people to you and make them like you. And the more they like you, the more likely they are to share and, most importantly, buy your stuff.

In business, this personality is usually called a brand which I like to think of as your company’s personality. This may seem obvious of you’re an author or artist working under your own name but it applies just as much to someone running a business or webstore under a company name. Companies can have personalities just as much as people do and, especially when it’s a small company, it’s only natural that your personality will bleed through into your brand.

That’s one of the most frequently repeated bits of advice when it comes to social networking: be yourself. The idea is that your unique perspective on the world will shine through and attract followers and fans to you. But it also means, relax! It’s easy to over-think this whole marketing and social networking stuff so, when you start to get overwhelmed, just remember to take a deep breath and just do what comes naturally.

Er, to a point. There’s a reason I called this section “be your LIKABLE self.” We’ve all got ugly sides and the internet is not the best place for the “warts and all” approach. You’re here to sell something and attract people to you and that can mean holding back some of the less than desirable aspects of your personality. That might mean suppressing raw emotions like lashing out in anger at others, not sharing unpopular opinions or stopping yourself from airing your personal business. Before you post something consider, how will this look to potential buyers and fans? If the response won’t be favorable, it’s almost always better not to post it.

This doesn’t mean wantonly lying, censoring, or hiding who you really are. It just means being the best possible version of yourself online. Think of it as the different between you at home and you at a job interview. Your potential customers are always interviewing you to decide if they will purchase from you again and you don’t want to lose their business because of an ill-considered comment.