How to Fix Bad Branding

Pageant Prep

Being a titleholder comes with many responsibilities, but perhaps the most important is maintaining your presence with a strong brand as a public figure. Public figures can easily fade into the background unless they are actively marketing themselves to the community and taking hold of their personal brand. It’s easy to fall into some bad branding habits that could seriously impact your ability to connect with appearances, gain sponsors, and potentially impact your interview strength. But, it’s even easier to fix these three mistakes!

  1. Phantom Pages
    • Bad Branding: Last year you were Miss Local County, and had a Facebook page to share pictures and updates. This year you are Miss Regional. You make a new page, but instead of naming it after your new title you name it after your name. 2 points! But what happens to your Miss Local County Page? It fades away but never goes away. It is social media litter.
    • How to Fix It: First, recruit your followers to your new page. Make a post on the old page, and tag the new one. Another great tip is to change your old page’s default picture or cover photo to a graphic that has the name of your new page. Finally, invite your friends to like and share your page. If possible, share your page to your pageant’s local org page or group.
    • Delete your Phantom Pages:Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 9.03.39 PM
  2. Miscellaneous Pictures
    • Bad Branding: Every weekend you are at an event. You are constantly serving the community, visiting schools, and speaking with politicians. And you never forget to take a picture to document the occasion. But when you post it on Facebook, every picture winds up in the Timeline Pictures album. This makes it impossible to sort out photos based on the event. The community may not know what the picture is from, or the event hosts may not be able to find the photos as easily to use on their marketing tools. The pictures are no better than they’d be in a box in the closet.
    • How to Fix it: Go into your page’s “timeline photos” or “mobile uploads”. One by one, open a photo and assign it to a designated album.
    • Moving Pictures into Albums:Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 9.16.11 PM
  3. Inconsistent Handles
    • Bad Branding:
    • How To Fix It: Changing your Twitter and Instagram handles is incredibly easy. Choose a handle that you want to use for all of your accounts. Before changing one account, check the availability on all sources.
    • Changing Your Twitter Handle: Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.43.08 PM

Having a flawless personal brand isn’t easy, but fixing these three mistakes will improve it by leaps and bounds. The importance of a strong social media presence is often the tipping point in the interview room, can impact your stage presence, and ensures you are fulfilling the job you were hired for.

Bad Branding on Social Media

Pageant Lifestyle

The only thing worse than ignoring social media as a branding tool is using social media incorrectly. Put frankly: if you aren’t going to do it right, don’t do it at all. Sometime’s bad branding can be worse for a public figure status than not using it at all.

There are plenty of tips out there to strengthen your social media presence, but what types of things should you avoid? There are three important points to focus on when looking at bad branding: Posts, Picture, and Followers.


  • Edit and Revise
  • Positivity
  • Quantity Control

The conversations and interactions you have with people at appearances are, by far, the most important interactions you can make as a titleholder. But for those who aren’t at your events, your posts are the only way they can keep track with your reign. As a contestant you made promises to the public, and your posts hold you accountable.

As a public figure it is vital that you post with intention. Every post should not only have a purpose, but be written well. Double check for spelling and grammar errors, make sure you tag any organization you work with, and make sure that the information is correct and gets the point across. You aren’t expected to have a great day every day, but don’t use your page as an outlet for rants. Do not, ever ever ever, negatively discuss a sponsor or partner, director or volunteer, or sister queen– even if they “deserve it”. You do not want to burn those bridges. You also don’t want to drown your viewers with posts. By making sure each post is purposeful and intentional it will help to limit fluff posts. If you plan on posting more than once in a day, space them out. Don’t spam your viewers with posts. On the flip side, you never want to go without posting. Even if you post the occasional fluff post, your audience will lose interest. Set up a schedule with relevant articles to fill in gaps between appearances, and keep your audience engaged.


  • Selfies
  • Food/Fitness
  • Blurry Pictures

Whether or not you use Instagram, pictures are an important part of social media branding. It shows your viewers exactly what you are doing in the community. Whether it is service based, event based, platform based, or preparations; you are a public figure, and people want to see you in action.

A picture is worth a thousand words, but it’s important to make sure you are in charge of those words! You want to make sure the quality stands up to the quality of your brand. A selfie may be cute, but does it represent who you are as a person or titleholder, or does it uphold the quality the organization or region you are representing? Often times a restaurant or gym will sponsor a titleholder, and although it is important to shout them out (with pictures), posting daily photos of your food or fitness endeavors may put unintended attention on your lifestyle. That is not the goal of a titleholder. Always make sure the picture is a good quality photo. You never know where it may end up- on a website, in a newspaper. Your main goal is promoting your business. It may seem like common sense, but first and foremost your public figure page is promoting the organization.


  • Follow for Follow.
  • “Please follow back”
  • Buying Followers.

A sign of a strong social media presence is the number of followers or likes, as well as the interactions with posts. The number of people in your network is often a sign of your notoriety, and can be used to secure sponsors. It may be tempting to use various techniques to gain followers, but they will only ruin your credibility as a public figure.

Asking for a “follow” or “followback” is, simply put, lame. Using the hashtag #follow4follow or #f4f will invite an abundance of users to come follow, expecting a followback. But these users are not in your target market. They aren’t in your region. They aren’t interested in your reign or platform. They are interested in their follower count. They will probably unfollow you in a few days anyway so their followers count exceeds their following count. Asking a person to follow is desperate, and shows a lack of interest in genuine interactions. If you want more followers, invite people to follow through your actions. Like your sister queens’ photos, even those in other states. Comment on posts about your platform, those made by sponsors or local civic organizations. Make them want to follow you.

Facebook has been cracking down on fake accounts, so not only are you risking losing your credibility as a public figure by buying these fake followers, but there’s a high chance that Facebook will delete them anyway. Not to mention, the number of your followers is not nearly as important as who those followers are. Fake followers to not interact with posts- no likes, comments, or shares. This means your posts are essentially useless, because no one is actually seeing them.


Social media is so important for personal branding as a public figure, wether or not you’re a titleholder. Just be sure to follow all the great tips out there, and avoid the things that could diminish your value.  What other things do you think Public Figures should avoid doing on social media?


Miss New York Title “Trends”

Pageant Lifestyle

Have you ever noticed at certain titles come and go at Miss New York? For a few years a title will consistently make the finals, then suddenly it gone. Or, on the contrary, a title will be a non-finalist for many years before suddenly taking home the state crown.

In most cases, the words on a titleholder’s sash makes zero impact on their performance or ability to do well at the state pageant. Last year at Miss America, Kira Kazantsev knew that the chance of New York winning three consecutive years was slim to none. She could have thrown in the towel before ever going to Atlantic City, and accepted the idea that a new state would take the crown. But she didn’t. Instead, she truly believed that the best girl would win regardless of the state on her title. And she won.

However, there are people who believe certain titles have an advantage. Not because of the words on the sash, but because of the perks they receive with that local title. Established locals may have a strong prep team, and be able to prepare their girl each year based on the feedback and performance of the previous winners. They have a network of sponsors that help prepare the girl.

In the end, the judges are going to choose the winner based on her performance, not her title. Just the same, it is interesting to follow the trends throughout the years and see which titles have consistently done well. Superstition aside, numbers don’t lie.

Five Years of Top Five


  1. City of New York (NYC)
  2. Finger Lakes
  3. Staten Island
  4. Southern Tier
  5. Empire Rose


  1. Syracuse
  2. Manhattan
  3. New York City
  4. Empire Rose
  5. Five Boroughs


  1. New York City
  2. Manhattan
  3. Greater Rochester
  4. Brooklyn
  5. Niagara


  1. Southern New York
  2. Manhattan
  3. New York City
  4. Buffalo
  5. Southeast New York


  1. Southeast New York
  2. Brooklyn
  3. Manhattan
  4. Staten Island
  5. Jubilee

Bold indicates a 2015 titleholder. Italics indicates a sweeper title.

Luckiest Titles:

  • New York City
    • Top 5 for 4/5 years
    • Winner 2/5 years
    • Miss America winner 2/5 years
  • Southeast New York
    • Top 5 for 2/5 years
    • Winner 1/5 year
  • Manhattan
    • Top 5 for 4/5 years
  • Staten Island
    • Top 5 for 2/5 years
  • Empire Rose
    • Top 5 for 2/5 years

Do you believe a strong title can impact a contestant’s chance at Miss New York? Comment below with your thoughts!

Titleholder Branding- Strengthening Social Media

Pageant Lifestyle, Pageant Prep

Sally Smith and Samantha Doe are two current (hypothetical) local titleholders competing for a state title. Both of these titleholders are active in their use of social media, but neither have very strong titleholder branding. Although fancy “branding” with personal fonts and a custom color scheme and logo are not necessary, it is important for titleholders to strengthen their use of social media as they transition from social use and public figure use.

Lets explore…