First and foremost, if you have yet to join the social media world, what’s holding you back? Vanessa says it is important that you embrace social media because, “many times these pages are the first impressions people see of you. When someone meets you they oftentimes search Facebook or LinkedIn to learn more about you and of course, connect with you. Use these tools to your advantage by building your brand online. This helps when building your network and also when you're looking to get hired!”
Overall, social media offers you an inexpensive way to build your personal brand. A social media presence allows you to engage with peers, colleagues and the broader public both simultaneously and quickly. Even better, it allows you to learn from the ever changing social media sphere.
- Consistency. This is the most important factor in establishing a strong and effective personal brand via social media. Whether you have an Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn account, make sure that all your usernames and profile pictures are consistent throughout. All of my social media accounts display the same profile picture, name and username. By doing so, it makes it easier for users who are searching for you because it makes you easily recognizable! Another important note to keep in mind is that you must establish a theme for all your social media accounts. This requires you to think long and hard about one particular question, “What makes you different from everyone else on social media?” Once you have a well-developed answer to this question, it will make it much easier for you to establish yourself as thee person who knows everything and anything about a particular topic or topics. Vanessa says, “Make sure you are showcasing your expertise on social media. If you want to be known for the work you do as a Youth Program Manager, post articles about working with youth, write blogs and provide your insight in this field.” To create a theme revolving around your chosen topics, post the same “look” and “feel” of status’, pictures’, etc.
- Who are you? It’s hard to jumble who you are, what you like and where you’re from into a sentence or two, but the best bio’s are blurbs that resonate with your followers. Think of something that is unique and sure to make you stand out. You have to remember, there’s an abundance of social media users so, it’s all about standing out amongst the rest. Biographies that tell us what you believe and do, use social proof, keywords and humor are found to be most successful. You’re working with 160 characters to sell yourself on so, get creative.
- Being active on social media. This is probably the easiest part to building your personal brand on social media. It isn’t hard to post about the things that interest you so, just do it! If you aren’t active on social media, it makes it much easier for your followers to forget about you. In all actuality, it’s a 24/7 job.
- Don’t let your hard work in completing steps one and two go unnoticed by simply avoiding your social media responsibilities. Yes, responsibilities, because keeping your personal brand intact is solely your responsibility, no one else’s.
- What to keep private. It’s important to distinguish your professional accounts from your not-so-professional accounts. Make sure to keep those not-so-professional accounts private. If it isn’t something you want your colleagues, employers or clients to see it’s best that you keep those posts private. When it comes to posting pictures be sure to keep in mind that, “pictures nowadays are so inspirational. Most people communicate through these or videos. Remember to be creative and to just be yourself.”
If you are against social media, I urge you to try out at least one platform. Depending on what you are trying to accomplish, each social media platform offers you something very different. Vanessa says, “If you want to build your professional network, use LinkedIn. If you want to stay connected with friends and attend events, use Facebook. Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter all have different ways of communicating but it depends on what you want to do with that specific social media.” Using social media isn’t an easy task, but it sure can be beneficial.
Vanessa offers one last insight on what makes someone good or bad at personal branding via social media by saying, “On LinkedIn, it's important to have your profile completed. Don't skip the picture and make sure it's professional. Keep it updated and constantly engage your followers with posts. With Facebook and Twitter, be creative. Be yourself, but if you are making public pages, make sure to be appropriate. Many times these pages are the first impressions people see of you. Make sure you are reflecting what your brand is.”
In all honesty, your social media platform(s) are a place for you to brag about who you are, what you’re doing professionally and what you’ve accomplished. So, don’t be afraid to show off because you know what? Everyone else is.