Not that long ago you probably were sitting at your desktop computer on a website called MySpace.com, creating an account with the handle @iloveponi3s with a friend request from some guy named Tom. Fast forward to the year 2018. You probably have a variety of accounts on several different platforms, with more professional usernames and are still trying to figure out who Tom is. Much like you and I, social media has evolved tremendously since 2004. Facebook alone has seen a jump from 1 million to 2.2 billion monthly users. Because of this astronomical number, companies have gotten smarter and started funding marketing and advertising campaigns solely for social media.
While companies are using social media to market themselves, so are individuals. Your social media accounts can be considered an extension of your resume or profile. Here are some tips and tricks to successfully building your personal brand:
1. Pick Your Top 3 Platforms
With new social media networks emerging every day, trying to join all of them can be overwhelming and time-consuming. A good rule of thumb is to choose three platforms to focus your efforts on based on a few criteria:
1) A platform on which people you want to connect with are engaging.
2) A platform geared toward your particular brand (more visual, writing-heavy, etc.).
3) A platform that helps you accomplish your social media goal.
Once you have decided which social media platforms best suit your needs, update them with current information and delete the others you have chosen not to work with.
Make this decision based off who you are trying to reach. If it is future employers, then ask yourself: what are they most active on or who is their target market? Using this tip will allow you to easily convey your message using the platforms that best suits your needs
2. Delete the Red Solo Cups
Consider all of your accounts extensions of your resume. I know partying is fun, but when making a post you should ask yourself questions similar to this: “Would I want my grandmother seeing this?” If the answer is no, then your potential boss probably doesn’t want to either. This does not mean refrain from posting pictures from social gatherings; it just means alcohol or other explicit activities should not be the focal point of the post or picture. On Facebook, if you are really wanting to show a group of friends a picture that may not be appropriate for your boss, create a Facebook group between you and your friends. There, you can share all types of pictures, memes, and videos without having to worry. If you are curious as to what classifies as “inappropriate for work” check out this article on CNN about 10 people who found that out.
3. Share Posts About Your Interests
If we continue with the extension of your resume theme, future employers will be interested in knowing who you are as a person. They will want to know how they can relate to you or how your interests align with their company. So, for example, if you are a huge Game of Thrones fan, share occasional posts or articles about it – your boss could also be a fan, and it could be a bonding moment for the two of you to talk about.
4. Share Updates Regularly
Keeping your content current is very important. On a site like LinkedIn, potential employers look for information such as a college degree, previous employment, skills, etc. If you switched your major after Sophomore year from Biomechanical Engineering to Business Analytics, potential employers need to know this information. If it isn’t up to date, you could be getting messages from NASA versus Walmart. Keeping the content current will only increase your chances of being attractive to all potential employers. This article gives you four steps to follow when updating your LinkedIn profile based off where you have been and where you want your career to take you.
4. Curate Your Own Content
Yes, while sharing posts made by others is important, creating your own content is just as, if not more important. You must show that you are an expert in the areas you are claiming. For example, if you had an Instagram account that was intended to show off you as an interior designer, posting pictures of inspiration houses in which you had no part in helping decorate does not build credibility for YOUR design skills.
Finding the perfect balance between the two is key. Sharing personal photos is still very important. If you are trying to brand yourself as an interior designer don’t just post pictures of homes, show people that you have a life outside of your career. People like to feel connected to the accounts they follow and this will only help to increase your following with the interest in you and your design.
Here are just a few examples of content you should be sharing to really increase user engagement
– Practical Ideas: posts related to what you are trying to brand/promote. Depending on what you’re trying to do, this would include… ideas/tips on how to brighten up your fashion style, home decor, travel, etc.
– Motivational: These types of posts are to get your followers more engaged in your page, to get them to “like” you. Spreading a little motivation or inspiration is sure to put a smile on their face. You could even start a weekly trend “#MotivationMonday” to start your followers week off positively. A great way to implement these types of posts is through the use of “stories” on Snapchat, Facebook or Instagram. Stories allow for a quick 10-second view of a post, this way you don’t have to mess up the aesthetic of your page.
– Moments in Your Personal Life: Brag about yourself, share a tender family moment, or just a photo of something you think your followers would enjoy seeing that is more personal.
– Content: Lastly, content to help build your credibility. This should be the majority of your posts. This is where you show off to your followers what you do best. If you ’re an interior decorator you show off that house you designed, a real estate agent share your listings, fashion influencer your cute new outfit, whatever shows you doing your best you.
5. Study Influencers
YES! PEOPLE ARE GETTING PAID TO POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA! PAIIIIDDD!!! Wouldn’t you like that to be you? Study the popular page, it won’t take long until you stumble upon a user that has over ten 10K followers. Look at what they are doing and use it as an inspiration. If you like certain aspects of the account that you see, you can integrate them into your own page while still being original. For example, on the platform Tumblr, accounts will use consistent filters. By that I mean all of their photographs will have the same kind of color schemes or noticeable gradients to them. Or, if it is a more textual based platform like Twitter, their posts will have a consistent tone of voice.
Check out multiple accounts and gather ideas about things you like and even things you don’t. Find what works for you and what will make you feel like you are accurately representing yourself and your brand. Here are some influencers I follow:
@doyoutravel is a great account for the wannabe adventurer.
Love interior design? Check out @beckiowens
Want a combination of fashion and travel? Check out @isabellath this girl might live the coolest life ever.
Brooke Hammerling, @brooke, is a PR maven who’s account is a perfect example of a balance between professional and personal content on Twitter.
Big on business? @fredwilson is a businessman, venture capitalist, and blogger who actively uses Twitter.
@galmeetsglam is a great Facebook fashionista to check out.
One of the 1984 Apple marketers @guy is the person to follow if you’re fascinated by the tech world.
Creating a personal brand on social media is not a cake walk. It requires a lot of thought, attention to detail, and research. It is not about what you look like, it is about who you are, and what your beliefs, goals, interests, and aspirations are. People will be drawn to you on social media the way they are drawn to you in person if you have accurately represented yourself. With time and dedication, you will have your pages up and running successfully before you know it. Just remember to keep this advice in mind along the way.
Have any first-hand tips for building up your personal brand online? Let us know in the comments below!