Social media is here to stay and in our digital world, it can affect your personal brand. We’ve all heard the stories of embarrassing Facebook posts that have damaged people’s careers, but social media can also have the opposite effect – it can be a platform to strengthen your personal brand and build credibility online. Here are four ways to use social media wisely when building your personal brand:
- Be authentic. What you put on social media should be a true reflection of who you are and what you stand for. Don’t put things out that are there just for show and to make you look good. People can spot a fake, but they are attracted to what’s genuine. Being a little bit vulnerable is actually appealing, instead of pretending you’ve got it all together all the time and your life is completely fabulous. Of course, steer clear from the opposite extreme – over-sharing! Be authentic, but be professional.
- Present a well-rounded profile. Every social media platform gives you some sort of space to include a bit of information about yourself, as well as a photo. Make sure you take full advantage of this. Don’t leave them blank! Include relevant keywords and a good, professional-looking photo. On platforms like LinkedIn, make sure you show substance. Instead of just listing job positions you’ve held and skills you have learned, highlight the value you add through your work and give a sense of who you are through including any volunteer activities and links to examples of your work where relevant.
- Consider a personal website. I know this seems like it shouldn’t be included in a post about social media, but hear me out. While you can build a great online profile using free social media tools, having your own website will set you apart. It gives you a space to showcase your skills, experience and thought leadership in one place, in a way that represents who you are, and it functions as an online portfolio. It also means you can integrate it with your social media activity. For example, you can write blog posts on trending issues and link to them from your Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media accounts.
- Focus on your niche. Social media allows you to play to your strengths, choosing platforms that best allow you to showcase what you do well. If you’re a professional food photographer, Instagram is perfect for you. If you offer management consulting, LinkedIn will work well for you if you share your thoughts, join industry forums and engage with other specialists in your field. There is something for everyone, so find what best represents ‘Brand YOU’ and market yourself like you would a brand. Remember that you never know who’s Googling you, but you can ensure that there’s good information to be found when they do that showcases the best of you.