The Role of Social Media in Building a Personal Brand

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Social media offers a quick way to communicate with people within your network. In terms of personal branding, services such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter all play an important part of an online persona that you portray to the rest of the world. Take advantage of social media to get the word out about who you are, what you represent, and how prospective clients and companies notice you.

Personal branding talks about the way you sell yourself to others, and social media serves as a way to maintain instant lines of communication to other people. One message you send could go out to thousands, or even millions, of people who could turn to you for a job, a business opportunity or a financial partnership. Social media has the ability to impact thousands of people with just a few short posts instead of trying to reach every person individually, so these lines of communication represent efficient ways to get your brand across to others.

Determine Your Overall Message

Social media pushes start with your overall message. Flesh out what your personal brand stands for by determining what drives you. Do you want to be an expert in coin collecting, American history, stock market trends or aviation news? Once you answer questions about what you want from your personal brand, it is time to reach out and post.

Find Which Sites Work for You

Discover which social media sites work best for your brand. LinkedIn serves as a way for business professionals to talk to each other, connect within various industries and write blogs about pressing issues. Facebook lets you write long messages as you comment on videos and pictures. Twitter gives you a way to reach out to groups and individuals within your industry of choice.

All of these websites allow you to post links to other places, such as your blogs, brand website and video sharing account. Social media creates a gateway for users to find more information. When they click on a post, link or video, they get the full message that you present to the world. These easy-to-use communication tools start small but lead to something bigger.

Stay Consistent

No matter how many social media services you choose, you must maintain consistency among all of them. Your accounts should all have the same photograph, logo and color scheme. This makes your personal brand easier to identify.

You should also maintain consistency in your messages, blogs and videos. If you are an expert on auto repair and it is one of the major definitions of your personal brand, most of your messages should include something about automobiles. Post a link to a news story from Motor Trend while you tout your blog commenting on that same Motor Trend article. Do not be afraid to repost a message from several months ago that seems relevant at a later date.

Your social media posts should remain relevant to your personal brand, no matter what. You do not have a lot of space to get your message across to others, so you should maintain focus, write a great headline and give your posts an impact statement for your followers. If you can do these things, your personal brand may take your career to new heights.

Photo Courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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  • Amelia Freeman
    Amelia Freeman

    As a freelance writer, I can't talk about the success I've had with blogspot or other sites where content creators regularly keep a roll of other recommended sites that's visible at all times. I think the same applies to artists or other creative fields. Shortly after making some videos I was proud of, I found myself added to the rolls of other, very popular users and within a week that caused my traffic to more than quadruple.

    It's strange. At least in the writing world, older platforms are a great way to network. I mean, George R. R. Martin and other famous names still use livejournal as their main social media.

  • Jill Coleman
    Jill Coleman

    There are some interesting points in this article for sure. Of course, one of the most valuable aspects of using social media is that it is slap free advertising. I think we over look that a little or maybe it's just a given, but I still appreciate that aspect of it very much. To not take advantage of such a powerful advertising tool that is absolutely free just doesn't make since. There are many more social media avenues coming along besides the top 3 mentioned here.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks everyone for the comments. Totally agree that it's really tough to keep an updated online presence and still have a life! There are days when I think that if I never see another computer again it won't be too soon. But it's our reality today - one that we have to accept if we want to find our next job. Personally I find it impossible to post every day and sometimes it's even tough to find the time to post weekly. Try to eek out a few hours every week to attend to your social media sites. You don't have to post every week. It's not about the quantity but about the quality. Don't post just to post because that's even more obvious to prospective employers. Start small on your personal branding efforts - such as with a resume and cover letter. Then move on to sites like Beyond and LinkedIn to continue your personal branding. Social media is here to stay and, as it would appear, so is personal branding. You should consider jumping on the bandwagon or be left behind.

  • Jacob T.
    Jacob T.

    How does anybody have time to build a personal brand? By the time I am done with work a few minutes with my family, it is time to get up and rolling again. Trying to keep content fresh and manage a brand across multiple social media platforms sounds like another part time job.

  • Lorri Cotton
    Lorri Cotton

    I love this article. I am currently trying to learn to use social media more effectively. There are some really good tips here, like having all of your social platforms uniform, with uniform color schemes. I also learned to stick to information about the specific topic that the page is devoted to. Selling yourself isn't easy. This article makes it a whole lot more understandable. Thank you for the great information.

  • Tara Avery
    Tara Avery

    I've witnessed people unwilling to adopt social media as a method of networking, and people glad to use whatever they can to increase their visibility, including social media. The latter is always more successful, purely because they are more visible. The truth is, a digital presence is no longer optional, and, increasingly, a person is judged by their digital presence. No presence means there's no way for potential employers to get a picture of who it is they might be hiring. Like the fact that everyone uses telephones instead of letters to communicate, the shift toward social media is a change in the times I think people must simply get on board with.

  • Jacqueline Parks
    Jacqueline Parks

    Although I see the usefulness in using social media to build my personal brand, I worry about spending too much time on this. There are so many networks, and it is easy for me to get caught up in the details of keeping everything current, well branded and professionally appropriate, as well as networking regularly. Like some of the other commenters, I also want to maintain some private social network accounts for communicating with close family and friends. I wonder how other people get everything done without spending too much time at their computers and devices.

  • Jay Bowyer
    Jay Bowyer

    I think one of the most important things to consider when you use social media is to make posts consistently and regularly. People lose interest quickly when your posts drop off in frequency; they also unfollow if you post too much (or if you post irrelevant or inane things too frequently). A scheduling tool like Hootsuite can help you post on a regular basis — even if you're not in the office!

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Hamid thanks for your comment as it is so very true. As hard as it is, especially in today's social and political world, we have to use caution when commenting on news articles and the like. We should make sure to keep our political opinions to ourselves - especially when job hunting. And, if employed, NEVER put anything negative about your company on any site - no matter how secure the site might be. Always best to err on the side of caution.

  • Hema Zahid
    Hema Zahid

    To separate my personal profile from my professional one, I ended up choosing different social media platforms. I only have close friends and family on my Facebook and I use Twitter and Linkedin to keep in touch with professional contacts. I always keep in mind that potential employers can look through any of my profiles and because of this I only discuss any private matters through the message options.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the comments. @Shannon that's probably the best way to handle social media accounts - one for professional and another for personal. However, what happens is that a hiring company will not only search based upon the email address given, but will search based upon name and can still find that personal account. Best advice that can be given is not to post anything that would make their Mom cringe! As for the platforms @Katharine, that is entirely up to you. I think it's overkill to have several social media account under different addresses but post the same thing on all. Again, a company will search by name, too and it will become quite obvious that it's the same person. Yes @William it is a great idea to include links to your other social media accounts so that they don't have to hunt for you. Shows transparency - something that is truly needed when you are job searching. @Sylvia if I saw multiple profiles under the same email address, I would run.. fast!

  • Sylvia L.
    Sylvia L.

    One thing I caution against is using the same email address for multiple profiles that use multiple names. When I was hiring, I'd occasionally conduct a search on someone using an email address. If I had seen three social media profiles pop up, all using that same email address yet using different names, I would grow concerned.

  • William Browning
    William Browning

    One important aspect of a social media message includes posting links to your social media profiles on each page of your personal brand's main website. That way, customers don't have to hunt and peck for the social media websites. All people have to do is click, sign in and post. The social media buttons also let ordinary people join in your conversation.

  • Katharine M.
    Katharine M.

    Is it best to be on all the major platforms, or to just pick one or two and devote more attention/time to them? I notice that some personalities have several accounts but post the same content on all of them. Is this a good idea? On the one hand, it covers your bases and makes sure more people see your work, but on the other hand it can get repetitive.

  • Shannon Philpott
    Shannon Philpott

    Thank you for such an informative piece. As a college professor, I'm always warning my students that the pictures and status updates posted can come back to haunt them in the job market. As a result, many of them have created private social media accounts for personal use and public, professional accounts for networking and the job search.

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