Keeping Your Personal Brand Professional
A personal brand is your way of promoting yourself, and how you are perceived by your peers and potential employers.
A key part of this is having a strong, professional-looking social media presence.
The advice often given to people starting out on their career path is to absolutely lock down their social media. You can set most profiles up to only allow people you give permission to see what you put out pretty easily. If you’ve got an account you only want to use for interacting with friends and family, this is your best bet.
But social media has rapidly become a key part of developing a personal brand. If you want to make serious progress with your brand, you’ll need to get at least a little bit on board with having accessible social media and using it semi-regularly.
We’ve talked on this blog before about how to make your Linkedin more professional specifically, but we’ve put together some more general tips to help you get and maintain a professional personal brand.
Privacy Settings and Curation
Keep it secret, keep it safe!
So we’ve established that shutting down your entire social media presence isn’t strictly viable these days, but there are a few steps you can take to ensure your profile is a bit tighter.
Firstly, you should aim to curate your friends and following lists, especially on your older profiles. Do all those pages you follow really put out content you want to share among your friends, followers and co-workers? The better the content on your feeds, the better the content you can share.
Next, get your bios and taglines in order. Get clearly labelled links to other social pages, your websites or blogs, and have your USP somewhere obvious.
You can also ensure your tagging settings are set up properly- that way you have complete control over what appears on your profile.
Share Interesting Things, but Share Wisely.
Be worth listening to
Who, when you break it down is going to be looking at the content you put out? Who is it ultimately for? Why should people listen to what you have to say?
Once you’ve decided on your primary audience, there are two aspects you should consider when sharing material and creating content for your pages.
Is it something you’d want to read?
Does it say something interesting that other people might want to read?
Don’t be afraid to create content of your own, if there’s something you want to say, or an opinion on the industry you’ve got rattling around, say it! That’s how you establish yourself as a credible source, adding something to your community.
Equally, when sharing things others have created, don’t be afraid to express your opinion on it. Draw attention to something from the article that stood out for you, and encourage others to discuss it with you.
A lot has also been said over the past few months about the prevalence of fake news on social media. We’re not talking solely about the politically charged term, even posts on mundane or benign things can be a hindrance to your personal brand if they’re fake or overtly incendiary. Never share anything based solely on a provocative headline. Always read the actual article before you share it, and make sure the source is reliable and trustworthy.
Clean Up Tools
Taking out the guesswork
Features like Facebook Memories are a nice touch for a lot of people, but every now and then it can flag up old posts we really wish we hadn’t posted back in the day.
One can go through one’s own profiles with a fine tooth comb, but if you’ve been online for a while, that’s a lot of content.
A lot of companies will use screening methods to trawl through your social media presence and flag up potential warning signs. Common red flags tend to be things related to partying, complaining about coworkers or work in general, and the like. Luckily, there are similar tools that you can use to keep you ahead of things.
Brand Yourself is an example of this, they’ll search through your content and pick up anything problematic through a combination of keywords and image scanning- the same as those that employers tend to use to scan profiles. It can also monitor your online presence on the regular, letting you keep an eye on how it looks from the outside. The score it gives you can be used to show you not only a harmful profile but also a positive one, so you can see if you need to improve as well as fix it!
Embrace Your Authentic Self
It’s better for everyone!
There is a certain amount of self-censoring that goes on on all social media platforms, in the same way that you temper your interactions in real life. While your output should maintain a professional tone, it should still be representative of you as a person. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Your personal brand could show you to be a deeply knowledgeable person, with a great understanding of their business, but if it doesn’t give a sense of your personality. People aren’t going to look at it and think that they want to work with you.
Get an understanding of your values, and the values of the industry you move in, and stay true to them when you post. Use what you post to demonstrate sincere passion. Be consistent, and don’t change things up based on your audience.
Sincerity is not only easier to maintain, but it’s also way more attractive to hiring managers.
Social media can empower you to get in contact with thousands of people at once. It’s a great equaliser in that sense, what once would require a PR company and a lot of resources can now be done by anyone with time and will. Use your social media presence to build your personal brand, connect with people and let people see who you are and what you stand for, and it’ll help grow your career tenfold.