personal branding

Personal branding and social media as a career springboard

I recently had the opportunity to talk to the Emerson College PRSSA about my career and social media marketing for the non-profit sector. They wrote a really nice post about my visit, which you can check out here.

It was really interesting to talk to people outside of my organization about social media and personal branding and how it can truly be a career springboard. In light of the chat, I wanted to share some important things I have learned about personal branding over the past couple years.

According to Dan Schawbel, author of Me 2.0,

“Personal Branding is the process by which individuals differentiate themselves and stand out from a crowd by identifying and articulating their unique value proposition, whether professional or personal, and then leverage it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal. In this way, individuals can enhance their recognition as experts in their field, establish a reputation and credibility, advance their careers, and build self-confidence.”

It is important to be purposeful with your social media use because oftentimes, it becomes your online portfolio and resume whether you want it to or not. Having a strong personal brand can work in your favor when it comes to the job hunt and networking within your field of interest.

Here are some common mistakes people make with their personal brand:

1) Posting inappropriate comments or photos. If you are friends with your grandmother or your boss on Facebook, do you really want them to see photos of your social life?

2) Being inconsistent. You can’t be everything to everyone – choose a field or topic that you want to focus on and try to stay there.

3) Negativity. No one will want to follow your updates if all you do is complain. It can be a major drag.

4) Inward focus. If all you do is talk about yourself, people will lose interest. Share content that you find interesting, but isn’t necessarily about you.

5) Not committing. Building a strong personal brand takes time and effort; if you are posting and engaging minimally, others won’t engage with you.

Now that you know some common mistakes, here are some easy tips to help you out:

1) Be yourself. You don’t use a fake name on Facebook, so why would you on Twitter? Keeping your name consistent will help people know who you are across different platforms.

2) Respect copyrights and fair use. If you share something that was created by someone else, cite the source. You would want others to do the same for something you created.

3) Be prepared to engage. A post is a conversation starter. Be prepared to talk about it.

4) Pause before you post. Is what you are about to say offensive or factually incorrect? Are there spelling or grammatical errors? Remember – once it’s out there, it’s out there and on social media, you are what you say or post.

5) Keep track of what you’re doing. Check out your @ replies, shares, comments, likes and Klout score. Being self-aware is extremely important and can net positive results.