33 years ago, before the internet existed, there were only two ways to build your personal brand: On paper and in person. Today, we have a whole new realm of identity that exists where people can find information about you. We call it the wild wild web. Hundreds of social media platforms. Billion of internet users. Google makes it easy for employers to find out within two clicks who you are and what you are all about. As more and more millennials enter the workforce, a challenge arises when it comes to creating and maintaining an online brand that is both authentic and professional. Unfortunately, we live in a day and age where an online brand is more important then ever before.
The most popular platforms are Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Below is a quick break down on how to best use each to build and create your online personal brand.
Use to voice your opinion & connect with professionals.
Use Twitter professionally. Interact with professionals. Use # to join the conversation on topics you are passionate about!
Be in the the know on topics that you are fascinated in. Find thought leaders that you admire and reply to their tweets! Don’t be afraid to speak up and share your thoughts on topics that matter to you. Twitter is an opportunity for you to be heard in the wild wild web. Be powerful in the way to use your voice online.
Use to make a scrapbook of your mission & purpose.
This means not using using Instagram to post selfies all the time. Instead, post about people, places, and events that are important to you. Every photo you post should say a little but about who you are and what you value. Follow brands and people that you admire.
Be aware of who you follow and what you “Like.” Every time you “Like” a photo, it will show up in the newsfeed of your followers. Make your profile private if you are unsure or do not want to have that information be released.
Bottom line, be yourself. Instagram is fun. Be creative in how you can express yourself!
Use to promote yourself and stay connected to friends and family.
Facebook is used a little differently for everyone. Our best advice would be to create a privacy setting that works for you. There are a lot of options for privacy settings on Facebook that allow for certain parts of your profile and photos to be viewable by friends, family, and the public. Take time to see which one is the right one for you. If you are looking to promote and be public about all that you are up to, it may be best to keep everything public. But if you would rather keep your personal life private, making all photos and about information on a “Only Me” or “Friends Only” setting might be a better for you.
Make sure you have appropriate photos. HR can and will pull up your profile. Look through your photos and think about the image you are projecting. Does it reflect your values? Does it respect the company’s values?
Use a blog to build thought leadership.
Blogs are great because they give you the opportunity to write about a topic that you are passionate about. Writing is a skill that can always use some practice. Through an online personal blog, you can practice writing while building your thought leadership and developing an online personal brand?
Use for inspiration & creativity.
Pinterest has some really amazing ideas for resumes, business cards, and tips for how to dress for success. Start an account and see what you find. You can create different categories to organize your pins by what you are looking for. From style inspiration to apartment decorating, Pinterest has EVERYTHING.
Use for professional networking.
LinkedIn is the best professional networking platform. If you don’t have your profile set up already, get one started! LinkedIn just updated their system that actually walks you through how to set your profile up. Any experience – paid, unpaid, volunteer work- is relevant and should be on your page. Keep your profile up to date and use a simple, professional photo. Another big tip for using LinkedIn is personalizing any of your “Request to connect” messages before sending request. Doing this will make you stand out from the rest, showing that you care to connect with them on a personal level, and not just on a mission to increase your LinkedIn connections.
Brianna Mercado, a 24-year-old professional dancer in New York City speaks about the importance of her online presence, “Online branding as a dancer… my online brand is extremely important to me. I will unfollow people that post inappropriate photos or use fowl language. I don’t want to be associated with people that are unprofessional or rude. My online brand does my job for me when I am not in the audition room or in dance class. If I post a video of me dancing, it shows people I am keeping busy and still working. The same concepts apply for the more formal ‘business’ culture. You can use your online brand to do the talking for you when you are not the room. It allows for people to get a sense of your passions, hobbies, and unique style.”
If you are unsure about which platform to use, start by thinking about what it is you are working towards. What career goals to you have? Find out what you need to do and work backwards from there. If you are a writer, you need to get your writings out there. Start a public WordPress blog. Get involved and speak up.
With all that said, there are still some that see no point in updating their Facebook status or flipping through filters on Instagram. That’s okay- you should choose the platform(s) that feel right for you.
Our main piece of advice: Build up your LinkedIn Profile. LinkedIn is the best platform to get a jumpstart on building and creating your personal brand on a platform that future employers will recognize and trust.
#Passion2Action ACTION ITEM: The Google Search
Google yourself. Observe what comes up in the general search and in the images as well! If you don’t like what appears, adjust your privacy settings on the appropriate social media platform. If nothing comes up, you can change that, too…
Read more #Passion2Action on The College Juice!