Use Social Media For Personal Branding

Use Social Media For Personal Branding

For decades the thing for a professional who was looking for a new job to do was to create a high-quality CV and cover letter. The internet has changed all of that. Today, anyone who wants to stand out from the competition in their field has to go beyond what has been deemed acceptable in the past. They have to think outside the box.

Personal branding has grown in importance over the past few years, and with how easy it is to put together a website and blog there isn't a reason why you shouldn't be looking to develop your brand. Reports estimate that up to 80% of jobs are found in the "informal" job market today, with networking and making personal connections vital to your success.

The avenues available to anyone who's looking to market themselves today are extensive. In fact, it's all too easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices available. The first port of call should be social media. Providing you with a platform on which to express yourself and your personality through photos, posts, blogs and your stories, social media is vital to adding a strong personal flavor to your online presence.

So, you've decided to establish a real presence on social media; you're ready to start creating that personal brand that will set you apart from your competition. Where do you start? There are a number of social media platforms available, and you have to decide which ones will suit you. Solid advice would be to stick with the three most popular platforms for professionals and job hunters, and those platforms are what are being discussed in this article.

With over 310 million monthly active users, Twitter should be high on your agenda.

Like most social media platforms, success won't come overnight. You're going to have to take some time to build your reputation and brand, which means consistency and keeping things fresh and interesting. You need to be active, meaning you should be looking to post something new every day for at least the first few weeks, or even the first month if you're able to. You need to build your following by staying active, getting involved in the discussion and also by following at least a few people every day or so.

Who you follow will play a part in who follows you, so choose wisely. Who are the leaders in your industry? Find them, and follow them. Look into what they're saying each day. If you feel you have something to add to the conversation, then do so. The more you get involved, the more people are going to notice you.

You also need a standout bio. Remember, social media is people taking an interest in other people. You have to keep it interesting and provide content that people are going to want to read. Be sure to identify yourself clearly in your bio. What do you do? Who are you? These questions need to be answered definitively. Also, add some personality. What makes you tick? What interests do you have outside of your profession? Personality attracts attention.

Twitter is bursting with people who have drab, standard bio's and who are active infrequently and who simply aren't using the platform to its full potential.

Don't be one of those people.

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Facebook- the granddaddy of them all. 1.65 billion monthly active users. And rising.

Facebook is a platform that offers so much to those who want to get their personal brand out there to the masses. You just have to make sure that you master it correctly. First up should be your professional information. Facebook allows for each member to go into quite a lot of detail about themselves, so be sure to make it count. And by saying that you should make it count, that doesn't mean simply doing what the vast majority do and entering your job title with nothing else to differentiate you from the crowd.

Remember, how you separate yourself from the competition is going to dictate the level of success you have on social media, and the perception others have of your personal brand. You have to explain what you do in an engaging manner, a way that's going to pique the interest of those who see your profile.

Another aspect of Facebook that you need to get on top of from the get-go is the privacy settings. These can seem a bit confusing to begin with, but once you get the hang of them, you'll be able to adjust and personalize your account to suit your posting behavior. For example, having the ability to set individual posts only to be visible to certain groups of people or individuals is ideal for when you're posting something that’s a bit more personal. Also, you should turn off the option that allows others to post on your profile unchecked, or allows them to tag you in photos without you vetting them first. This is a great way to avoid any unwanted surprises that may cause embarrassment.

Much like Twitter you'll have to put in the work and be active on a regular basis. Your brand won't be built overnight; it's going to take time.

Another piece of advice that should apply to all of your social media accounts is to avoid posting the same material across all platforms.

Try to tailor what you have to suit particular platforms. If you're posting a short question or link to an article, then Twitter is your best bet. A photo or longer post is probably going to be better suited to Facebook.

With 433 million monthly users on average, LinkedIn is taking the social media world by storm. It's growing consistently, and unlike other platforms doesn't appear to have hit its peak as of yet. The rise to 433 million monthly users in the first quarter of this year is a sharp increase in the 414 million users it had in the quarter before.

This is a social platform on the up, so perhaps more than any other you'd do well to get involved as soon as possible. According to Forbes.com, LinkedIn is the only personal branding source that you really need. This is a fair argument, with LinkedIn being the only social media platform that is dedicated entirely to professionals who are looking to network and get their personal brand out there to the masses.

The information that you can put on your LinkedIn profile is virtually endless, with images, professional contacts, accomplishments, education records, successfully completed projects, video, blog entries and opinion pieces all found on the platform. When it comes to creating and nurturing business relationships, LinkedIn is at the top of the pile, and that's why you simply have to be a part of it.

Before you get started, you want to really think about what details you're entering into your profile section. There's a higher chance that your profile is going to be read on LinkedIn than on any other social media platform. Make sure you get it right. You have to sell yourself here, and the first thirty seconds that a potential client or employer spends reading your profile will determine how they proceed.

This is where you get to hone that personal brand of yours and stand out from the crowd.

Once you've uploaded a professional looking image you're all set to start on your summary, experience and your skills. Again, give these sections some real thought as they'll be vital to the first impression that people have of you and your brand when they land on your page.

At this stage, you're ready to begin growing your network, which is where the magic of LinkedIn happens. Your immediate connections are people you know, and these are called 1st-degree contacts. You should be looking to connect with like-minded people on the 2nd-degree list, which is like an online version of the "friend of a friend" scenario.

Upon requesting a connection, you'll be given the option of sending a message to them. LinkedIn offers you the chance to either send a standard message that they provide or the opportunity to write your own.

If you are able to, write your own. Perhaps mention the name of the contact you have in common, and tell them why you're looking to connect. Once you have a few connections, you should be ready to begin sharing content that you think your connections will find valuable.

Like the other social media platforms mentioned in this blog post, you need to be consistent. Post regularly, add connections, and accept connection requests when they arrive.

In short, you have to get involved. You have to be prepared to discuss, debate, add a viewpoint and become a valuable member of the community.

You have to be social.

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