Recent studies suggest that some 60% of employers search social media before making hiring decisions; and this is likely to be true of colleges and potential clients as well. So it’s only common sense to make sure that your profiles and posts cast you in a positive light, and can give no offense.
That said, whether you’re employed, a freelancer, or a business owner, there are also great potential benefits in using social media to promote yourself as a brand.
You may be looking for new employment, a promotion from your current role, to attract more clients or expand your business; but effective personal branding can help with each of these objectives.
With the correct use of social media platforms you can:-
- access leaders and influencers in your field
- showcase your specific skills and expertise
- win new clients
- gain credibility as an authority in your field
Of course there are now many social media platforms, but for the purpose of personal branding and networking, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google+ are probably the most effective.
Your personal brand is not the same as you, so it’s a good idea to set up social media accounts specifically aimed at building your brand and avoid posting highly personal or family material. Instead post and tweet information relevant to a highly specific topic on which you want to become recognized as an authority.
To successfully build any brand, consistency is crucial. So use the same name – preferably your real name – on all social media channels, as well as a good quality photo; and ensure that all your social media profiles are connected.
For best results, make your profiles as detailed as possible. List any relevant professional accomplishments, but also include hobbies, sporting achievements and other interests.
A consistent tone of voice is crucial to establishing your credibility, but it’s also important to be consistent in your actions. Fresh relevant content posted daily will quickly build your authority and accessibility. By contrast, a neglected Facebook page or infrequent tweets will convey an impression of indifference, and your posts will soon come to be seen as irrelevant and outdated.
Regular posting doesn’t have to be as time consuming as it might seem. Tools such as Sprout and Buffer can help you schedule your posts and can greatly reduce your workload.
But it’s not enough just to post great quality content.
You also need to build a relationship with visitors to your platforms, for example your Twitter followers, fans of your Facebook page and Linkedin connections.
So become a network hub. Reply to messages, follow those who follow you on Twitter and don’t be afraid to contact people directly – however eminent or well-known they are in your niche. Ask questions, offer your services and give advice when you can.
Above all, keep demonstrating how you can add value to the lives and businesses of potential employers, clients and customers and you will quickly develop a very effective personal brand.