Using social media to boost your career – either to help you find a job or to build your professional network – is about so much more than just simply having accounts on prominent networking sites and posting updates. It's about building your brand and creating your reputation.
Building a social media brand takes a great deal of forethought, but the rewards of doing it makes the effort worthwhile. Here's how to build your social media brand:
Create a uniform profile – Since you'll probably have accounts on several different sites, take some time to think about what makes you special and create a profile that looks like you. Some people design their own logo or use accents of their favorite color to make them stand out across different platforms. For example, if your signature color is purple, use a purple accent on every profile. The goal here is to make sure that your brand is as recognizable on Twitter as it is on LinkedIn.
Find your voice – This can be difficult, but think about what you have to say and why anyone should listen. What sort of perspective do you have to offer? Maybe you have a funny outlook or are constantly coming up with creative ways to get things done. Once you find your unique voice, stay consistent across every platform. This will make it easier for your followers and your friends to get to know you – even if it's just through status updates or tweets.
Share and share some more – Sharing is caring and with social media, sharing is crucial. However, even online, there is a real risk of over-sharing. A great rule is to ask yourself “Is this true? Is it interesting? Is it helpful?” before posting anything. Also, try to avoid taking controversial stances on things like politics, sex or religion because your followers probably come from a diverse background and may find your views offensive. Unless it's crucial to your voice (for example, if you're a minister, your religious views would be important to your followers), avoid these topics completely.
Follow other professionals – When you're building your brand, try to follow other professionals that you admire. Look for others in your field or who have a similar background and keep up with what they are doing. It's a great way to build your network and it provides you with a steady stream of shared content that is useful and interesting.
Get involved in conversations – When you find other professionals to follow, don't be a lurker. Get involved in the discussion and talk with others about topics that are of interest to you. Remember, social media is about being social, so you will have to engage your followers and become a part of the larger conversation.
When you're building your social media brand, the most important thing is to build continuity across all of the platforms you use. You'll want the people who follow you on Twitter to look for you on LinkedIn and read your blog as well, so make it easy for them to find you and understand what you're all about.
Do you use social media to build your brand? Why or why not? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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