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How to Use Social Media for Personal Branding

Digital personal branding is becoming a necessity, and social media plays a huge role in that.

We’ve all read the stories of people who’ve been fired for making some insensitive comment about their employers on Facebook, or even jailed for joking about immigration policy on Twitter. Social media has gone beyond ‘fun’ and a way to keep in touch with friends and family – now it gets you jobs, helps you to network and even earns you new customers.

Here are a few tips for our AWE-ers to boost their personal brand via social media:

1. Consider what your online persona should represent

The first step to personal branding is like marketing anything else – you need to think about the unique values that you have.

Perhaps you want to be known as a philosopher – then instagramming photos of your food everyday is probably not going to convince people of that (unless you’ve found a way to express your philosophical thoughts through the medium of food art – in which case, we salute you and please drop us a line with a link to your account!).

2. Choose your social media platforms carefully

It now seems like there are a million different platforms out there to choose from in addition to the obvious choices.

Our advice is that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are pretty safe bets, but it also depends on your message. If you’re more interested in visuals then a platform like Pinterest or Instagram is more suitable for you, so think about whether the platform can handle your message or not.

The next step is to claim your username across all networks using a site like namechk.com. Then at least if you want to move to a different network, you won’t have to compromise on your username.

Try to be as consistent as possible across all platforms, using the same username and profile picture – that way, people will also be able to tell that it’s you.

Here are a few bonus tips for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn:

Facebook

  • Be careful who you friend – it might seem like a good idea to friend your boss, but when you accidentally complain about your job to him on Facebook, you might quickly change your mind.
  • Regularly check your privacy settings to figure out who can see what – you don’t want prospective employers (or customers) seeing those photos of you on a night out.
  • If you have a personal blog, you could also consider setting up a Facebook page, although the organic reach is just 2%.

Twitter

  • Be careful about your comments – negative ones can spin out of control very fast and everything is public – so it’s pretty much there for life.
  • Use the Mom rule – would you be ok with your Mom seeing your comment? If not, you probably shouldn’t say it.

LinkedIn

  • LinkedIn is one of the first social media profiles that a recruiter will check – so make sure that it matches your CV or you could be left red-faced!
  • You can also use LinkedIn as a chance to get to know other professionals, so take part in group discussions that are related to your ‘brand’.
  • LinkedIn is also now rolling out a writing function for all users, turning it into a mini blogging platform. If you don’t want to start a blog but have something to get off your chest, it’s the place for you – so long as it is on a professional topic, of course, not heartbroken angst.

3. Be generous

It’s easy to sometimes look at social media platforms as a giant space for advertising your personal brand, but that shouldn’t be what it’s all about. Be generous, promote other people’s work and be as helpful as you can to other users, without the expectation that they should do the same for you.

4. Monitor your profiles carefully

Sometimes, things go wrong – but the worst is not knowing, as you can’t take any action. Take the time to Google yourself to see what comes up and if you need to clear up any bad reputation you might have earned yourself.

Do you have any other personal branding tips using social media? Tell us about them in the comments below!

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