Being purposeful about one’s personal brand is a key strategy for any professional, whether they are looking for their next opportunity or want to build a career within an organization. Simply put, your brand is your reputation. It is what people think about when that professional walks into a room or someone hears their name.
There are many things that influence a brand including how that employee acts in the workplace, how they treat others, and of course, they use of social media. In fact, social media probably has a larger influence over a brand than one may realize, especially in regards to professional career development.
Using social media to enhance personal brand
How an employee uses social media – including which social media outlets someone has a profile on, who they connect with, and most importantly, what they share – all have influence over one’s brand. Many people feel that what they do online should have no bearing on their professional life; this is a huge mistake. People are constantly making judgments and decisions about them, whether they like it or not, so it is time to start being more in control of one’s brand, starting with social media.
Sharing on social media
Rather than someone just posting anything that sounds interesting, an employee should come up with a plan for what they want to share on their social media profiles. They may even have a slightly different strategy depending on the medium – perhaps on LinkedIn they focus on industry news and information, on Twitter they focus more on information surrounding a specific profession or career exploration, and on Facebook they blend the personal and professional, but, make sure everything is appropriate regardless of who is looking at it.
People often make the mistake of being a bit too open on their personal social networking profiles, assuming they are private – that it’s just friends and family so it doesn’t matter. The truth is that it matters just as much as what they post on the more professional sites. A professional never knows who may help them get their next job or grow their career. It could be a neighbor, a long time high school friend or even their grandmother! If they have made the mistake of posting inappropriate things on a profile, these people may not be willing to vouch for them, because the brand is not one they feel they can support.
For these reasons, a professional should always keep what they post online appropriate because once it’s out there – it will be there for anyone to find and it will affect one’s brand. The good news is that the professional is completely in control of how their brand is affected by social media use. They should use it wisely.