When it comes to building a professional brand, individuals often overlook the many social media channels available to them. Instead of spending all your social media capital posting cute kitten videos and sharing personal opinions, consider tapping into the visibility and availability of social media to create a professional brand and optimize your personal image. If you want to get that company’s attention, think about switching up your social media activity from silly memes to more professional content, such as infographics and informative videos—something you can use to demonstrate your thought leadership in your industry.

Long ago, companies of all sizes discovered the importance of a positive social media presence. When it comes to branding, companies can make it look easy to build an image and become well-known on social media. While creating an online profile that effectively represents you as a professional isn’t difficult, there’s more involved than just posting personal messages on your social media platforms. Professional branding requires presenting yourself to others and creating a reputation by optimizing and managing your online image, and social media plays a big part in it.

If you’re wondering:

  • How do I build my brand when it’s just me?
  • How do I build a professional brand of selling myself?
  • How do I stand out among other job seekers?
  • Do I just put myself on LinkedIn and hope for the best?

Follow these simple guidelines to build your professional brand on social media:

Determine your goal

Before you rush out and start sharing massive posts on social media, take a step back and identify your primary goal. What do you hope to accomplish with your social profile? For most job seekers, it’s to stand out among the competition, capture the attention of a company’s hiring manager, and become a highly sought-after candidate.

Others may be seeking attention as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) to get consulting work within a particular industry. Whatever your goal, it must be in place before you get started. This is crucial, because your goal will determine which social profile will work best for you.

LinkedIn is your best choice as a job seeker. That’s the largest professional network available to people hunting for new jobs, switching to new industries, and transitioning into new careers. Want to get noticed by a specific industry or company? Jazz up your LinkedIn profile. Here are a few simple ways to get started:

  • Edit your header to include your top skills and relevant keywords.
  • Put your best foot forward with a well-crafted professional summary.
  • Don’t use stiff resume wording: Be conversational and professional, but don’t be too informal.
  • Have a clear, professional photo of yourself that’s up-to-date.
  • Share relevant and useful content on your LinkedIn profile.

Share and provide valuable content

One way to boost your professional brand and catch a hiring manager’s attention is by sharing and creating valuable content. How does this work in your favor? The content that you share should be relevant to your career focus and important to your readers or followers.

The content you share should also reflect your brand. Before you share anything on your social profiles, review it carefully to see if it will engage your followers or insult them. Humor is one tool that some social media experts use to engage their followers. While humor can be effective, it can also be difficult for someone just beginning to build an image through social media to execute well.

Visual content tends to resonate best with readers. In fact, images that accompany articles tend to get 94% more views than articles without imagery. Just remember to make sure the images you use are appropriate and relevant to your brand and audience.

Take advantage of the social media platforms that encourage original content. LinkedIn and Facebook now have content platforms that allow you to create content to share with your followers. Remember to go beyond the written word alone. Infographics, videos, and thought-provoking questions are all valid content pieces that can be used to strengthen your professional brand.

Create a consistent brand image 

Grabbing the attention of your next employer may be difficult if your most prominent social profiles don’t match. You don’t want a professional look and feel to your LinkedIn, while you have a cutesy or childish appearance on your Twitter, and your personal Facebook is set to public—because employers will look at it if available, so set your personal profiles to private.

Your brand image should be consistent across all your social profiles. Use the same professional photo that you use on LinkedIn, on your Twitter, Facebook, and whatever other platforms you’re using. If you’re using a background header, make sure that’s the same across the platforms, and relevant to your branding.

Your Professional Value Proposition (PVP) should be the same, too. It should be clear on your profile and speak directly to your audience. Displaying a different PVP on other profiles or leaving it absent does not maintain your brand image consistency, which tells readers you’re not serious about yourself.

Stay active on your social channels

An active profile tends to garner more attention and it shows people that you’re actively vested in your professional branding. The moment your profile becomes stale, followers start dropping off, contacts become void, and your network grows smaller.

Posting every hour each day isn’t necessary either. But, sharing content on your different social profiles several times a week is ideal. If you can share relevant content on your social profiles at least twice a day, you’ll gain attention better than sharing only once a month or less.

Being active on your social profile is more than just sharing your content and other people’s content. You must also engage with experts and influencers within your industry. Engagement is more than a simple greeting now and again—it can be a start, but engagement should be striking a conversation with another person and building trust.

If someone has reshared a post you’ve shared or commented on, don’t let that conversation become stale. Quickly reply as soon as possible with a thoughtful response to keep the conversation going. The moment it becomes stale, it’s a lost opportunity to network and connect.

The entire goal of your social profile is to build relationships. It’s easier to build relationships with other people than with other businesses. With strong social profiles, your professional brand will improve and you’ll gain more opportunities to build relationships that can boost your career seeking efforts.

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