Branding used to be purely for businesses, but that’s not the case anymore. Personal branding has taken off and in recent years become quite popular, especially with young professionals.
Personal branding is when you have a specific look, feel, or message associated with your name.
Using social media, anyone can create their own personal brand. There are tons of reasons to have a strong personal brand, and often times the reasons depend on your personal goals, but here are a few more to consider: so people know if they should connect with you, what industry you’re in, what opportunities you’re looking for, how you could help them or vice versa. It also allows you to control your online image and is especially useful for job hunting because you can showcase your skill set.
Here are some elements to include in your branding to get you off to the right start:
The first thing you need to let people know is who you are. There is a section to talk about yourself on every profile. Twitter gives you 140 characters, whereas with LinkedIn you can write an essay about yourself.
As a result, you’ll have several versions of your personal “elevator pitch” to be distributed across social media platforms.
Be sure when you write your personal statement or more about yourself you get a few key points across:
- Who you are.
- What you’re involved with.
- If you’re looking for something right now.
- How people can get in touch.
List the information you would like people to know, whether it’s that you are a student, or young professional, what part of the world you are from, etc.:
- Either work, volunteer, other, or all three depending on what you want to highlight in your personal brand.
- Whether it is writing opportunities, freelance opportunities or a job. Outright stating that you are job hunting will get you a lot of results.This is optional, if you want people to get in touch then list a method of contact be it, a link, about me page, website or LinkedIn profile.
A big part of your branding is the content that you put out to the world. What kind of things are you posting on Facebook or Tweeting about? What articles do you share on LinkedIn?
The answers to these questions reflect your personal brand. For example, Tweeting and posting about a certain cause will help associate you with that cause. The theme of your content shapes your personal brand. Tweeting or Posting about things that are valuable and important in the industry that you are either in, or interested in getting into, is a great way to help you network as well as make you look knowledgeable in the industry you are in, or trying to break into.
Consistency is the most important part of your personal brand. Be sure that your brand accurately reflects you, who you are, and what you are interested in. Once you have all of your social media profiles set up, and you know how you want your branding to appear, the only thing left is consistency. Be sure to have the same profile image for every network, this makes it easy for people to follow you or connect with you on multiple platforms.
If your Twitter says that you are a PR and Marketing Pro, your LinkedIn shouldn’t say that you are a Legal Assistant. Figure out the field or interests that you want associated with you, and stick with them! Effectively conveying your brand across Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook heavily relies on consistency.
Now that you understand how to brand yourself, where are you going to do it? Twitter and LinkedIn are excellent starts. Twitter connects you with people in every industry all over the world and LinkedIn is an excellent professional network.
A lot of people tend to keep Facebook for personal connections like friends and family. If it’s not coming in contact with the world publicly like Twitter, then that’s fine. However, if your Facebook switches to engaging business contacts as well, it’s a good idea to keep consistent.
A lot of young professionals also set up about pages, one example is about.me. Another option is setting up an entire website devoted to information about you like your resume. Make sure you really want to do this before you start, it’s a lot of work! In which case, wordpress.com is free and easy and wordpress.org only requires a little bit more time and money.
Using Google+ is also a really good idea, not because of the overpowering community that uses Google+ but because your Google + profile is associated with your Gmail account. Meaning when you send emails from that account people are able to see your Google+ profile, pictures etc. as well. Keeping it well branded will maintain professionalism.
Using social media, you can completely control your online brand and image and shape the way others view your profile. The best way to make sure you are sending out the message you want, is creating an effective and consistent online brand, and using social media is the easiest way to do that!
Have a social media success or horror story? Share with us your experiences and advice in the comments!
Ask Levo Mentor Rachel Millner, Director of Public Relations, her social media advice for setting your personal and professional message on the internet!