Why Social Media is Important For Your Personal Brand
by CHRISTINA PILARSKI
When I have conversations with busy professionals about social media it always comes back to a one key thing – time.
Sending that tweet, learning how to use the latest platform, updating your LinkedIn profile … all seem to be actions that can easily be pushed to the bottom of our to do list, but can often be relatively quick and painless tasks that can help to put our best foot forward. So, as we finish up the first quarter of 2018, I challenge you to think about these 4 things and start prioritizing your own social media.
1 – Telling Your Story
Nobody can tell your professional story better than you can and there is no better place to tell it than through your social media channels. Social media allows you to connect with your peers, potential employers, current and future managers, and it helps them get to know you even before a first conversation or working-lunch.
Social media accounts allow your past colleagues to tell your story; positive endorsements and references being shared are a no-brainer for your brand. Social media also allows you to truly showcase your expertise and passions; use LinkedIn Pulse to give tips and share advice about your line of work, find Facebook groups that you can add value to because of your background, or use Twitter to establish yourself as a community leader by participating in high-value conversations with influencers in your industry.
If you are not on social media, you are choosing not to attend the biggest networking event of the year. And, if you are not engaging on social media it’s like you are at the networking event standing by the punch bowl looking at your watch – isn’t it better to contribute to the conversation?
2 – Being Searchable
Social media has quickly become the preferred way to find businesses and people, learn about services, and ask trusted sources for recommendations. I often ask professionals to admit the last time they searched someone online just to see a recent photo or place of work – everybody does it. If you do not have social media footprint – or even worse, if your social media footprint is outdated and irrelevant – you may have knocked yourself out of the running for the next job, consulting gig, promotion, or award. Allow your social media footprint to showcase your community involvement, your big-wins, your large professional network, and your passions – use social media to differentiate yourself and stand out.
Keep your channels up to date. Your LinkedIn current place of work should be a priority, including your accomplishments and job duties. Next ensure your Twitter bio and headshot is recent. Then manage your Facebook to ensure that your personal posts are private but that your work experience, interests, and locations can be seen by a broader network.
People are going to search for you online – when you are on social media you allow yourself to be found, to be recommended, and to be top of mind for interested clients and employers. Being safe online and being searchable online are not synonymous.
3 – Starting Relationships
Our career-advancement strategies rely on making connections, having conversions, AND repeated touchpoints with key individuals. Growing our networks and establishing trust do not happen without building strong relationships. So, with everything else we need to accomplish in our professional and personal lives, how do we strengthen relationships and remain relatable while still prioritizing everything else? Social media is a practical way to be part of the regular dialogue of your industry.
Think of Facebook as your best friend’s birthday party. You are invited in, you build trust by showing photos, having conversations, and bonding over similar interests. Eventually one of those birthday party attendees asks for a recommendation for a consultant, ideas for individuals looking for work, or a place to do business with – you’re at the party so you are able to chime in with your own expertise. Being present on social media gives you the opportunity to ensure you are top of mind and establish relationships.
4 – Get Started
Make small goals for yourself as you begin to tackle your social media branding strategy. Start with updating one platform by the end of the month; next make a plan to post on that platform 3 times per week for the next quarter; finally add other relevant platforms for your job and career aspirations.
Everyone wastes time online – start being strategic as you are scrolling through feeds by making connections, sharing links that establish your interests, writing posts that showcase your expertise, and keeping your profile up to date.