You Can Totally Brand Yourself Using Social Media: Here’s How
We’re not all social media mavens. And, shockingly enough (brace yourself), not everyone is aspiring to be. That’s right, there are still people out there that don’t give a diamond encrusted “F” about how many new Instagram followers they have.
Take one of my latest and greatest clients, for example:
She’s young and knows what’s up, but has zero interesting in offering up a play-by-play of her day via social media. “Who cares about what you’re eating, or your latest latte!?” she says.
Apart from the bare-bones essentials she had no online existence, which was working out fine, until she decided to hunt for a new gig. Her job search was on the right track in so many ways, but the social media hole was straight up detrimental.
A mysterious social life? Odd, but okay. Now, a professional identity in the dark?
Bad. News. Bears.
I totally understood her logic behind being a ghost on social media; the web can be narcissistic and bizarre. After we chewed on those points for a minute, I got real with her:
“When you’re selling yourself to employers, the way you feel about social media is irrelevant.”
Love it? Hate it? Doesn’t matter, you just can’t leave it. Leave your boyfriend because you don’t feel the same way. Upgrade your wardrobe because you don’t feel pretty in your clothes anymore.
Choosing to sit out on social media because you feel it’s egotistical or lame?
Not an option.
Well, not if you’re looking to be gainfully employed in the near future. 93% of hiring managers will check you out on social media before deciding to offer you the job. Maintaining a current and professional image on social media is the ticket to making a the right impression on recruiters and hiring managers.
At this point, I pitched what I call a “hands-off” social media strategy, one that would give my client a presence while allowing her to maintain her privacy (and sanity!). Here’s what she had to say after a couple of weeks with this approach:
“Joining the conversation was a necessary evil, but I feel better being the one leading the conversation, at least when it comes to how I’m perceived online.”
Here’s the “hands-off” social media strategy:
- Don’t spread yourself too thin; choose 2-3 platforms that work for you.
- Delete dead profiles or those that don’t reflect your current brand. Delete’um HARD.
- Post quotes instead of personal updates (check out Richard Bransen’s Twitter feed; it oozes inspiration).
- Share articles from within your industry, that talk about what you do, or that cover news related to it.
- Use a scheduling tool like Hootesuite to minimize the time you have to spend on social media.
- Post once at least once a day. That’s it.
- Follow companies / people in your field (esp. those you’d like to work with). Share what they share.
- A simple comment “Congrats” or “Well said!” is better than no comment all.
Social media doesn’t have to take over your life to be an effective branding tool. Make it work for you (not the other way around) and you’ll not only round out your brand, but also expand your network in expected ways.
Be more than a name on resume!
Photo credit: Jason Howie’s Flickr photostream.