When someone mentions the words “social media,” your immediate thoughts might conjure ideas of sharing pictures and status updates from crazy weekends with friends and family. However, social media can be, and should be, much more. It is a great way to develop your own personal brand –to share who you are with business connections and potential employers. Your personal brand is your look, your feel, and your message associated with your name.
There are many reasons to have a strong personal brand. Your personal brand helps people know that they should connect with you; provides insight into the industry in which you are involved; and demonstrates the value you can add to their company, and much more. To get started, try to create the three C’s for a charismatic online presence!
First and foremost, let your online audience know who you are. Depending on the social media outlet, tailor your brand message to best suit the site. LinkedIn and Facebook let you write as much about yourself as you would like, while Instagram and Twitter only allow 140 characters. Creativity is key. You will want your 140 character pitch, or your online “elevator pitch”, to have a few main points such as: who you are, your area of professional interest, if you are seeking employment opportunities, say so and make certain your contact information is visible on the page. As an example, make use of hashtags on Twitter so people are able to find your profile when searching for specific content. If you say you are a student at #UNM in your “about me” section, when people search for #UNM they will find your profile!
Your profile or your page, is your personal brand. You want the content posted to reflect your brand. What theme do you want to reflect to the world – potential connections and employers? Tweeting or posting things that are valuable to you or in which you have a professional interest is a great way to build your network and establish your credibility in the field. It goes without saying that you should always ensure the content you are publishing on the Internet is appropriate. My personal rule of thumb for postings, ‘Would my grandma be okay with the world seeing this about her granddaughter’? I like to keep all of my social media profiles fairly clean so that I never have to worry about negative images or status updates associated with my personal brand!
You need to be confident that your brand reflects the real you. If for instance my Facebook page says that I am professional underwater basket weaver but my LinkedIn profile says I am Lobo Lucy, my audience will be confused! Consistency counts. It is crucial to have one image, an unified identity, associated with my name so that I do not confuse potential contacts. Having one profile image makes it easier for people to follow you and connect with you on multiple social media platforms.
You have complete control over your personal online brand, message, and image on social media. Helpful social media sites for developing your online brand are: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Foursquare, Tumblr, and Vine! Follow me on Twitter & Instagram @SydneySivils or connect with me on Facebook or LinkedIn if you have any questions!
Sydney is a senior at the UNM Anderson School of Management and will be graduating in May 2014. She is concentrating in Marketing and Operations Management. She is president of two student organizations: UNM Collegiate DECA & Student United Way. She has completed internships with Los Alamos National Laboratory and Target Corporation. She loves post-it notes, to-do lists, and reading good books. You can usually find her at Starbucks in Zimmerman Library on a coffee run, buried in her iPhone tweeting up #ASMLove, or shopping at Target!