One of the recent trends in career development has been to build your “personal brand” – those unique traits and talents that make you an attractive candidate for a position. While the idea of personal branding has been around for longer than the internet and social media, both of these forms of electronic communication have only served to intensify it. If you like the idea of using social media for personal branding purposes, the following tips will ensure that you're able to make the most of the time you spend on this activity:
Know Your Brand
Although this may sound obvious, it's something that countless social media users overlook. While not every person on the planet needs a personal brand, if building one is your primary social media goal, you need to understand what you're actually trying to build. The best way to clearly identify your brand is to drill down and specialize.
For example, you've probably seen countless people who call themselves a "social media expert." The problem with that title and associated brand is it doesn't really mean anything. Let's say you work for a litigation law firm and have successfully used social media to bring in new clients for your firm. As a result of this experience, you want to use the knowledge you've acquired to consult with other firms and help them do the same.
Instead of giving yourself a generic title, you'll get a lot more mileage out of being specific and going with something along the lines of "social media consultant for law practices." By taking the time to come up with an accurate and specific title, you'll kick off the brand building process.
By the way, this doesn’t have to be as limiting as it sounds – feel free to build out two or three brands if you’re applying to a variety of positions.
One of the biggest personal branding mistakes people make is spending all of their time telling instead of showing. If you want anyone who engages with you via social media to truly view you as an expert, you need to contribute in ways that demonstrate your knowledge and experience.
A simple way to find opportunities to demonstrate your expertise by helping others is by using a tool like Hootsuite or Tweet Deck to monitor for updates and posts that contain keywords related to your areas of expertise. Since these tools provide real-time notifications, you'll be able to provide a prompt answer that helps someone out.
Remember to Network
One of the great things about building a brand through social media is it gives you an opportunity to directly interact with potential clients. However, that doesn't mean you should ignore opportunities to interact with other professionals in your industry.
While you may have some direct competitors within your industry, more often than not, building professional relationships within your field will be mutually beneficial.
Don't Limit Yourself
Just because you want to focus on social media doesn't mean you should ignore other opportunities. By taking advantage of other channels like blogging, you'll find that you're actually able to get even more out of the time you spend promoting your brand through Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites.