You might be looking at this thinking, “Duh!” If you are, you should still keep reading. If you’re not, yes, you keep reading too. When a company wants to advertise itself, it will traditionally begin to perform various marketing activities. You’ll begin to see their logos on ads on various websites and in newspapers or magazines. You’ll see them on billboards, bus benches, and conference swag. Their brand may be plastered on TV in commercials, or as sponsors of a show or event. Their postcards might come to your mailbox at home. They might get cross-promoted through other promotions by other companies. This is just the tip of the ice berg. The bottom line is this, they get their brand in front of you one way or another. They know someone will be looking, watching, deciding.
I’m going to answer the fundamental questions about the importance of maintaining your personal brand across the various social media channels available to you. Each has it’s unique purposes, best practices, audiences, and more. So we’ll cover each individually in later articles. The end goal you have here is to effectively stand out amongst the sea of other peers that might be just as good as you – or they already are maintaining their personal brand.
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
- Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States
When you are considering what your future may hold for you, one thing is certain, if you’re waiting until you’re ready for the next job, you are already too late. You need to begin marketing yourself yesterday – or better yet, last year. Social media is the perfect way to do it. It’s cheap, easy, takes very little time, and it can reach thousands of people. Most importantly, the various social media channels available will act as your road-side billboards 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The value you can get out of social media far outweighs the risk of not doing it at all.
If you’re curious as to which social media channels to use, don’t make the mistake of leaving any out. If you have a profile on any popular social network, use it. In general, I’d strongly suggest LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook at the minimum. Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, and Flickr are all good to consider too. Which ones you choose depends on the content you’re generating, and the audience you’re trying to reach.
A year from you you will wish you had started today.
- Karen Lamb, Author
I Don’t Have Time!
The single-most biggest excuse I ever hear when speaking to people about how they market themselves is, “I don’t have time.” This is also the biggest lie. It literally takes minutes in a day to keep your social media presence current. Minutes! With companies like HootSuite offering free plans, you literally have no excuse. You can automate your social media presence. Spend 20 minutes 1-2 days a week scheduling out some meaningful content on the various social media channels. It’s time well spent towards investing in your future.
With social media being your billboard, it will come up whether you want it to or not when a prospective employer looks you up. Don’t underestimate this. People will search for you on their favorite search engine before they ever consider contacting you in any way. The last thing you need is for your presence to be “blank” or full of cat videos.
You will be judged and tried and rarely ever know it. Depending on your industry, having no social media presence can be just as damaging as having one that’s off context from your career.
The content you publish doesn’t necessarily need to be your own. It can be other content that you find valuable to your brand and the target position you want today and in the future. Feel free to share interesting blogs, articles, news, slide decks, infographics and more.
At the end of the day, what truly matters is the value of the content you’re publishing, and how it helps people perceive the value that you might bring to them. If you’re seeking an executive position, you probably should be generating leadership and business growth content. If you’re looking to be a chef, then recipes and pictures of food would be great. However, in both cases, it won’t help your brand to post political news or sports.
First, you need to determine which social media channels that you want to publish your brand-related content on (see above). With each, you’ll not only decide if you want to publish there, but also whether or not you want to customize the messaging on each. It’s a good idea to begin with speaking consistently across each, and customize later if you feel you need to.
You can of course manually contribute your content to each social media channel individually, but there are too many free tools out there that allow you to schedule your content. In fact, they’ll help you track your content and help you determine what best performs where. Hootsuite, Buffer, and SocioBoard all have free plans that work great for personal branding purposes. The other thing these tools do well is allow you to customize how your content appears on each social channel. For example, tweets on Twitter perform much better when you include an image.
Oh, and if someone shares, likes, favorites, or comments on your content – thank them immediately, without exception.
Now… What are you waiting for? Get started today. Use one of these tools to schedule your next posts for 2-3 days next week.
This article is cross-posted from my personal blog.