If you’re still only using social media to chat with your friends and family, then it won’t be landing you a job anytime soon. Companies across the world are creating social media strategies to promote themselves, showcase their brands, and reach new customers. But you don’t have to be a business to make a name for yourself online — a single person can do it too.
Creating a Multi-Platform Brand
The biggest mistake people make when starting their social media brand is using the social media accounts that they created when they were 13. Of course, when your teenage self put your username as @CuteChickxx, you weren’t thinking about personal branding. You wouldn’t contact an employer with an unprofessional email address, so don’t do it with your social media accounts either.
Set up social media accounts under the same username. This could simply be your name or a combination of your name and career field — for example, @JoeGreen or @RecruiterJoe. You can use the NameChk tool to check if your desired username is available across hundreds of social media platforms.
Once your accounts are set up, create a multi-platform brand by using the same profile image and color scheme across all of your social media platforms. This will result in a recognizable, professional-looking “brand” that will make a memorable impact on those who visit your social media pages.
The Importance of a Distinctive Brand
Easier said than done. Everyone wants to be distinctive and memorable, but distinguishing yourself from other careerists isn’t always that straightforward.
When you start building your personal brand on social media, it’s likely that you will begin by modeling your social media profiles on the ones of prominent people in your field. This is a good first step, but then you need to consider what makes you different. Maybe you have a special interest in your field, a skill that is in demand, or even a unique hobby. Incorporate this into your brand too.
A professional photo will also go a long way to making your brand distinctive. By using the same head shot across your social media accounts and on any websites you contribute to, your face will become recognizable to followers and readers. Investing in a photo shoot can be a wise decision, though if you have a good camera then using a plain-colored wall and getting the lighting right can work like a charm too.
Sharing Meaningful Content
The internet is full of cute cats and funny memes, but even if you love them, don’t share them on your social media pages. Be specific about what you share. You want the people who see your profiles to be able to build a professional but personal portrait of you. Share articles from authority sites in your field and participate in debates on newsworthy topics. Your aim should be to post and share content that is meaningful, opinions that are insightful and thoughts that are valuable.
Rule number two: post a variety of visual content. We are visual creatures, and therefore our brains are better able to process images, infographics and videos than blocks of text. In fact, content which is broken up with images gains 94% more total views on average than content without. Adding a photo URL to your tweet can boost retweets by 35%, while photos gain an 87% interaction rate from fans on Facebook, making them the most engaging type of content.
Engaging and Networking on Social Media
You’ve designed a seamless multi-platform social media brand to showcase the best of yourself and you’re sharing thoughtful, insightful content and opinions. But you’re not going to get anywhere with 0 followers and a couple of Facebook likes from your mom. Build yourself a network of social media contacts.
Follow, like, connect and engage with talented people in your field, from the authority sites down to the grassroots bloggers. Reply to their social media updates and start conversations. If they like your personal brand and the content you’re posting, then they will start to share and retweet you. This way you are able to reach a larger audience and gain more social media followers. It takes commitment, but it’s very possible for you to establish yourself as someone worth listening to in your chosen field.
Landing a Dream Job with Your Personal Brand
Social media is an excellent way to meet people in high places. Engaging on social media has begun the process of strengthening your personal brand and networking has made you some valuable contacts. But how can you use that to land your dream job?
There are two things you need to do now. Firstly, engage with the companies that you are interested in across all social media platforms. This is exactly the same process as networking with individuals. Leave interesting and valuable comments in reply to updates posted by the organizations you are interested in working for. Start creating a list of employees who work there and engage with them too. If your personal brand is good, you will soon start to be recognized. This will give you a massive advantage when inquiring about and applying for jobs there.
Secondly, focus your time on growing your LinkedIn network. 78% of recruiters have hired through a social network, and the clear leader of the pack is LinkedIn, which is used by 92% of those recruiters. Add all of the contacts you’ve made on Facebook, Twitter and your other social media platforms on LinkedIn, and begin connecting with their connections too. The next step is to join groups — or even better start a group — relevant to the career path you’re following. Joining in with discussions is a surefire way to get you noticed by recruiters, headhunters and experts in your field.
Success with Your Personal Brand
Building a personal brand on social media doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long-term commitment. To ensure success with your personal brand on social media, it is essential to have a good design, create and share valuable content, and build good relationships with other social media users. Persevere and you will find success.
About the Author: Ron Stewart has worked in the recruitment industry for 30 years, having owned companies in the IT, Construction and Medical sectors. He is currently running the Jobs4Group, and is CEO of Jobs4Medical. Ron is a regular contributor to TalentCulture, the Brazen Careerist and Jobs and Careers Magazine.