How to Build Your Personal Brand Online

You know that building a comprehensive web presence is important for businesses. But what about for you personally? Social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are all great places to build a personal brand no matter what industry you work in, and it’s important to take inventory of what your personal social sites look like since they can easily show in search engine results pages when someone searches for your name. Be sure you stand out in all the right ways by creating an online presence that reflects your creativity and professionalism.

Check out these guidelines for creating a professional and personal brand online.

Which Social Media Sites Are Important for Building Your Personal Brand?

Not all social media platforms are the same, and people perceive these sites differently. What you post on Twitter may not be applicable to something like LinkedIn which is mainly used for job searches, highlighting accomplishments, or updating professionals in your field. Here are a few examples of how you could utilize different features on various social media sites to further develop your personal brand.

1. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an important professional branding tool because it’s all about your work experience. With the recommendations feature, you can ask past employers for personal testimonials that are publicly posted on your profile, or write one for another person. It’s a good idea to ask people that you trust such as colleagues and mentors.

LinkedIn also has a great feature for displaying all that you have accomplished in your professional career. After you create a small list of skills, other people can promote your specific characteristics that they know you provide by adding their name next to that skill. Continually update any achievements you have made in your career or organization and share it with your connections.

It is smart to network and add any past or current professionals that you have met in meetings, networking events, internships, or jobs. Connect right away because the longer you wait, the less people are likely to remember you. There’s also the option to follow people who inspire you or share interesting content that you may not know enough to create an online connection.

2. Twitter

Twitter is the best way to quickly share online material. Many people use Twitter for personal use, but if you’re looking to establish a professional presence there, you can search for commonly used phrases and keywords related to your industry. Users add hashtags to their thoughts to connect their content to others’ posts in order to create conversations and follow trends that are happening at that moment. TweetChats, timed event questionnaires that utilize hashtags, are a fun and interactive way to bring professionals together through a certain interest. Twitter is a great place to share content you’ve created, like a blog post, or share industry-related content from online leaders to show that you’re up to date on the latest trends.

Twitter is a great place to keep up with your industry, so make sure you follow relevant accounts that are sharing content that interests you. Retweeting posts from relevant accounts is also a great way to engage, share interesting content, and relate to your followers.

3. Facebook

People use Facebook to stay up to date with friends, family, and coworkers while also posting and sharing content that relates to people in their field. Share your achievements and keep others updated. As you link with people over time, Facebook builds a network of connections that can help you in the future. Someone you may have become friends with at your last job may assist you in your pursuit for a new career.

Are you in an organization? Does your graduating class have a group page? Stay connected with alumni groups and network organizations.

Setting Up (or Cleaning Up) Your Profile

Now that you have an overview of the top three social media sites to build your personal and professional brand, you’ll want to make sure your pages are set up correctly. Building your profiles on social media sites and determining how you want it to look can be difficult if you don’t understand who is looking at your page. It is safe to assume that if you have a public social media page that anyone can see it, which includes potential employers and connections. In fact, according to a CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring.

Here are a few tips for setting up or cleaning up your social media pages:

  • Photo: Choose an appropriate, high-quality photo. This is the first thing users will see when they view your profile. Dress in professional attire and make sure the background doesn’t distract from the main focus: you.
  • About Section: This section describes not only your interests, but also your goals, ambitions, and where you see yourself in the future. Make it memorable and creative. Consider your company’s social media policy. It may be best to add “Views are my own” to ensure you are protecting both yourself and the company you are working for.
  • Name: Be consistent. Your name is your brand. If you shorten your name or use a nickname, be sure to use the same one across all platforms. You want to be identifiable and make it easy for potential employers and connections to be able to find you amidst other people who may share the same name as you.

Extra Tips for Using Social Media to Build Your Professional & Personal Brand

  • Google yourself and see what comes up. Be sure what shows up in the search results is something you feel comfortable with potential employers or connections seeing.
  • Add a link to your LinkedIn profile onto your resume.
  • Follow your company’s social media policy. Most businesses have a social media policy to ensure that their employees are positively portraying their brand.
  • Create a blog (if it fits with your personal brand and industry). A great way to create original, consistent content is by creating a blog. Tell the public about what types of projects you are working on and how you are reaching your goals.

There are many social media platforms that you can use that even go past what I mentioned in this post. However, it is important to be sure to create a professional, consistent online presence no matter which you use. By posting engaging content, connecting with other users, and highlighting your skills, you just might stumble upon a professional relationship that will help you in your career.

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Josh Wilbanks

Josh is continuing his junior year at the University of North Texas and is pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in journalism with a concentration in public relations. While at UNT, Josh works as a Social Media Strategist for the Housing department and is a student representative for the Mayborn School of Journalism. He started as a Marketing Communications Intern at ReachLocal this January and is very excited to learn and grow while meeting new people in the industry.

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