So I’ve finally recorded my first podcast! Wooohoo! A podcast, by the way, is an online audio file that you can download onto a computer or portable device and listen to at a time that suits you. Lis from Giraffe CVs asked to interview me about how to use social media to personally brand yourself. The relevance to you? Well, if you are an award winning cheese maker, or ice cream maker or snail breeder and want to be recognised in your industry for you, not just your brand, personal branding is relevant. Also, some of you who have children about to embark on their first job or second job may find this useful.
You can listen to my podcast interview here http://traffic.libsyn.com/thecvconfidencecoach/Podcast_054_Personal_Branding_with_Lisa_Whalley-Smith.mp3 (It's about 30 minutes long.)
What we chatted about......
So, personal branding - what is that? To make it easier, think of yourself as a product – you need people to know you exist so you need to be stocked (visible) somewhere, you need to demonstrate you are worth purchasing (hiring/interviewing/speaking to), you need to look good on the shelf (profile photo, profile blurb, website, social media channels) and you need to stand out by being different, of higher quality, by standing for something (your values and key skills, your expert or award winning status) and you need to be seen as a leader or influencer in your field.
So why is it so important to build your personal brand?
- It makes you stand out from the crowd - appear head and shoulders above others
- Can help you get a better job /get more clients/be invited to more speaker events
- Makes you respected within your industry/seen as the industry expert
- Gives you greater credibility
- It makes you more recognisable and memorable
- Gives you a higher perceived value
So, in the case of applying for a job, you haven’t walked through that interview door yet so how can you create an impression before even meeting someone?
Well first of all, and most obviously it is by having a great CV. A great CV captures all your best achievements, experience and skills and lays them out in a format that is easy to digest and highlights the most relevant information to a potential employer.
However, it should stop there. 91% of recruiters claim they use social media to help screen potential employees. That’s huge! Almost half of recruiters who use social media to help screen people look at your pages as soon as they have received your application and CV! The platforms they are most viewing are, in order, your Facebook page, your Twitter page and your LinkedIn profile and a staggering 69% have rejected an applicant based on what they have seen on social media! But wait! It’s not all bad news! 68% have hired based on what they see on social media so, the question is, how can you influence recruiters through your social media channels and really shine online? (Data source: reppler.com)
Try googling your name - have a look at which sites come up first – they are your social media pages – your LinkedIn profile, your Facebook page, your Twitter page. Do they all help build your personal brand?
So how can you make the most of social media platforms to build your personal brand
- Use your real name and reserve your name across all channels. Choose an appropriate profile photo for your social media channels – make sure it’s of you, not with mates or with your partner or with your children or pets, make sure it is in focus, simple and as uncluttered as possible. Have a professional photographer take it. And smile! Smiling makes you look friendly and approachable, a grumpy face makes a grumpy work colleague – not attractive. Make sure you use the same photo across all your social media platforms for ease of recognition and consistency.
- Use your header photo to reinforce something about you – make sure it is the right size for each platform and looks as good on mobile devices as it does via a desk or laptop.
- Fill in your bio section. Include key terms that will help people find you like industry specific keywords, your skills, your geographic location. If you’re linked to a professional organization of membership organization, mention it in your bio - four out of five recruiters liked to see memberships and affiliations with professional organisations on a candidate’s profile. Make sure you provide a relevant link to your blog, or website or linkedIn page in your bio.
- Make sure you are consistent across all your social media channels – in terms of look and feel - same name, profile picture, header and bio description.
- Think about colour. There is a lot of emotion linked to colour in relation to business. If you’re a very energetic , passionate and bold individual, choose red. Burgundy suggests sophistication, wealth and success. If you’re creative, purple is good. Yellows and oranges evoke feelings of friendliness and optimism, and green exudes growth, vitality and peace. Blue suggests you are trustworthy and dependable. Did you know that you can change your Twitter theme colour to your chosen colour? Well now you do.
- When posting on social media channels, know how to use your chosen platforms, know each platforms quirks and limitations, watch your grammar, watch your spelling, watch for typos and use punctuation correctly. In a survey released by Jobvite, 54% of recruiters had a negative reaction to grammatical and spelling mistakes.
- As well as liking or following the company you hope to work for across all channels, and engaging with their posts, follow accounts that inspire you, people you admire, industry leaders, those who have similar passions to you, those you would like to influence or engage with. Who you follow reflects on you. (Don’t just follow good looking celebrities)
- Decide what you want to be known for and post inspiring, interesting relevant content – mix it up with industry articles, visuals, link and videos that are all relevant to your chosen niche. Use apps and online sites to help create your own personally branded visuals (show’s you’re creative!). Search using hashtags, search bars and set up Google alerts so that you find recent and relevant articles - give your views on these industry relevant articles and engage with key influencers in your field.
- Participate in online groups discussions, LinkedIn groups, Google+ communities, industry relevant twitterchats, relevant forums. All of these will help to raise your profile.
- Write a blog - "For those who can dedicate the time to write consistently, it's a great way to demonstrate knowledge and show that you're engaged in the community, and/or an expert in your respective field." Says personal branding expert Dan Schwabel . If you write a blog, direct followers to your blog posts from each media platform. Writing with authority on a subject relevant to your industry, boosts your credibility. Offer to guest blog on popular industry relevant blog sites to earn further credibility through association.
- Social media is about being social so engage don’t just broadcast . Interact with other accounts – like and share their posts, comment on their posts, ask them questions, give them feedback. It shows you have communication skills and are supportive. Don’t however react to any negative posts – keep your emotions at bay and think about everything twice before you post.
- Show the real you. Don’t create an online personal that doesn’t accurately portray who you really are. Be honest. Post a few photos of your family, your pets, what you do outside of work – it shows that you have a life outside of work and respect and enjoy family time, hobbies, entertainment and socializing. If you have an unusual hobby, this can set you apart from others and make you more memorable so mention it! Also talk about your passions – maybe your passion is technology or social media or travel or fine dining? If it’s relevant to that next job, talk about it!
- You could have a personal website using the .me domain that showcases your experience, has a bio section, a section for education, samples of work or case studies, skills, testimonials and a blog.
- Use video. Visual media, both image and video are driving social media success. Record a video that introduces who you are , your experience, your skills, your projects and your passions and interests. Then use your social media channels to promote your video to industry influencers.
- If you blog write, then you can podcast! In today’s busy world, podcasting allows multi-tasking – people can plug in earphones and listen to motivating business podcasts while travelling to work, while cooking, while ironing etc.
- Track you mentions – always reply within 24 hours. Set up alerts from each platform so you don’t miss anything.
- Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and accurately reflects your CV and other personal promotion channels and make sure you post regularly on all your social channels to show you are active and engaging. Post at least every day. Every post you write is creating someone’s perception of who you are.
So I hope this has spurred you to think about your online personal branding and given you some tips about how to really shine online. I also hope that you can see the value of podcasts. They allow you to multi-task – be cooking/making or baking while listening to useful information, be driving while listening, be doing the washing up while listening!
Look out for more podcasts from me (once I’ve learnt how to set them up, host them and have generated lots of relevant content!)
Lisa from Klarity x