It seems a given that everyone is on social media these days. We know that Millennials, Gen Xers and the up and coming Gen Z “live” on social media through their phones and mobile devices. But a recent comment about setting up a LinkedIn profile from a friend looking for a job change, reminded me not everyone 50 plus has established an online presence. While resumes and cover letters are still essential in your job search, Google is going to tell prospective employers more about you than any resume can. Now is the time to enhance your personal branding on social media.
We all know the old saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” Those words still ring true today as an estimated 80 percent of jobs are found through informal channels as a result of networking and personal connections. Developing your personal branding through social media enables you to connect with people in new and exciting ways simply by being you: sharing your expertise, experience, ideas and opinions. The key is to contribute to the conversation by commenting, creating and curating content that speaks to your passion, vision and values.
Before you can establish your online personal branding, you have to know who you are. What are you passionate about? What are your areas of interest and expertise? What drives you? What are your skills and experience? Answering these questions will help you establish your core message and craft the profile you want to project. Most important, however, is to be your true, authentic self. As Neil Patel and Aaron Agius state in their Complete Guide to Building Your Personal Brand on QuickSprout, “Be yourself because everyone else is taken.”
Once you’ve determined who you are and the image you want to project, establish your domain name and create your own branded website and/or blog. WordPress is one of the easiest ways to do this. Once you’ve set up your site, this will be your home base. Everything you do should point back to your website/blog. This is where people you want to connect with, or want to connect with you, can get to know you better. But, and stealing a line from Field of Dreams, it isn’t simply “build it and they will come.” You have to engage.
If you are not already on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, now is the time to sign up. While there are many other social networks to choose from, you don’t have to be everywhere, and should focus on those networks you can effectively manage. LinkedIn and Twitter are the obvious choices from a professional and business networking standpoint, but “everybody” is on Facebook. The key is to determine a schedule for posting/commenting/sharing and stick with it so that you have a consistent social presence. As Porter Gale, a start-up advisor, public speaker and author of Your Network Is Your Net Worth, stated in a Forbes article, “you should focus, partner, repurpose and headline.”
The key to building your personal branding on social media is to remember it is a two-way conversation. Respond to comments and questions. Share and like other people’s content. Join groups relevant to the businesses and industry that interest you. Doing so also helps you to monitor your own brand and understand how people are relating and reacting to your content. You should also Google yourself to see what about you rises to the top and where.
Now you are ready to promote your personal brand through social media and build your network. Who will you connect with?